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JPPI’s 2017 Brainstorming Conference — Integrative Summary

The election of President Trump carried the promise of a friendlier, more sympathetic administration than its predecessor. Alongside the possibility of turning a “new page” in U.S.-Israel relations, there are also some dilemmas as to how much Israel should publicly identify with the new administration’s ideology and the sentiments and ethos that helped Donald Trump take the White House. The majority of American Jews disagree with the president’s views, which brings the sensitivity of this diplomatic dilemma into sharp focus.

  • Given the polarization trend inside the United States, Israel should tread cautiously and strive to maintain bi-partisan support. Israel should differentiate between developing a good working relationship with the Trump administration and projecting an ideological affinity to it. It should not neglect relations with the Democratic Party, especially its more liberal elements (minorities, millennials) who currently tend to have a negative view of Israel.
  • Given the ability to improve the relationship with the American administration and given its interest in advancing an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Israel should utilize this strategic advantage to counteract the threat of its sliding into a bi-national reality, and as a force multiplier to the improving relations with the moderate Arab states in the region.
  • Israel should exercise caution in its geopolitical affairs in accordance with the reality that the U.S. may no longer emphasize its commitment to a moral vision of global leadership. At a time when the litmus test is what is in the “American interest,” the U.S. could decide to isolate itself and decrease support for Israel on issues that do not line up with its own material interests.
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