Israel-U.S. Bromance Must Keep it Real
Published: Monday, March 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 18, 2013 23:03
Although I’ve had my share of fond bromantic escapades, it doesn’t take a fratstar to know a bonafide bromance when he sees one. We’re all familiar with the telltale signs: the effusion of endearing personal titles (e.g. “bro,” “dude,” “man”), constant reaffirmations of commitment (e.g. “I love you, dude”) and the consistent flow of innocent favors (e.g. wingmanning, bench-spotting, shampoo-sharing).
That is why, petty personal politics between Benjamin Netanyahu and Obama aside, the relationship between the United States and Israel appears nothing short of bromantic — and appropriately so. It satisfies all the aforementioned criteria. We lavish Israel with affectionate monikers like “our strongest ally in the Middle East.” U.S. politicians from both sides of the aisle constantly compete to see who can more eloquently flex their “I love Israel” muscles. The nations are continually exchanging technology and information.
According to this analysis, one assumes the United States and Israel will be bros for life, just like Harry and Ron, Scooby and Shaggy, Jay-Z and Kanye and the countless other stalwart bromances since Cain and Abel — or at least since before things got sticky. Right? Well, not so fast.
A real bromance is defined by something far deeper than nicknames, gushy utterances, favors and other flirtations. It’s defined by a mutual and honest concern for each other’s long-term welfare and, at times, can require a constructive — but more critical — type of brotherly support. U.S. actions undoubtedly reflect a concern for Israel’s security in the future. But what about Israel’s future as a democratic Jewish homeland? Unless the United States acts soon, it will neglect to meet its bromantic obligations.
As both parties become more and more entrenched in hawkish pessimism, the window of opportunity for a two-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict is closing fast. If peace prospects die, Israel as we know it will soon cease to exist. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank will become a permanent de facto annexation. Israel will either grant citizenship to all the people between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, losing its Jewish majority and thereby ending the dream of a Jewish homeland, or it will withhold rights to vote and uproot its cherished democratic foundation.
In either situation, the Palestinians lose as well, as even the former scenario wouldn’t give them true self-governance. For these reasons — and many more — a two-state solution is the only option.
To save its bromance and to save Israel, U.S. leaders must create a framework for bringing the two sides together to mediate a two-state solution.
Obama’s current visit to Israel and the West Bank could be a great step in that direction, but we must urge the president to make this trip substantive and not merely ceremonial. Both Israelis and Palestinians are distrustful of the other side, soured by decades of violence and failed peace attempts.
It is unlikely that they will come to the table without a mediator. Obama must make peace a priority in his discussions with Israeli and Palestinian leadership. Two-state diplomacy cannot be overshadowed by other issues. We must seize this opportunity before the clock strikes midnight. This is no time to break the bro code.
Jacob Sorrells is a freshman in the College and president of J Street U.