Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Why is the security of Israel so important to the United States

  1. Jul 13, 2008 #1
    I know the conflicts between Israel and other Arab and middle eastern countries have been mentioned many times in PF. Rarely is it ever mentioned why we should continue supporting Israel . Since the 1970''s , the United states has given is a total estimate of 1.3 trillion dollars of taxpayers money to finance Israel military.

    Israel Is the largest recipient who receives a large sum of foreign policy money from the united states. CNS estimates that Israel's military has a very sophisticated weapons program(thanks to US taxdollars) with a nuclear arsenal composed of 100-200 nuclear weapons. Many experts believe that Israel nuclear weapons arsenal might even contained thermonuclear weapons. Israel is the size of my hometown and my hometown it's not very large. I am very confused when right wing political pundits say that Israel will be topple by Iran's military who we are not even sure are developing nuclear weapons and if they are they might only have one or two nuclear weapons. Iran will be stupid to attack the second largest military on the planet!

    I know Mccain and Obama both want to continue to support Israel, I just don't understand why.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Because it's the politically expedient thing to do. If a politician diss's Israel, he/she will not progress.

    Israel has a strong lobby in the US. There is both a financial and religious (Judeo-Christian) component, and there is no such strong link between Christianity and Islam, and in fact, there has a been an historical conflict going back to the Crusades, and who controls the 'Holy Land' which includes Palestine and Jerusalem. Israel's existence is probably owed to the guilt following WWII and the Holocaust.

    I think this topic has been addressed in other threads.
  4. Jul 13, 2008 #3
    I understand why Israel wants supports from the United states. I don't understand why are politicians act as yesmen when it comes to Israel's concerns. Don't US politicians realized they put the lives of US citizens at risk when the United states is so involve in another country's political affairs? Why do we need to continue to financial back Israel if Israel has one of the most powerful Military on the planet? Why is it a concern of the United states to be involved in the historical conflict between Palestine and Israel as to which country gets first dibs on the Holy Land? I know you might say that the reason the united states might partake in this external conflict might be because if they continue to fight, it might be harder for US business men to drain oil from the united states because of the conflict over the Holy Land? However that still doesn't explain why the United states supports Israel more than any other country in the Middle East instead of playing the role of the mediator?

    What is your take on the relationship between the United states and Israel? You think the US should still be supporting ISrael?
  5. Jul 13, 2008 #4
    Basically it doesn't actually matter what is best (or worst) for the US interests, it matter what will get the politicians elected.
  6. Jul 13, 2008 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    We do have a history of supporting our buddies (Kuwait, South Korea, Viet-Nâm, WWII, WWI)....
  7. Jul 13, 2008 #6
    yes, but Israeli received the most financial support from the United States over any other country.
  8. Jul 13, 2008 #7


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I've never heard anyone say that - do you have any actual references?
    Yes. So it's working.
    Perhaps in direct money aid, but how much do the 40,000 soldiers we have in South Korea cost to keep there?

    One thing not often mentioned is that the money also gives us leverage. Leverage to keep Israel out of conflicts such as the first Gulf war. It enhances the region's stability via deterrence to have Israel strong and it enhances the region's stability to have us maintaining a little control over what Israel does with that money.
  9. Jul 13, 2008 #8
    I don't have any written references. But if you listen to the radio talk show host, the Savage nation, whenever the topic of Iran comes up, Michael savage is always says Iran can be a threat to Israel security's and the world security and I find that absurd since Israel and the rest of the so called world leading nations has an arsenal of nuclear weapons exceeding the number of nuclear weapons Iran might have in its Arsenal.

    There are a fair number of articles written by political pundits who see Iran as a threat to Israel and world peace of www.capmag.org[/URL] . Just do a search of 'Iran' on that site and you will quite a few articles of the " Iranian threat".
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  10. Jul 13, 2008 #9
  11. Jul 13, 2008 #10
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  12. Jul 13, 2008 #11


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Before WWII, there was not really a Jewish state but an enclave under the British Mandate (1920–1948). Before that it was a territory under rule of Ottomans, Egyptians or other Arabic group. Immigration of Jews (in large numbers) from Europe would have been virtually impossible prior to WWII given the politics of the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Certainly Israel is a strategic partner in the area. If Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt or any other predominantly Muslim state closed its borders to the US military - there would still be Israel.
  13. Jul 13, 2008 #12
    What reasons would those middle eastern countries have for closing its borders to the US military? Do those countries even have the military capabilities run US soldiers out of their countries?
  14. Jul 13, 2008 #13

    Michael Savage is a Weiner.
  15. Jul 13, 2008 #14
    You are right. It was a mistake for me to call the Jewish enclave a state when it was not a state.

    It was virtually impossible, and yet it occurred. Here are some figures of the number of Jews in Palestine in given years.

