Mead argues that the history of the American and Israeli relationship isn't exceptional:

[In] the end the United States applied its general principles to Israel’s unique situation.  If Israel stayed generally ‘on side’ and did its part for its own security, the United States would offer help on something like the same basis that it supported other countries around the world.  Israel, surrounded by hostile states in a region that didn’t accept its existence, might need more help than other countries.  On the other hand, it fulfilled its part of the bargain much better than most.  That political complications and costs came with the alliance was true; but Israel was not unique in this way.  Just as the United States straddled the gaps between hostile countries elsewhere in its alliance system (not only Turkey and Greece but Britain and Argentina, Germany and France in the early days, Saudi Arabia and Iran through 1979, India and Pakistan today, and so forth), it would straddle the Arab-Israeli divide, working for peace and managing the conflicts.

But since the Cold War, and the ongoing war with Islamism and the need to reach out to moderate Muslims to defuse the threat to the US, the equation of interests has shifted. And when Israel is also straining US relations with the EU and Turkey and Arab allies, the equation shifts some more.

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