Klieman, Aharon. “The United States and Israel: The Road Ahead.” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs (early view; online first).
When historians of relations between the United States and Israel come to write their chapter on Barack Obama’s White House years, surely one of the high-water marks will be his speech on March 21, 2013 before an enthusiastic audience of Israeli students in Jerusalem’s Convention Center. To thunderous applause, the forty-fourth president declares, “So long as there is a United States of America, Ah-tem lo leh-vahd. You are not alone.”
Today, several years further down the road, as the Obama presidency begins to wind down, those earlier words of comfort no longer sound quite so convincing, unequivocal, or altogether reassuring to Israeli ears. Rapturous references to relations between the two countries as “unbreakable” and “unshakable,” even if less frequently expressed, now tend to ring hollow. If anything, the mounting sense of an American-Israeli divide – over Iran and the peace process, but not only – is brought into sharp relief by the storm of public controversy surrounding the behind-the-scenes, firsthand account offered by Israel’s former ambassador Michael Oren of what he personally experienced, and often had to endure, in Obama’s Washington.