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Blame Bureaucrats, Bureaucracy for Israel-US Tensions

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Micah Halpern By Tuesday, 25 June 2024 11:43 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The tensions that have emerged between two once-great allies, Israel and the United States, are blindingly obvious.

Mass media has pointed out, discussed, and dissected the divisions with such fervor and frequency that no one can claim ignorance of the break between the two countries, often referred to as siblings: the United States as big brother, Israel as little brother.    

Friends argue. Allies disagree. Siblings have rivalries. But these broken lines of communication between Israel and the United States are all that and more.

It is unprecedented. Tensions have risen to such a high — one might even call it fevered pitch — that President Joe Biden's White House has stopped commenting and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu can't seem to stop himself from commenting. 

While this public spat between Israel and the United States could not have come at a worse time in Israel’s history, it is happening, in part, because this is one of the worst times in Israel's history.

Israel has been waging war against Hamas for three-quarters of a year. In the annals of Israeli military tradition, that is a very long time.

There is continued saber rattling by Hezbollah. There are aerial attacks from Yemen's Houthis. Iran has become emboldened in its bellicose actions and aggressive plans for the Middle East. 

The region, the Middle East, is a tinder box. And while the region is always a tinder box, right now it feels more likely to ignite and thrust any number of parties into a far-reaching, all-out, extended conflict than at any point since the creation of the Jewish state.  

And Israel stands strong and proud. But Israel stands alone.

The United States, of course, does not want an expanded regional war with Iran calling all the plays while China and Russia cheer them on. Israel certainly does not want a regional war.

Israel does not want to be the central target of a regional war. And Israel certainly does not want to fight on multiple, simultaneous fronts.   

But should there be a regional war, do not for one moment think that because the United States has been distanced from Israel, the United States will not come under attack, as well. In a regional war, the United States will be the focus of attacks locally.

The standing of the United States will be challenged on the world stage. Iran, Russia, and China will assert their roles, and the U.S. will be forced into the conflict.

After all, the United States represents the West and represents democracies the world over. The United States represents everything that those who would be at war with Israel despise.

Remember when, back in October, President Biden gave full throat support to Israel in its war against Hamas. He even visited Israel during the first stages of the war.

Fast-forward to now, and we have Netanyahu publicly chastising Washington for not providing Israel with much-needed weaponry, a claim the Biden administration denies.

They're both right. 

The White House is on record as having slowed down a single delivery of rockets to Israel because the United States disagreed with Israel's plan of attack in Rafah. In its worldview, too many Palestinian noncombatants were being killed by Israeli airstrikes.

Immediately after the Hamas massacre of Oct. 7, the United States expedited arms shipments to Israel as Israel requested. Israel was getting weapons and getting much-needed restocks quickly.

But for some unexplained reason, the schedule changed. Arms transfers reverted to the traditional schedule. 

And that schedule can best be compared to the proverbial slow boat to China.      

Congress has allocated the weapons; nondelivery is a violation of federal law. So what's happening?

Why did the schedule revert back — especially in Israel's time of need? The answer is far more sinister than one would expect.

The best explanation is that bureaucrats in the Department of Defense are slowing down the process. — bureaucrats who are at odds with the Biden administration's support of Israel. Professional hacks who disagree with Israel's war against Hamas and are sabotaging the delivery of essential weapons to Israel — the same people who have always worked to sabotage the relationship between the United States and Israel.   

Bluntly put, they are anti-Israel.

Another reason given to explain the slowdown is that it's political — viable, but unlikely. It is too easy to check the White House on this.

The White House was not in denial mode when it did deliberately slow down the earlier rocket delivery. And there is no political upside for the White House to slow down weapons and not claim responsibility. 

The only reason to hold back weapons for Israel is if it would garner political return.

And in this case it is crystal clear to the voting constituencies around Detroit, Michigan, who reject the special relationship between the United States and Israel that holding back weapons would not directly translate into political support. Biden has already lost their vote.

An anti-Israel/anti-Jewish culture has long permeated certain corridors of the Defense Department as well as the State Department.

These bureaucrats have been at odds with the policies of sitting presidents and their political appointees. The attitude of professional bureaucrats was and still is they they are there to stay while political appointees and the president rotate in and out.

That is where the real tension exists.

Israel knows it. The White House knows it.

That is why Netanyahu went public on social media and in interviews. He was putting pressure on the White House to rein in the bureaucrats.

Getting those weapons quickly is as important as making certain that Israel and the United States are in step with one another. Without a united front, without an excellent U.S.-Israel relationship, the safety of the Middle East — even the security of the world — is at stake.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern," a weekly TV program, and "My Chopp," a daily radio spot. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern's Reports — More Here.

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The tensions that have emerged between two once-great allies, Israel and the United States, are blindingly obvious.
israel, gaza, hamas, us
Tuesday, 25 June 2024 11:43 AM
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