Since before its establishment, Israel sought a positive relationship with the United States. As a small country, with a small population in relation to its much larger and hostile neighbors, Israel sought a powerful ally that could provide diplomatic, economic, and military support. During the Cold War, Israel became a close ally of the United States, and in 1983 that friendship evolved into a strategic relationship. With an unraveling of turmoil, the spread of nuclear weapons, advent of terrorism, and local insurgencies, Israel’s reliability as a friend is part of America’s strategic interest. While Washington and Jerusalem do not differ on the common democratic bonds that tie them closely, leaders in both countries have often differed on several issues. These have included Israel’s access to a nuclear weapon, the level and timing of force Israel uses to protect its citizenry, and disagreements about how Israel manages its relationships with its Arab neighbors, particularly the Palestinians. The American people have repeatedly endorsed strong support for Israel’s well-being, with a particularly large segment of Christian America supporting that view. Most American Jews and members of Congress have developed a particular closeness to Israel and its people. Vast amounts of scholarly, archival, and popular materials exist in describing the texture of the US bi-partisan relationship with Israel.

In understanding fully the complexity of the US-Israel relationship, we recommend reading the memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies of the political leaders on both side of the relationship. Those items are not included here. Some of the Israeli leaders are covered in our Israel Leadership theme.   Primary sources that could be consulted include US presidential libraries, the national archives of both countries, and the published Foreign Relations (FRUS) documents of the US and those on line or housed at the Israel ministry of Foreign Affairs.  There are literally hundreds of hearings of the US Senate and House of Representatives where the US-Israeli relationship or particular issues in the relationship were discussed.  By using those hearings and the written testimonies included in the official record, one will find invaluable analyses of the relationship.  By far the most prolific think thank of superbly published materials on the relationship are the items regularly published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/

The US-Israeli relationship is recollected by diplomats and civil servants who engaged in managing the relationship.  One of the most accessible sources of oral interviews is The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (US State Department).  See http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/diplomacy/

Finally, here on our US-Israeli Relationship theme, one can find key agreements signed by the United States and Israel that cover the post 1967 war period.

Ken Stein, January 2018

Books

Isaac Alteras. Eisenhower and Israel: U.S.-Israeli Relations, 1953-1960. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1993.

Moshe Arens. Broken Covenant: American Foreign Policy and the crisis between the US and Israel, Simon Schuster, 1995.

Warren Bass.  Support Any Friend: Kennedy’s Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Kylie Baxter and Shahram Akbarzadeh. US Foreign Policy in the Middle East: The Roots of Anti-Americanism. London: Routledge, 2008.

M. Benson.  Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel, Westport, CT, 1997.

Abraham Ben-Zvi. Decade of Transition: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and the Origins of the American-Israeli Alliance. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.

Abraham Ben-Zvi. Lyndon B. Johnson and the Politics of Arms Sales to Israel: In the Shadow of the Hawk. London: Frank Cass, 2004.

Abraham Ben-Zvi. The United States and Israel: The Limits of the Special Relationship. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

Robert D. Blackwill and Walter B. Slocombe. Israel: A Strategic Asset for the United States. Report, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2011.

Wolf Blitzer.  Between Washington and Jerusalem, A Reporter’s Notebook, Oxford, 1985.

H.W Brands. Into the Labyrinth: The United States and the Middle East, 1945-1993. New York: McGraw Hill, 1994.

Neil Caplan. Operation Alpha and the Failure of AngloAmerican Coercive Diplomacy in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1954-1956. Vol. 4. Futile Democracy. London: Frank Cass, 1997.

Congressional Research Service. U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel. Report. Washington, D.C.: CRS, 2008.

Herbert Druks. The Uncertain Friendship: The U.S. and Israel from Roosevelt to Kennedy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001.

Laura Zittrain Eisenberg and Neil Caplan. Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: Patterns, Problems, Possibilities. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

Shai Feldman. The Future of U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1996. https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Documents/pubs/FutureofUS-IsraelStrategicCooperation.pdf.pdf

Eytan Gilboa, American Public Opinion Toward Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1987)

Eytan Gilboa and Efraim Inbar (eds.). US-Israeli Relations in a New Era: Issues and Challenges after 9/11. Routledge, London, 2009.

