Leading American journalist, commentator and conservative Andrew Sullivan:
One question that should always be asked of an ally: what is that ally doing for the US? Since the end of the Cold War, that question has been increasingly hard to answer with respect to Israel.
Strategically, Israel is obviously a huge burden for the US, making relations with Muslim or Arab nations much harder, and undermining any attempt to portray American intervention in, say, Iraq or Afghanistan, as beneficent rather than predatory. It’s a big drain on the Treasury, as Israel consumes a vast amount of military and non-military aid.
It’s a big blow to any attempt by the US to restrain nuclear weaponry, since Israel has 150 nuclear weapons and threatens regional and global war if its monopoly is in any way challenged. And it means that American money is directly connected to the mass killings of civilians in Gaza last January. Despite all this, an American president’s primary concern is maintaining the support of Israel! And secretary of state Clinton can actually applaud Netanyahu for telling her own president to go pull a Cheney.
Moreover, any attempt to chart a foreign policy for the region that is not subject to Jerusalem’s veto is subjected to the kind of hysterical smear-mongering that the neocons have applied to AIPAC J-Street and even the NIAC head, Trita Parsi.