The Breakup

The Slow Demise of U.S. Bipartisan Support for Israel

Workers prepare the stage at the AIPAC conference in Washington, March 2, 2015. Jonathan Ernst / Courtesy Reuters

In 1962, U.S. President John F. Kennedy told Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir that the United States and Israel had a “special relationship.” A hallmark of that relationship has been its bipartisan nature, which has been reinforced by powerful lobbies working in unison on both sides of the political aisle. Such support made it possible for the United States to send Israel $121 billion in foreign aid between 1948 and the end of 2014—more than to any other country. The United States also backed Israel in its regional conflicts and vetoed or opposed United Nations resolutions critical of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. 

But there are growing signs of discord within that community that could, in turn, threaten the special relationship. The most recent is the rift created by House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of the Likud Party, to speak before

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