Dennis Ross, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama, is the counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute.
Articles & Testimony
President Biden’s popularity with the Israeli public gives him leverage, but placing conditions on U.S. aid would likely backfire.
The high death toll among Palestinian civilians in Israel’s war with Hamas has triggered repeated calls for placing conditions on American assistance to the Jewish state. “The truth is that if asking nicely worked, we wouldn’t be in the position we are today,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders in a floor speech in late November. “For many years, the United States has provided Israel with substantial sums of money with close to no strings attached...This blank check approach must end.” The reality is that U.S. aid to Israel has never been a blank check. We have often used military assistance as a way to achieve our own policy goals—to encourage Israel to take risks for peace or to help deter American enemies in the Middle East. But these efforts haven’t always worked as planned...