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NRO Symposium: The U.S. and Israel

What to do?

Shoshana Bryen
SOURCENational Review Online

With Washington, D.C., talking Israeli politics, National Review Online asked experts: “Going into a presidential-election year, what’s a sane, responsible Israel policy?”

Shoshana Bryen: American policy toward Israel should be built on bilateral and regional understandings:

U.S. disagreement with Israel on specific issues is normal; trying to substitute American choices for policies of Israel’s democratically elected government — particularly on security — is disrespectful and counterproductive. Israel is our partner in addressing common threats, not an impediment to better relations with the Arabs.

There is a way to deal with undemocratic political philosophies: We recognized the U.S.S.R., negotiated and traded with it, and tried to avoid war with it. We also did our best to defend against it, restrict it, deny it victories, and keep faith with its people. The dissidents knew we were on their side. In that context, ignoring the Iranian opposition is wrong, as is the U.S. embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood and the pretense that its election was democratic.

Iran is the central front in the battle for the political future of the Middle East, Israel’s security, and America’s influence in the region. The mullahs have to go. Support for the opposition, politics, financial sanctions, and military action are all tools in the toolkit.

The U.S. and Israel are in the same boat; we need to be on the same page.