Americas Relationship with Israel…is Complicated
May 18, 2021
In this upcoming September, I am celebrating 10 years of marriage. In the course of the decade of marriage and over 13 years of being together, I have come to realize a few things. One of them being that the lack of authentic transparency in a relationship can cause distrust and resentment. The realest part of a relationship is honesty with one another, and not allowing the comfortability of the relationship, to deter us from having the uncomfortable, albeit honest conversation surrounding not only the dynamics, but also the actions of each partner.
Now I know you didn’t come here for my (unsolicited) relationship advice, so what is with all this “Kevin Samuel” type relationship talk?! 😂👀
Well…. America’s relationship with Israel needs to be seriously evaluated, because at this point, it’s not doing any of the parties any good when it comes to creditability and authenticity. However, taking off my naivete rose colored sunglasses, maybe both parties understand EXACTLY who they are, and are entirely comfortable with their current representation.
But if that is the case, just because the US Government is okay with how Israel has acted towards Palestinian citizens, does not mean I or any person who is observing these acts are okay with Israel’s human rights violations. But the problem has never been just the understanding of the role that America plays in the war crimes of their greatest Middle East ally. The problem is that any form of criticism against the state of Israel automatically gets shouted down as being deemed ‘anti-sematic’.
First and foremost, having grown up in a household that practiced in a religion closely aligned with the Hebrew faith (My parents got married in a Jewish Synagogue). I am extremely sensitive to anybody who attacks the religion and people of Israel. I abhor any form of racism and bigotry towards those of ANY faith, including the practice of Judaism. I have a great personal reverence towards the faith.
It is for this reverence that I find any form of inhumanity tied directly to this faith to be incredibly troublesome. I cannot claim to love displays of humanity, and watch someone in the same breath commit atrocities towards a group of people simply because they are different from them. How can we comment on something that is clearly horrible, and not be deemed bigot? Well….for one..we start by being honest with ourselves and this current relationship.
We have to admit the power inequitable power dynamic Israel shares over Palestine. We have to admit that US Middle East policy relies on having a strong ally in the Middle East.
We have to admit that because of that reliance, our country contributes, at least, 4 billion dollars annually, to that state’s defense fund.
We have to admit that for that contribution, we have authorized the unequal power dynamic.
We have to admit that with this in-equitability comes dominance.
We have to admit that with dominance, comes suffrage on the end.
We have to admit that the suffrage is one-sided and often misrepresented.
We have to admit that the misrepresentation is a result of owning and controlling the narrative.
We have to admit that narrative can only be controlled by those who have the power.
We have to admit that the misrepresentation is belied on the fact that the US Government, European partner countries and Israel itself will never paint itself as the ‘bad actor’.
We have to admit that to challenge these concepts means you are challenging the very nature of integrity of the thing you are being critical of.
We have to admit that once a challenge is offered, the response is usually one of aggression and defensiveness.
We have to admit that this defensiveness results in the attacking of the challengers, intentionality and often times character.
We have to admit that this character assassination is a hard thing to defeat if you do not in yourself possess any power.
We have to admit that most people feel powerless.
We have to admit it is in that powerlessness that we fail to speak up and respond.
We have to admit that this is how a State, A Nation, A country can continue to operate above reproach.
There is no denying that numbers of civilian deaths on one side far outweighs the other. In truth, a loss of a life is a tragedy in itself – no matter who is the person. But when that life is of civilians, whose only crime is that they existed. Then this should cause anyone to pause and reconsider their position.
Yes, I am sensitive to those who practice in the Jewish faith and offer no condemnation on the beauty of that religion and its people. But we have to be objective and say the State of Israel holds no bearing on the faith and principles of Judaism. The State operates like any other foreign power (good, bad, and indifferent). When we criticize the State of Israel, it is no different from when we criticize any other foreign nation, or even our own for that matter.
Yes, I understand, and I am sensitive to the fact that for many, their Jewish identity has been correlated into the ideology of the State of Israel. So, for them, an attack on Israel is an attack on the faith. But we must separate the ‘bad actions’ of that state from the religion of its people. We cannot do that without having an honest conversation surrounding the State of Israel.
The Catholic Church funded the African slave trade in its early inception. Providing ships and resources for exploration and capturing of cargo. Is it not reasonable to make that assessment of the church and its history, and not assail those who practice Catholicism? Of course, we can.
Just like me being critical of the Church, does not make me any less Christian, or diminish the integrity of my faith. I can be critical of bad actors in the Christian faith, and not be deemed “Anti-Christian”.
I can be critical of American governance, and that does not make me ‘anti-American’.
Therefore, I should be able to be critical of a foreign government’s actions, and not be deemed ‘Anti-Sematic’. At least one would hope so…
I started this discussion speaking about relationships, and that’s how I want to end it.
In my years of being in a committed relationship, I have come to understand (and appreciate) the word ‘complex’. You see marriage in itself is a simple concept. But maintaining that marriage is complex. But a healthy marriage addresses these ‘complexities’ early on. Avoiding them can only cause greater conflict down the road.
I have also learned that something can be both complex and wrong simultaneously. The complexity of a situation doesn’t negate the morality of that situation. When someone tells you otherwise, then they are manipulating your thought process on how to interpret said situation. Not challenging the complex, because the subject, and ultimately the answer, is not obvious and/or straightforward, lets the subject off the hook. With that being said, something being right or wrong doesn’t require extensive analysis. It’s plain to see. If you’re willing to open your eyes.
I mentioned earlier that America understands fully well what its relationship is to its biggest middle eastern partner. A partnership, after all, in its truest essence, relies mostly on trust in the other party, but not just trust in their actions, but also trust in how you perceive them. But the real test of partnership is when you can be honest and forthright with one another. If you continue to allow the other partner to operate above reproach, then you risk sacrificing the integrity of that relationship. Insufficiency of integrity will undoubtedly pull that relationship apart. However, it is not the relationship that the US has with Israel that will ultimately separate, if it’s not careful and doesn’t properly re-evaluate, the US relationship in risk of divorce is the one with its citizens, who no longer believe in the power dynamic that has been set for over the last 70 years. Somethings got to give, so either the relationship between Israel evolves or the citizens of this country will lose faith and walk away from this toxicity of the entire situation.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out the latest podcast where we talk about the Israel-Palestine issue, from the eyes of Palestinian advocate Ahmad Abuznaid.