Editor's Note: When U.S.-Israel relations hit a rough patch, there are those who quickly blame Israel for America's difficulties abroad. Israel has outrageously been blamed for endangering American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, and erroneously been blamed for preventing the formation of an Arab coalition to work with the US to contain Iran. While we recognize, as Gen. Petraeus did, that American support for Israel is used by our adversaries to foment anti-Americanism, we also recognize that the important countries of the region won't like us any better if we shed Israel as an ally. They will wonder how quickly we will shed THEM when they are inconvenient. The correct response to those who denigrate the U.S.-Israel relationship, is to note that Israel is a friend by virtue of shared civic and political values and a security asset upon which the United States can rely.
For nearly 30 years, JINSA has been taking recently retired American Admirals and Generals to Israel to better understand the threats Israel faces, the resources it brings to its own defense and ways in which the U.S. and Israel can cooperate on common security issues. Their understanding of the role of Israel is in the ad below. JINSA is working to place the ad in newspapers (Jewish and other) around the country to ensure that Americans (Jewish and other) hear these voices. You can help spread the word by making a contribution to JINSA - clicking below.
We, the undersigned, have traveled to Israel over the years with The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). We brought with us our decades of military experience and, following unrestricted access to Israel's civilian and military leaders, came away with the unswerving belief that the security of the State of Israel is a matter of great importance to the United States and its policy in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. A strong, secure Israel is an asset upon which American military planners and political leaders can rely. Israel is a democracy - a rare and precious commodity in the region - and Israel shares our commitment to freedom, personal liberty and rule of law.
Throughout our travels and our talks, the determination of Israelis to protect their country and to pursue a fair and workable peace with their neighbors was clearly articulated. Thus we view the current tension between the United States and Israel with dismay and grave concern that political differences may be allowed to outweigh our larger mutual interests.
As American defense professionals, we view events in the Middle East through the prism of American security interests.
The United States and Israel established security cooperation during the Cold War, and today the two countries face the common threat of terrorism by those who fear freedom and liberty. Historically close cooperation between the United States. and Israel at all levels including the IDF, military research and development, shared intelligence and bilateral military training exercises enhances the security of both countries. American police and law enforcement officials have reaped the benefit of close cooperation with Israeli professionals in the areas of domestic counter-terrorism practices and first response to terrorist attacks.
Israel and the United States are drawn together by shared values and shared threats to our well-being.
The proliferation of weapons and nuclear technology across the Middle East and Asia, and the ballistic missile technology to deliver systems across wide areas require cooperation in intelligence, technology and security policy. Terrorism, as well as the origins of financing, training and executing terrorist acts, need to be addressed multilaterally when possible. The dissemination of hatred and support of terrorism by violent extremists in the name of Islam, whether state or non-state actors, must be addressed as a threat to global peace.
In the Middle East, a volatile region so vital to U.S. interests, it would be foolish to disengage - or denigrate - an ally such as Israel.
Rear Admiral Charles Beers, USN (ret.)
General William Begert, USAF (ret.)
Rear Admiral Stanley W. Bryant, USN (ret.)
Lieutenant General Anthony Burshnick, USAF (ret.)
Lieutenant General Paul Cerjan, USA (ret.)
Admiral Leon Edney, USN (ret.)
Brigadier General William F. Engel, USA (ret.)
Major General Bobby Floyd, USAF (ret.)
Major General Paul Fratarangelo, USMC (ret.)
Major General David Grange, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Tom Griffin, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Earl Hailston, USMC (ret.)
Lieutenant General John Hall, USAF (ret.)
General Alfred Hansen, USAF (ret.)
Rear Admiral James Hinkle, USN (ret.)
General Hal Hornburg, USAF (ret.)
Major General James T. Jackson, USA (ret.)
Admiral Jerome Johnson, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Herb Kaler, USN (ret.)
Vice Admiral Bernard Kauderer, USN (ret.)
General William F. Kernan, USA (ret.)
Major General Homer Long, USA (ret.)
Major General Jarvis Lynch, USMC (ret.)
General Robert Magnus, USMC (ret.)
Lieutenant General Charles May, Jr., USAF (ret.)
Vice Admiral Martin Mayer, USN (ret.)
Major General Fred McCorkle, USMC (ret.)
Rear Admiral Mark Milliken, USN (ret.)
Major General William Moore, USA (ret.)
Lieutenant General Carol Mutter, USMC (ret.)
Major General Larry T. Northington, USAF (ret.)
Lieutenant General Tad Oelstrom, USAF (ret.)
Major General James D. Parker, USA (ret.)
Vice Admiral J. T. Parker, USN (ret.)
Major General Robert Patterson, USAF (ret.)
Vice Admiral James Perkins, USN (ret.)
Rear Admiral Brian Peterman, USCG (ret.)
Lieutenant General Alan V. Rogers, USAF (ret.)
Rear Admiral Richard Rybacki, USCG (ret.)
General Crosbie Saint, USA (ret.)
Rear Admiral Norm Saunders, USCG (ret.)
Major General Sid Shachnow, USA (ret.)
Rear Admiral Jeremy Taylor, USN (ret.)
Major General Larry Taylor, USMCR (ret.)
Lieutenant General Lanny Trapp, USAF (ret.)
Vice Admiral Jerry O. Tuttle, USN (ret.)
General Louis Wagner, USA (ret.)
Rear Admiral Thomas Wilson, USN (ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert Winglass, USMC (ret.)
Rear Admiral Guy Zeller, USN (ret.)
- signatures as of April 1, 2010