    * 1922: 83,790
    * 1931: 174,606
    * 1932: 192,137
    * 1933: 234,967
    * 1934: 282,975
    * 1935: 355,157
    * 1936: 384,078
    * 1937: 395,836
    * 1938: 411,222
    * 1939: 445,457
    * 1940: 463,535
    * 1941: 474,102
    * 1942: 484,408

    Arab Palestine before 1948

    But my remarks were aimed at the idea that Israel exists as a result of feelings of guilt. In spite of any such possible feelings, the British did all that they were capable of doing to prevent Jewish immigration. The book Exodus, by Leon Uris gives an example of this effort.
  16. Jul 14, 2008 #15
    "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none."
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Israel = entangling alliance. Sorry we let you down Thomas and the rest of the founding fathers...
  17. Jul 14, 2008 #16
    How many countries are there with which we do not have entangling alliances?
  18. Jul 14, 2008 #17
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  19. Jul 14, 2008 #18
    There's an excellent article examining the history and present of US support for Israel (and Zionism more generally prior to 1948) in the current issue of Foreign Affairs:

    http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20080701faessay87402/walter-russell-mead/the-new-israel-and-the-old.html [Broken]

    In particular, the authors take issue with the common misconception that support of Israel represents the triumph of a small lobby or foreign policy elite over mass preferences. In fact, they argue, exactly the opposite is true: support for Israel is wide and deep in the US, and has been for a long, long time.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  20. Jul 14, 2008 #19
    Isn't this a case of putting the chicken before the egg? Iran doesn't have the means to effectively attack Israel. However, Israel continues to openly threaten to bomb Iran for it's uranium enrichment program, even in spite of the lack of any evidence of any nuclear weapons program. Where is any stability gained in backing Israel here?

    Beyond that, Iran's opposition to Israel is grounded in Israel's ongoing colonization of the West Bank, which is actively denying the Palestinian people their right to a sovereign nation in what little they have left of their homeland. If our goal was stability here, then why would we not be working with Iran to create a balance of power in the region which would necessitate securing permanent boarders to end this conflict, rather than supporting Israel's dominance as they continue their unilateral expansion throughout the West Bank?

    Best I can tell, the article is based on a false premise. Who denies that popular support for Israel is anything but wide and deep in the US? I don't recall ever seeing anyone do that, let alone enough to claim there is a common misconception on the matter.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  21. Jul 14, 2008 #20
    Best I can tell, you haven't read the article. Feel free to try again after doing so, should you come up with anything valuable to contribute.
  22. Jul 14, 2008 #21
    I did read first five and a half pages of the article before posted. I have now finished the rest based on your implication that I missed the justification for its premise precariously stashed in the conclusion, only to find nothing of the sort. If I did somehow overlook the article citing anyone denying the girth and depth of popular support in the US for Israel, would you please quote it here?
  23. Jul 14, 2008 #22
    I'm glad that you read the article, but the idea that it is premised on popular attribution of policy to the "Jewish Lobby" is absurd. It is simply an examination of the history and present of US support for Israel. Full stop. This does not require any preexisting views on the Jewish Lobby, or whatever else, in order to be valuable and relevant. The value in the article is not in what views it refutes, but in the view it presents, and supports. That the authors reference widespread belief in the import of the Jewish Lobby has no bearing on the content of their ideas.

    Anyway, I'm not going to bother trying to prove to you that people believe in the power of the Jewish Lobby. It is manifest that this is the case (see the second post in this thread), as it is manifest that you are being argumentative here. After all, why create specious disputes to tar an article whose main points you agree with in the first place? This makes me suspect that you are motivated by some animus towards me. Which I suppose is always a risk one takes when Israel comes up in online discussions...
  24. Jul 14, 2008 #23
    Towards the end of the article, it is written that most liberals have much more sympathy towards the palestinians more so than support for Israel because they 've feel that the Paslestines are now the underdogs going up against the regional superpower that the United states have helped established is Israel ; many conservatives(probably former democrats who invaded the Republican Party) support maintaining the state of Israel; So I say its split; 50 % support Israel, 50 % do not support Israel

    I think it is absurd to say that the Israeli Lobby in the US has no power over the decisions about Israeli affairs. And Israeli Lobby is mainly composed of Jews, so one might infer that decisions are being made to favored jewish interests rather than to served reasons to promote peace between Israel and other Arab nations. Just because a large sum of the American population might agree that the United States should continue to support Israel doesn't mean the Americans might approve of how the United states Governments might go about supporting Israel. Polls show that most Americans disapprove of foreign aid to other countries, so I doubt many Americans , both conservatives, liberals, independents or whatever, would favor to continue to finance Israel military if they knew how much money it cost Americans to finance Israel's military.
  25. Jul 14, 2008 #24
    I wasn't offering any support for the US policy on Isreal but only pointing out that the possiblity of war in the region that could destroy Isreal (maybe or eventually) does exist. It's not just a matter of Iran destroying Isreal but an all out war in the region between multiple states which would percipitate involvement from bigger world powers.
    As for the logic (or illogic) in the US supporting Isreal Russ points out that our support and their desire for our continued support gives the US some control over the situation. Ditching support of Isreal for support of Palestine or Iran is not going to keep Isreal from visiting its wrath upon its enemies (perceived or otherwise).
  26. Jul 14, 2008 #25
    I don't understand how Israel will be destroyed easily if war broke out since Israel has one of the most powerful on the face of the planet?!?! I agree that support for Palestine or/and Iran is equally dubious. However, I can't picture a nation with one of the most powerful Army on Earth being vunerable to the "wrath" of Iran and Palestine.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook