The Christian Science Monitor points out an inconvenient truth:

Perhaps one reason for this hesitancy is the fact that Israel, in a historic choice to rely on itself for defense, has never become an official US ally.

America has no treaty obligation [bold mine-DL] to come to Israel’s defense as it does with many countries in Europe and Asia. This little-known fact may loom large in a meeting Monday between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

I suppose it is a little-known fact, but it shouldn’t be. It’s fairly easy to find out which states the U.S. is formally obligated to defend. Every politician mentioning Israel feels compelled to refer to it as an ally, and the term ally is applied loosely to every client state that the U.S. has around the globe. Unfortunately, it becomes a lazy habit for everyone, including myself, to refer to U.S. allies when it would be much more accurate to call them clients, and this can create the false impression that the U.S. is required to provide the same assistance to our treaty allies and U.S. client states.