... We're not all that influential when it comes to Israel. Oh, you thought we were?
The US, it turns out, does not have quite as much ability to nudge its Israeli allies as you might think. The United States failed to get a permanent settlement freeze in 2009, couldn't get Israelis to agree to a framework for peace negotiations the Palestinians would accept (and vice versa), and hasn't made any headway on the "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza that President Obama has repeatedly called for. This all seems strange on the surface: the US is a superpower, provides about $3 billion in aid to Israel every year, and uses its veto to protect Israel at the United Nations when no one else will. So why hasn't the US been able to force Israel to see things its way? Why does it appear to have so little leverage?
There are two basic explanations. One — call it "can't" — is that the US is literally incapable of putting enough pressure on Israel to change the country's position on major issues. The other — call it "won't" — is that the US refuses to use the tools it has. There are elements of truth to both, and you need to grasp both the can't and won't arguments to understand the relationship between the United States and Israel today. ...Vox
In the end, it's the Obama administration that gets the blame when the problem has really been about the hard right turn in the internal politics of both countries. We've been Israel's suckers during any number of presidencies. It has cost us big -- and that's just the point. Our relationship with Israel has been very, very lucrative for the defense industry. If our internal politics were more balanced, our relationship with the Middle East would be more balanced and a lot healthier.