Paul Pillar dismisses talk of a U.S.-Israeli “crisis”:

The only reason the term crisis comes up regarding U.S.-Israeli relations is the fictional, deliberately inflated view of the relationship as something qualitatively different that ought to defy any of the usual rules that apply to any patron and client or to any bilateral relationship. Sweep aside the politically-driven fiction about two countries that supposedly have everything in common and nothing in conflict and instead deal with reality, and the concept of crisis does not arise at all. What you have instead is a bilateral relationship that is like many others the United States has, with some parallel interests and objectives along with other objectives that diverge—sometimes sharply—and with honest recognition of the latter being a normal part of business.

This is the problem that crops up whenever an ordinary relationship between two states is turned into a “special” one. In order to maintain the fiction of the “special” relationship, it becomes necessary to pretend that the two states’ interests converge on almost everything and that the relationship is exceptionally important and “unshakeable.” This obscures the extent to which the two states’ interests diverge quite often, and it allows hard-line supporters of the “special” relationship here in the U.S. to portray the normal quarrels and disagreements between governments as a disaster. Of course, it is something of a disaster for those that want it to be exempt from the rules that govern all other bilateral relationships, which can only mean that it is a healthy development towards a more normal and balanced relationship between the patron and its client. Insofar as the latest episode helps to show how imbalanced and one-sided that relationship is and how little it benefits the U.S., it has brought having a normal and constructive relationship in the future a little bit closer.

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