Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Sarah Palin's trip to Israel no laughing matter

    Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's trip to Israel this week was important for her, but it was even more important for Israel and its relationship with the United States.

    A trip to Israel is a rite of passage for American politicians seeking higher office, and a parade of potential Republican presidential nominees has already made the trip. Governor Palin's supporters insist the trip improves credibility with evangelical Christians and Republican Jews. Detractors mock as odd the closed nature of the visit - there was very little press availability, and the non-pilgrimage to Bethlehem where her motorcade was turned around at the last minute is being used to highlight her lack of foreign policy credentials.

    But this cacophony of political nonsense detracts from the importance of her visit for the relationship between the US and Israel: America remains Israel's strongest and most strategic ally.

    However, that relationship cannot be taken for granted. Public opinion and political advantage has changed frequently in the United States since 2006. Given myriad new political challenges in the Middle East, US reliance on Middle Eastern oil, and the moves to dramatically reduce America's federal budget, the potential erosion of US support for Israel is very real and can cost the Jewish state financially, militarily, diplomatically and politically. Israel needs America to remain a proactive, strong and a reliable ally.

    Visiting and being an expressive supporter of the Jewish state remains a prerequisite for establishing a foreign policy role in the US.

    The visit was a success for Israel

    Whether or not Governor Palin's trip to Israel does more to burnish her foreign policy credentials than her claim that she could see Russia from her house, or her speech in India this week, remains to be seen as the 2012 presidential race begins in earnest. It is doubtful that her visit will be the item to catapult her past other leading contenders. The true test for her will be not what happened on the visit, but what substance she contributes to the Israeli dialogue and to the broader Middle East conversation.

    Governor Palin is an energetic, vocal and recognised political leader in the US. Whether one supports her or not, having her voice added to those who support the state of Israel is a very good thing. By that measure, her visit was a success for the Jewish people and for Israel.

Analysis

No Fidelity: Castro's complex relationship with...

Colin Shindler

Thursday, December 1, 2016

No Fidelity: Castro's complex relationship with...
Analysis

Israel faces up to complex challenge

Nathan Jeffay

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Israel faces up to complex challenge
Analysis

Israel eyes opportunities - cautiously

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Israel eyes opportunities - cautiously
Analysis

Mosul has been freed before - ask Jonah

Lawrence Joffe

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Mosul has been freed before - ask Jonah
Analysis

The Chief Rabbi is walking a tightrope

Simon Rocker

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Chief Rabbi is walking a tightrope
Analysis

Will these men make world safer? Not likely

Jason Burke

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Will these men make world safer? Not likely
Analysis

Castro supported Cuban aliyah

Jordan Lancaster

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Castro supported Cuban aliyah
Analysis

Row over Democrats' Muslim hopeful

Jonathan Cummings

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Row over Democrats' Muslim hopeful
Analysis

Returning Daesh can profit from Arab despair

John R Bradley

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Returning Daesh can profit from Arab despair