If Israel Attacks Iran: Threat to the Special Relationship

Can the U.S.-Israel relationship survive if Israel drags Washington into a war that's not in U.S. interests?

The result would be an entirely new political environment in America for the U.S.-Israeli relationship. When a Mearsheimer or a Friedman spoke up about the divergence of interests between the two countries, the Abramses and Rothmans and Tobins would not be responding with quite the same outrage and aggressiveness. Members of Congress would not be bestowing twenty-nine standing ovations upon Israeli leaders who had just insulted the American president; and, if they did, few indeed would buy the argument that those ovations reflected political sentiment across the country. For a majority of Americans, the idea of an ironclad convergence of national interests between Israel and the United States, in all times and all circumstances, would be seen as not only wrong but dangerously so.

Politics is driven by lesson-laden events. Mr. Netanyahu may want to ponder that reality as he decides whether to unleash such an event that could hit American interests—and the American consciousness—with a bitter force.

Robert W. Merry is editor of The National Interest and the author of books on American history and foreign policy.

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