Peter L. Hahn. Crisis and Crossfire: The United States and the Middle East since 1945. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2005.

Matin Indyk. Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009.

Robert David Johnson. Lyndon Johnson and Israel: The Secret Presidential Recordings. Research paper no. 3. The S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies, Tel Aviv University, 2008.

Noam Kochavi, Nixon and Israel: Forging a Conservative Partnership (Albany: SUNY Press, 2009).

David W. Lesch. The Middle East and the United States: A Historical and Political Reassessment. 4th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2007.

Haim Malka. Crossroads: The Future of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2011.

Kamil Manṣūr. Beyond Alliance: Israel in U.S. Foreign Policy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

Joel S. Migdal. Shifting Sands: The United States in the Middle East. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.

Aaron David Miller.  The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace. New York: Bantam Books, 2009.

Nimrod Novik. The United States and Israel Domestic Determinants of a Changing U.S. Commitment, Tel Aviv: Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies, 1985.

Kenneth Organski.  The $36 Billion Bargain: Strategy and Politics in U.S. Assistance to Israel. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

David Pollack. The Politics of Pressure American Arms and Israeli Policy Since the Six Day War,  Greenwood, 1982.

William B. Quandt. Camp David: Peacemaking and Politics. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1986.

William B. Quandt. Peace Process American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict Since 1967, 3rd ed. Washington, D.C., and Berkeley: Brookings Institution and University of California Press, 2005.

Allis Radosh, and Ronald Radosh. A Safe Haven Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel, Harper Collins, 2009.

Bernard Reich.  Securing the Covenant United States-Israel Relations After the Cold War, Westport: Praeger, 1995.

Bernard Reich. The US and Israel, Praeger, 1984.

Dennis Ross.  Doomed to Succeed The US-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2015.

Dennis Ross. The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004.

Jonathan Rynhold. The Arab-Israeli Conflict in American Political Culture (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Nadav Safran. Israel The Embattled Ally, Harvard University Press, 1981.

Theodore Sasson et al. Still Connected: American Jewish Attitudes about Israel, Brandeis University Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, 2010.

David Schoenbaum. The United States and the State of Israel, Oxford University Press, 1993.

Zaki Shalom. Israel’s Nuclear Option: Behind the Scenes Diplomacy between Dimona and Washington(Brighton and Portland: Sussex Academic Press, and Tel Aviv: Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies, 2005.

Gabriel Sheffer. (ed.). Dynamics of Dependence US-Israeli Relations, Jerusalem: Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations, 1987.

Gabriel Sheffer (ed.). US-Israeli Relations at the Crossroads, London, Cass, 1997.

Steven L. Spiegel. The Other Arab-Israeli Conflict: Making America’s Middle East Policy, from Truman to Reagan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

Kenneth W. Stein. Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, Routledge, 1999.

Elizabeth Stephens. US Policy Towards Israel: The Role of Political Culture In Defining the ‘Special Relationship,’ Portland: Sussex Academic Press, 2006.

Michael Thomas. American Policy toward Israel: The power and limits of beliefs (London and New York: Routledge, 2007

Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Enduring Partnership: Report of the Commission on US-Israeli Relations. 1993.

Jim Zanotti, Israel: Background and US Relations, Washington, DC, Congressional Research Service, February 27, 2015.

Jim Zanotti.  Israel: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC. December 22, 2017, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/R44245.pdf

 

Articles

Israel Affairs – Special Issue: U.S.-Israeli Relations at the Crossroads, Vol 2, Issues 3 and 4), 1996.

Geoffrey Aronson. “Hidden Agenda: US-Israeli Relations and the Nuclear Question,” Middle East Journal, 46 no.4) Autumn 1992:617-630

Yaacov Bar-Siman-Tov. “The United States and Israel since 1948: A “Special Relationship?” Diplomatic History 22, no. 2 (Spring 1998): 231-62.

Ari Barbalat. “A Friend Like This: Re-evaluating Bush and Israel,” Middle East Policy 15, no. 4 (Winter 2008): 91-111.

