There are many models and paradigm to describe US foreign policy and its relationship with Israel. John Mearsheimer, the author of "The Israel Lobby and US foreign Policy" asks a few eye opening questions for the general public. But how do we frame U.S’ approach to Israel and what is the role that Israel Lobby has played throughout the years to reassure that U.S supports unconditionally Israel, its actions, its position in the Middle East, its strategies, and lastly its regime.
To explain more in details I have chosen the Bureaucratic Politics model since it appears to be coherent and –in my opinion – fits for the moment (being) the relationship with Israel.
Bureaucratic Politics Model – In other words is the promotion of by gov agencies, interest groups, and actors of their version of “national interest” as shaped by the interest of their particular bureaucratic agency.
First, according to Russel Bova the Bureaucratic model rests of four assumptions: 1. Policy making is a social process. 2. There is no single version of national interest 3. Policy decisions are compromises. 4. Policy does not stop once a decision is made.
As a social process, framing foreign policy involves many actors, among those, influential interest groups, individuals, leaders and instuitional entities. In the case of U.S recognition of Israel's Jerusalem capital, it yields more controversies than it does support, as I will explain latter. I believe that the social process of deciding whether Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel (recognized by US), was a halfhearted decision made with little consideration on behalf of our country, but also the international community which strongly opposed the decision. Jim Zanotti (2018) explains that Israeli’s Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed this decision and so did the members of his administration, while the international community including the Arab States (which President Trump might need in the future in possible negotiation for a two state solution) strongly opposed. After the UN voted pro-resolution initiated by Egypt, President Trump took another approach. In Davos Switzerland “The President said, “We took Jerusalem off the table, so we don’t have to talk about it anymore,” before telling Netanyahu, “You won one point [on Jerusalem], and you’ll give up some points later on the negotiation, if it ever takes place.”(Zanotti 2018). Thus this approach indicates that “Policy decisions can be compromises” (Bova) and with that, it comprises that comparing the parties’ interest drives the policy making decisions. There is no indication that President Trump recognized Jerusalem in exchange for a deal with Israel in the future, yet it can serve as a starting point that (as mentioned by Mearsheimer) changes to the Israel Lobby must be made and must continue.
Israel, with its politic and brutality against Palestine, and also its hostile relationship with the Arab states and especially Iran, is a threat not only to the region but to also its own democracy. War is costly and inciting a conflict with Iran, can have detrimental consequences.”
In recent years Israel and Arab Gulf states have discreetly cultivated closer relations with one another in efforts to counter Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu remains publicly skeptical of the 2015 international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. (Zanotti 2018)
U.S grants federal funds to Israel without anything in return, thus compromises in the foreign aid must be made and U.S must expect results in return.
In addition, the Bureaucratic model assumes that there is no single version of the national interest. This is key when it comes to sharing a common interest especially on National Security. Israel Lobby has played a tremendous role in reassuring that aligning U.S interests with Israel interest in the Middle East is crucial to maintain not only a strategic partner, but to also share resources in the military and by directly influencing the US politics and decisions making body in Congress.
“Israeli officials closely consult with U.S. counterparts in an effort to influence U.S. decision making on key regional issues. Israel’s leaders and supporters routinely make the case to U.S. officials that Israel’s security and the broader stability of the region remain critically important for U.S. interests” (Zanotti 2018).
Israel Lobby, is by far the most influential group that impacts U.S foreign policy not only in Middle East region but also the distribution of Foreign Aid funds. In 2016, US paid approx. 3.1 billon dollars to Israel.
U.S influenced by the Israel Lobby provides foreign aid to address the threats Israel perceives in the region. In addition, U.S decision makers’ views could influence how Israel might continue its stated policy of “defending itself, by itself” while also receiving external assistance. They also could influence the extent to which the United States places conditions on the support it provides to Israel” (Zanotti 2028). Until now, according to John Mearsheimer, no conditions have been placed on Israel foreign aid.
In conclusion, it is important to understand that the interference of a foreign government is a threat to democracy, and that interference may be direct or indirect. In both cases Israel Lobby has extended its discresion interfering in U.S' affairs by influencing law makers, by propaganda, interest groups, demagogy, etc.
Quoted from John Uebersack:
“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government.” George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796