US and Israel: BFFs or Nah? | USDemocrazy

If there has been one constant in contemporary geopolitics, it's the partnership between the United States and Israel in promoting (arguably through some questionable means) stability in the Middle East.

For years the United States has provided billions in military aid to Israel, as well as political cover in the UN where the overwhelming majority of nations have sought to exert pressure on Israel to end its decades-long occupation of the West Bank.

But tensions between the two traditional allies have been on the rise, with the stalling of the peace process with the Palestinians and disagreement over how to stop a nuclear Iran to blame.

Those tensions came to a focal point in February when House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arranged behind the Obama administration's back for Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. The speech was seen by many as a breach of protocol for infringing on the president's right to conduct diplomacy.

Netanyahu advocated against ongoing multilateral negotiations with Iran (spearheaded by the Obama administration) that would lift international sanctions in exchange for delaying Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, arguing that the broad framework of the deal currently on the table would enable Iran to build a nuclear weapon far too quickly (although that might a foolish way to measure a good deal).

Bringing Iran to the table for nuclear talks has been one of President Obama's central foreign policy efforts since he came into office in 2009.

In addition, the March Israeli elections, where Netanyahu beat expectations to secure another term as prime minister, prompted two more flash points as Netanyahu appealed to his conservative base.

First, Netanyahu declared that a two-state solution  for peace between Israel and Palestine would not happen on his watch, a major rebuke of official US policy in the region.

Then, on Election Day, Netanyahu urged his supporters to get out to the polls to counter a supposed wave of Arab voters, a racially charged tactic which, just weeks after the 50th anniversary of the Selma voting rights demonstrations in the United States, struck a nerve with President Obama.

All this prompted unprecedented public criticism from the Obama administration, with the president himself claiming that he would be reexamining the relationship between the United States and Israel in response Netanyahu's stated rejection of the two-state solution.

It's unclear exactly what the administration wants from Netanyahu to ease tensions. Though a reconsideration of America's security relationship with Israel is unlikely, the administration could cease protecting Israel from hostile resolutions in the UN in a bid to pressure Netanyahu back to the negotiating table. But such a move could meet heavy resistance from some congressional Democrats.

Is the eternal friendship between the US and Israel in jeopardy? Will this spat last beyond Obama and Netanyahu? Let us know in the comments section below.