Steven Bayme. “American Jewry and the State of Israel: How Intense the Bonds of Peoplehood?” Jewish Political Studies Review, June 2008, Vol. 20, no. 12

Abraham Ben-Zvi. “Stumbling into an Alliance: John F. Kennedy and Israel,”  Israel Affairs 15 (3), 2009, pp. 224-245.

Clifford Clark and Richard Holbrooke, “President Truman’s Decision to Recognize Israel,” Jerusalem Viewpoints, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, May 1, 2008, http://jcpa.org/article/president-truman%E2%80%99s-decision-to-recognize-israel/

Dore Gold. “Understanding the U.S.-Israel Alliance: An Israeli Response to the Walt-Mearsheimer Claim,” Jerusalem Viewpoints 556, JCPA, 2007.

Aharon Klieman. “The United States and Israel: The Road Ahead,” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, 9:2 (2015): 163-177.

Rachel Bzostek and Samuel B. Robison. “U.S. Policy toward Israel, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia: An Integrated Analysis, 1981-2004,”  International Studies Perspectives 9 (4), 2008, pp. 359-376.

Iran Chernus. “Obama’s Israel-Palestine Gamble,” Foreign Policy in Focus, September 16, 2009.

Helena Cobban, Helena. “The US-Israeli Relationship in the Reagan Era,” Conflict Quarterly 9, no. 2 (Spring 1989): 5-32.

Dowty, Alan.  “Israeli Foreign Policy and the Jewish Question,” MERIA Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1 February 1999, http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/1999/issue1/jv3n1a1.html

Michael A Cohen and Mathew Duss. “Report: The United States and Israel at a Crossroads,” Foundation for Middle East Peace, February 2015.

Michael Eisenstat and David Pollock. “Asset Test: How the United States Benefits from its Alliance with Israel.” Strategic Report 7, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, September 2012. http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Documents/pubs/StrategicReport07.pdf

Shai Feldman. The Future of US-Israel Strategic Cooperation. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy Policy Watch 93. May 2, 1996.

Henry D. Fetter. “‘Showdown in the Oval Office,’ 12 May 1948 in History,” Israel Affairs 14 (3), 2008, pp. 499-518.

Henry D. Fetter. “‘Forthcoming Three Months Represent Best Remaining Opportunity for Accomplishment’: Israeli Diplomacy and the 1948 US Presidential Election (Part I)”. Israel Affairs 15 (3), 2009, pp. 246-260.

Henry D. Fetter. “‘Forthcoming Three Months Represent Best Remaining Opportunity for Accomplishment’: Israeli Diplomacy and the 1948 US Presidential Election (Part II)”. Israel Affairs 16 (2), 2010, pp. 201-218.

Henry D. Fetter. “‘Two & Three Air Raids Daily. What a Bother’: An American Diplomat in Israel during the War of Independence”. Israel Affairs 18 (4), 2012, pp. 546-562.

Ben Fishman. “The ‘Israel Lobby’: A Realistic Assessment,” Orbis 52 (1), 2008, pp. 159-180.

Freedman, Robert O. “U.S. Policy toward the Middle East in Clinton’s Second Term,” Middle East Review of International Affairs 3, no. 1 (March 1999): 55-79.

Adam Garfinkle, “U.S-Israeli relations after the Cold War,” Orbis, 40, no.2 (Autumn 1996):557-675.

Matteo Gerlini. “Waiting for Dimona: The United States and Israel’s Development of Nuclear Capability,” Cold War History 10 (2), 2010, pp. 143-161.

Eytan Gilboa. “Obama in Israel: Fixing American-Israeli Relations,” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs 7 (2), 2013, pp. 19-28.

Giora Goldberg. “Ben-Gurion and Jewish Foreign Policy,” Jewish Political Studies Review, Vol. 3:1-2, Spring 1991, pp, 91-101.

Jeffrey Goldberg, “The Crisis in US-Israel Relations is Officially Here,” The Atlantic, October 28, 2014.

Nahum Goldman. “Israel, the US, and American Jewry—A Complex Relationship,” New Outlook, (November/December 1979).

Yossi Goldstein. “France or the US? The Struggle to Change Israel’s Foreign Policy Orientation, 1956-64 (Part I),” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs 4 (2), 2010, pp. 99-113.

