Great Decisions Series: Israel-United States Relations

TUE, APR 8, 2014 (1:20:07)

Throughout decades of conflict in the Middle East, the U.S. has provided unparalleled military and diplomatic support to Israel due to the two countries' shared interests and values. Yet these ties are being tested, as stalled peace talks and Iran's nuclear ambitions have put new strains on relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. How have common cultural values influenced the countries' 65-year-old "special relationship"? How is the U.S. balancing this commitment with its many interests in the region?

+ BIO: Ilan Troen

Ilan Troen is the Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies and Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.Before joining Brandeis, he served as director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute and Archives in Sede Boker, Israel, and dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences at Ben-Gurion University.He has authored or edited 11 books in American, Jewish and Israeli history. He is also the founding editor of Israel Studies (Indiana University Press), an international journal that publishes three issues annually on behalf of Brandeis and Ben-Gurion University.His most recent book publications include "Jewish Centers and Peripheries: European Jewry Between America and Israel 50 Years after World War II" (1998); "The Americanization of Israel" (2001), with Glenda Abramson; "Divergent Jewish Cultures: Israel and America" (2001), with Deborah Dash-Moore; "Imagining Zion: Dreams, Designs and Realities in a Century of Jewish Settlement" (2003); and, with Jacob Lassner, "Jews and Muslims in the Arab World; Haunted by Pasts Real and Imagined" (2007). Forthcoming with Maoz Azaryahu is "Tel Aviv: The First Century; Visions, Designs and Actualities" 2011.

+ BIO: Christopher Henzel

Christopher Henzel is director of the office of Israel and Palestinian affairs at the State Department. He is a member of the senior Foreign Service. From 2011 to 2013, he headed the office of Regional and Multilateral Affairs in the Department’s Near East bureau, responsible for economic and security assistance budgets, and for the Sinai observer force. From 2010 to 2011, Henzel led the provincial reconstruction team in Mosul, Iraq, and from 2007 to 2010 he was deputy chief of mission and chargé at the American embassy in Manama, Bahrain. From 2004 to 2007 he was counselor for political affairs in Amman, Jordan. He has also been posted in Yemen, Pakistan, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. In other Washington assignments he has served as economic officer for North Africa, and as desk officer for Iran. Henzel is a graduate of the National War College and of the College of the Holy Cross, and studied Arabic at the Foreign Service Institute field school in Tunisia. He has received several State Department Superior Honor Awards, as well as the U.S. Army’s Superior Civilian Service Award.