While the US generally stands firmly behind Israel, some hairline cracks are now appearing in that close relationship. Not only has US President Joe Biden called Israel to order, but US National Security Council Chairman John Kirby has also repeatedly called for humanitarian pauses in the delivery of relief supplies.
Even as the US criticizes the Israeli ground offensive in Gaza, which has just begun, BNR’s foreign commentator Bernard Hummelberg doesn’t want to hear about cracks in the relationship. On the contrary. “It seems to usually go with these kinds of problems,” he says. ‘There have been three wars before. Americans support the Israelis for many reasons, but primarily because there is a special security agreement between the United States and Israel.
That agreement means the US fully supports Israel’s efforts to eliminate Hamas, although according to Hummelburg there will come a time when the US will say: “Now it’s over.” “And then you see it actually happen,” says Hummelberg. Then Biden calls President Al-Sisi of Egypt, and then Al-Sisi can broker a ceasefire. He’s brilliant at it, as he’s proven many times before.’
Love has grown cold
However, American correspondent John Postma enjoys less unconditional support for Israel than America’s political heartland. He says there is a shift among some Americans. “Here in Washington DC there are protests every week, and now they’re all focused on the conflict in Israel,” Postma says. ‘I noticed that there were many differences within the Jewish-American community. (…). For example, there is a right-wing, pro-Netanyahu group, but there is also a Jewish youth organization that is very left-wing and wants to end the genocide in Gaza. They are against Netanyahu and his current policies.
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Postma thought the demonstration had many similarities with Palestinian demonstrations where the same signs were used. ‘When I spoke to a guy about it, he said: “Yeah, that’s right. Some things are true no matter who you are or where you come from.” It is clear that there are great differences within the Jewish-American community.’
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