Avraham Greenbaum. “The US Airlift to Israel in 1973 and its Origins,” Israel Affairs 13 (1), 2007, pp. 131-140.

Peter Hahn.  “The View from Jerusalem; Revelations about U.S. Diplomacy from the Archives of Israel,” Diplomatic History 22, no. 4 (1998): 509-32.

Arthur Hertzberg. “Jewish Identification after the Six-Day War,” Jewish Social Studies 31, no. 3 (1969): 267-71.

Martin Indyk. “Reagan and the Middle East: Learning the Art of the Possible,” SAIS Review 7, no. 1, Johns Hopkins University (Winter-Spring 1987): 111-38.

Galen Jackson. “The Showdown That Wasn’t: U.S.-Israeli Relations and American Domestic Politics, 1973-75,” International Security 39 (4), 2015, pp. 130-169.

Scott B Lasensky.  “Friendly Restraint:US-Israel Relations During the Gulf Crisis of 1990-1991, Rubin Center, Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol 3, No. 2 (June 1999), pp. 24-35. http://www.rubincenter.org/meria/1999/06/lasensky.pdf

Edward N. Luttwak. “Strategic Aspects of U.S-Israeli Relations,” Israel Affairs, 2 (Issues 3-4), 1996:198-211

Kochavi, Noam. “Joining the Conservative Brotherhood: Israel, President Nixon, and the Political Consolidation of the ‘Special Relationship’, 1969-73.” Cold War History 8, no. 4 (November 2008): 449-80.

Michael J. Koplow. “Value Judgment: Why Do Americans Support Israel?” Security Studies 20 (2), 2011, pp. 266-302.

Matthias Kuntzel. “America’s Shifting ‘Red Lines’ on Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions: A Wedge Issue in US-Israel Relations,” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs 7 (1), 2013, pp. 37-44.

Scott Lasensky. “Underwriting Peace in the Middle East: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Limits of Economic Inducements,” Middle East Review of International Affairs 6, no. 1 (March 2002): 89-105.

Scott Lasensky. “Dollarizing Peace: Nixon, Kissinger and the Creation of the US-Israeli Alliance,” Israel Affairs 13 (1), 2007, pp. 164-186.

Zach Levey. “The United States’ Skyhawk Sale to Israel, 1966: Strategic Exigencies of an Arms Deal,” Diplomatic History 28 (2), 2004, pp. 255-276.

Samuel W. Lewis. “An American Perspective on Strategic Cooperation,” In Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Proceedings of Strategy and Defense in the Eastern Mediterranean: An American-Israeli Dialogue, Israel, Jerusalem. July 7-9, 1986.

Samuel W. Lewis. “The United States and Israel: Evolution of an Unwritten Alliance,” Middle East Journal 53, no. 3 (Summer 1999): 364-78.

Robert Lieber. “US-Israeli Relations since 1948,” MERIA Journal, 2, no. 3 (September 1998).

Robert C. Lieberman. “The ‘Israel Lobby’ and American Politics,” Perspectives on Politics 7 (2), 2009, pp. 235-257.

Seymour M Lipset and William Schneider.  “Carter vs. Israel,” Commentary (November 1977): 21-9.

Douglass Little. “The Making of a Special Relationship: The United States and Israel, 1957–68,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 25, no. 4 (November 1993): 563-85.

Rob Malley and Peter Harling.  “Beyond Moderates and Militants.” Foreign Affairs 89, no. 5 (September/October 2010): 18-29.

Richard J. McAlexander. “Couscous Mussolini: US Perceptions of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the 1958 Intervention in Lebanon and the Origins of the US-Israeli Special Relationship,” Cold War History 11 (3), 2011, pp. 363-385.

Walter Mead, Walter R. “The New Israel and the Old: Why Gentile Americans Back the Jewish State,” Foreign Affairs 87, no. 4 (July/August 2008): 28-46.

Micheel Ottolenghi. “Harry Truman’s Recognition of Israel,” The Historical Journal 47, no. 4 (December 2004): 963-88.

