By Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the United States
Reviewed by Francis P. Sempa, Contributing Editor
Israeli's Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, spoke recently at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport Rhode Island, about the U.S.-Israeli alliance. He characterized Israeli as America's "ultimate ally" due to both shared values and strategic interests in an important geographic region of the world.
Oren recounted the history of the U.S.-Israeli relationship which predates the establishment of the state of Israel. He noted that President Woodrow Wilson toward the end of World War I sent U.S. navy ships to provide safe haven to important Zionist leaders, including David Ben Gurion.
Oren described the U.S.-Israeli alliance as initially one of shared values which was transformed into a strategic alliance after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Today, the U.S. and Israel cooperate extensively in counter-terrorism efforts, anti-ballistic missile technology, homeland security, cyber warfare, military equipment, and have strong economic relationships. Israel is the twelfth largest per capita export market for the U.S. Oren, quoting former U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig, called Israel the "largest American aircraft carrier in the world."
Throughout his speech, Oren referred to the U.S.-Israeli "friendship" a word that can be troubling to foreign policy realists. In international relations, as Lord Palmerston said, nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests. Most American and Israeli statesmen would probably agree.