By Ariel Gomberg
This article is the writer’s own and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Concordiensis or its staff.
It is no unknown fact that the Arab-Israeli conflict is a hot topic issue, highly debated all over the world.
Within the U.S., Middle East issues are highly publicized and discussed by the public and Congress. Among the multiple issues is the United States’ support of the State of Israel. A majority of the U.S. approves of our close ties with Israel and understands its lasting benefits. It is my belief that supporting Israel not only gives the U.S. a strong and needed ally in the Middle East, but also provides a reciprocal relationship where the U.S. receives the benefits of innovative military technology, medical discoveries and the recent engineering developments.
President Obama stated in his most recent State of the Union speech that, “Our iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.” Congress’s support of Israel stems from the fact that the technology developments created in Israel directly benefits the interets of the U.S.
[pullquote]If mainstream America supports the Israel-America alliance, why does a seeming majority of Union College stand apart?[/pullquote]
The connection can also be made that Israeli military advancements have saved the lives of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Just last year in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military gained an advantage from Israel’s experience in fighting Improvised Explosive Devices, car bombs and suicide bombers. It was Israeli-invented short-range unmanned aircraft systems that the US service used in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is why 90 percent—with only 1 percent against—of the House of Representatives voted in 2009 to approve the bill: “Recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States’ strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”
It seems on Union’s campus, we are separate from the true opinion of the U.S. concerning Israel. According to an event with Professor Stephen Berk last year, students who are pro-Israel have engaged six percent of the student body and have worked hard on teaching them facts about what is going on in the Middle East. Students support Israel for their own myriad of reasons.
Recently, a leadership statement signed by campus leaders endorsed the ongoing U.S. alliance with Israel. Campus leaders from Union affirmed their allegiance with the U.S.-Israel Alliance by signing a leadership statement stating, ‘I support the U.S.-Israel relationship.” Nonetheless it is still true that faculty and the greater Union population stands against the bond between the U.S. and Israel.
Yes, the U.S. gives large amounts of financial support to Israel, but it is a rare but true fact that 75 cents of every dollar the U.S. gives to Israel goes back into our economy to aid Americans. Israel’s propensity to push boundaries in the fields of technology, medicine and engineering has and will benefit the U.S.
The American people and government understand Israel’s contributions, so why can’t Union?