Pew Research Center. “American and Israeli Jews: Twin Portraits From Pew Research Center Surveys,” January 24, 2017, http://www.pewforum.org/essay/american-and-israeli-jews-twin-portraits-from-pew-research-center-surveys/

Jeremy Pressman. “The Bush Administration’s Foreign Policy Failure in the Middle East,” International Security 33, no. 4 (Spring 2009): 149-79.

Jeremy Pressman. “Explaining the Carter Administration’s Israeli-Palestinian Solution,” Diplomatic History 37 (5), 2013, pp. 1117-1147.

Bernard Reich. “The United States in the Middle East,” Current History (January 1991): 5-8, 42.

Ariel Ilan Roth. “Reassurance: A Strategic Basis of U.S. Support for Israel,” International Studies Perspectives 10 (4), 2009, pp. 378-393.

Nadav Safran.  “America’s Israel Connection,” Jerusalem Quarterly (Summer 1977): 3-30.

Theodore Sasson. “Mass Mobilization to Direct Engagement: American Jews’ Changing Relationship to Israel,” Israel Studies 15, no. 2 (2010): 173-195.

Robert Satloff. Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Proceedings of Strategy and Defense in the Eastern Mediterranean: An American-Israeli Dialogue, Israel, Jerusalem. July 7-9, 1986.

Robert Satloff and Chas Freeman. “Israel: Asset or Liability? A Debate on the U.S.-Israel Relationship,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, March 2011.

David Schoenbaum. “Afterthoughts,” The United States and the State of Israel. Oxford University Press (1993): 297-380.

Jeremy M. Sharp. “US Foreign Aid to Israel,” Congressional Research Service, June 15, 2015.

Gabriel Sheffer. “The United States-Israeli ‘Special Relationship,’” The Jerusalem Journal of International Relations, vol. 9, no. 4, 1987, pp. 35-44.

Asaf Siniver, “Abba Eban and the Development of American–Israeli Relations, 1950–1959,” Diplomacy & Statecraft, (2015) 26:1, 65-83.

Steve Spiegel. “The American-Israeli Relationship: Past and Future,” Israeli Journal of Foreign Affairs 2, no. 3 (2008): 15-28.

Steve Spiegel. “US-Israel Relations after the Gulf War,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (July 15, 1991).

Spiegel, Steven L. “U.S. Relations with Israel: The Military Benefits,” Orbis 30, no. 3 (Fall 1986): 475-98.

Shibil Siddiqi.  “The Divergence of America and Israel,” Foreign Policy in Focus (July 12, 2010).

Shlomo Slonim. “The United States and the Status of Jerusalem 1947-1984,” Israel Law Review 19, no. 2 (1984): 179-252.

Kenneth W. Stein. “U.S.-Israeli Relations 1947-2010: The View from Washington.” in Alfred Wittstock (ed.) The World Facing Israel – Israel Facing the World: Images and Politics. Berlin: Frank and Timme (2011): 159-75. http://ismi.emory.edu/home/documents/stein-publications/steinusisrael.pdf

Tal, David.  “A Tested Alliance: The American Airlift to Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War,” Israel Studies, 19:3 (Fall 2014): 29-54.

Gabriel Steinberg. “Israel and the United States: Can the Special Relationship Survive the New Strategic Environment,” Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) 2, no. 4 (November 1998).

Carmit Valensi and Udi Dekel. “The Current Challenges in the Middle East Demand a Joint United States-Israel Strategy,” Strategic Assessment, Vol 19, No.1, 2016, 25-39.

Boaz Vanetik and Zaki Shalom. “The White House Middle East Policy in 1973 as a Catalyst for the Outbreak of the Yom Kippur War,” Israel Studies 16 (1), 2011, pp. 53-78.

David Verbeeten. “How Important is the Israel Lobby,” Middle East Quarterly 13, no. 4 (Fall 2006): 37-44.

Timothy Weber.  “How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend,” Christianity Today 42, no. 11 (October 5, 1998): 38-49.

David Andrew Weinberg. “Israel and the United States: An Alliance Like None Other,” in Colin Shindler (ed.), Israel and the World Powers: Diplomatic Alliances and International Relations beyond the Middle East (London & New York: I.B. Tauris, 2014), pp. 61-91.