Tough Love? The Future of US-Israel Relations

Adapted from: "Danger : High voltage," Leonid Mamchenkov (CC-BY). "Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses the UN General Assembly," Africa Renewal (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). "Barack Obama in Tampa - June 22nd," Barack Obama (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).


Both Germany and the U.S. have, for different reasons, a special relationship to Israel characterized by close political, economic, and military ties. While this relationship has so far remained largely intact, some subtle but substantial changes are underway. This web dossier highlights various aspects of change and continuity in U.S.-Israeli relations. Professor Daniel C. Kurtzer, Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, Director of the Arab-Israeli Programs at the United States Institute of Peace, address the current diplomatic storm in U.S.-Israeli relations: Professor Kurtzer comments on the heightened tensions between current and former U.S. and Israeli administrations, especially with regard to the Iran nuclear deal, whereas Ms. Kurtzer-Ellenbogen explores if and how the U.S. should continue to engage in the paralyzed Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The articles by Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin, Public Opinion Researcher and contributor at +972 Magazine, and Alan Elsner, Vice President for Communications at JStreet, examine the dynamics in popular perceptions: While Allan Elsner focuses on changes underway in the Jewish-American community, Dahlia Scheindlin takes a closer look at shifts in public opinion more generally. Libby Lenkinski, Vice President for Strategy at the New Israel Fund, explores identity politics and responses to diversity in the U.S. and Israel. Finally, Lara Friedman from Americans for Peace Now evaluates the successes and failures of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists, and Professor Dan Rabinowitz from Tel Aviv University formulates a progressive response to the movement. 

We hope this dossier contributes to a deeper understanding of political and social developments under way in the U.S. and Israel that will shape their ties in the future. Ignoring these developments will not serve us, even if we do not like what we see. Changing things for the better always begins with assessing reality for what it is.