As publisher of The Jerusalem Strategic Tribune, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our first issue.
It may strike some of you as curious that of all people, a Moroccan Arab Muslim would move to create a US-based journal about the US–Israel relationship. I hardly blame you: Unlike Western countries, where many become passionate about a given subject that is distant from their own background or heritage, the Middle East and North Africa remain a region in which collective identities dominate the mindset, and too few bridges are built between them.
But I wanted to take a stand in favor of something new and different—because as an individual, I have formed a personal worldview that considers this venture to be a virtue. Permit me to explain.
As a champion of US leadership around the world for all of my professional life, I have traveled to America dozens of times and have formed a deep affinity for its resilient culture, institutions, and system of government. When at times my American friends lamented their country’s widening political polarization, I was the one who gave them a pep talk: Even in its darkest moments, the United States remains a beacon of hope to hundreds of millions around the world.
As I came to know the United States, I naturally drew near to the American Jewish community. On my first visit, American Jews hastened to help me discover their country and find my way. I was moved by their patriotism and love for American values, as well as their commitment to their heritage and the welfare of the Jewish state. American Jews have been my partners and mentors, as well as my bridge to their ancestral homeland.
How can someone who loves America not value and admire the state of Israel? While both countries have their share of polarization, extremism, and misguided policy, the Israelis I know and count as friends represent the promise of an open, democratic, and tolerant society, safeguarded by a strong state of institutions. They share the American capacity for introspection; their patriotism manifests in a hunger to reach for better and better things, right wrongs, and serve the common good. They are the Israelis whom many Arabs also look to as potential friends and partners—a rising trend manifested so profoundly in the diplomatic breakthroughs of the past year. Nurturing their aspirations, and building bridges between them and like-minded people beyond their borders, is a key facet of the larger struggle to heal and rebuild our troubled region.
The US–Israel alliance will always be an essential component of that effort. Americans’ love for Israel grows as the country expands its commitment to the universal values that the two countries share. So much rides, in turn, on the deepening of that relationship—a massive, multi-sector alliance—interwoven into every realm of government and society. The alliance is also an anchor of international security policy, with profound implications for every country in Israel’s extended neighborhood.
And so I had always found it surprising, when shuttling between these two great countries, that no public media platform exists for the expressed purpose of examining the alliance. Perhaps such a platform could help policymakers and civic actors alike better understand their own role in ensuring that this unique, time-honored relationship yields maximal benefit, both for them and their many allies. Perhaps in addition to Israelis and Americans, Arab and other voices with a stake in the relationship could contribute to such a journal, weighing in crucially on the implications of a given development for them. Such a forum, I felt, would bring together its own alliance of thought partners, perhaps differing politically in some ways but agreeing on an essential principle: The US–Israel alliance can, and must, always be a force for good in the world.
I knew, of course, that to create such a platform I would need all the help I could get. I am honored to have found it in some of the most capable and experienced practitioners of US–Israel engagement in the world. In these pages, they will develop new ideas about the world we live in and the potentialities of the alliance, as well as engage an audience from all walks of life in the process.
If you find this platform compelling, I hope that you will join us as a friend and a voice.