Yesterday, day two of the Herzliya Conference, the morning session addressed the topic of US-Israeli relations. Israeli and American speakers made it evident that, in their opinion, there still exist strong relations between the two countries, and that, despite some minor disagreements, they see every reason that the friendship Â that exists between the two nations will warmly last .
Tzippi Livni, Leader of the Opposition, stated:
“The relationship between the U.S. and Israel is based on a long-term partnership, on a shared scale of values, that Israel represents the values of the U.S. in Middle East, that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, that we have, we share, a deep friendship, a friendship that is bipartisan.”
Danny Ayalon, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated:
“The relationship is on the bilateral volume and depth of the cooperation between the Israel and the United States and here,… things have never been better…
“And really the relations extends beyond, or transcends, just governments, whether it is in Jerusalem or in Washington…its a relationship between people….
“For us, the United States is not just a sister democracy and a great partner its also an ethos, an ideology, an ideal….
“The fact that the United States supports the only democracy in the Middle East is what gives the United States the real strength, the added value vis-a-vis all other players in the international community…
“I believe that the government of Israel… sees this American administration as a most friendly administration.”
James B Cunningham, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, stated:
“What I regard as exaggerated commentary about the nature of the relationship between our two administrations and I think that’s actually quite dangerous because it could lead others in this region and elsewhere… [to think that the United States will not support Israel in times of need]
“Obama made very clear, including in Cairo, when he addressed the Muslim world, that the American connection with Israel is and will be unbreakable and he asked, he made very clear to, countries around the world not to make any mistake about that.
“We’ve taken the lead in supporting attempts in the international arena to [counter initiatives that] de-legitimize Israel, especially in the context of the Goldstone Report, Durban II, and other things…
“Now, we have had some differences over how to pursue peace in this region, but our goals have been essentially the same. We’re doing this because its in Israel’s interest, as well as in the interest of the United States.
“…Somewhat of a sense of disappointment that more has not been achieved in the peace effort thus far. We recognize that the Israeli government has made steps in that direction, which we appreciate and which we’re encouraging…”