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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
December 2021
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Book description

Laying the foundation for an understanding of US-Israeli relations, this lively and accessible book provides critical background on the origins and development of the 'special' relations between Israel and the United States. Questioning the usual neo-realist approach to understanding this relationship, David Tal instead suggests that the relations between the two nations were constructed on idealism, political culture, and strategic ties. Based on a diverse range of primary sources collected in archives in both Israel and the United States, The Making of an Alliance discusses the development of relations built through constant contact between people and ideas, showing how presidents and Prime Ministers, state officials, and ordinary people from both countries, impacted one another. It was this constancy of religion, values, and history, serving the bedrock of the relations between the two countries and peoples, over which the ephemeral was negotiated.


'For anyone seeking to understand why American policymakers and Americans in general support Israel, this book is essential reading. Tal convincingly argues that the 'special relationship' between the United States and Israel is deeply rooted and very resilient - shaped by religion, culture and history, not merely by strategic interests.'

Dov Waxman - University of California, Los Angeles

'Based on extensive archival research, David Tal examines the many explanations for the close ties between the United States and Israel. He demonstrates that while shared values and culture, as well as shared interests, underlie this informal alliance, in a rapidly changing world, even these ties may not be immutable.'

Ronald W. Zweig - New York University

‘… a compelling read, especially for those seeking a critical academic approach that transcends superficial over-simplifications used to justify preconceived viewpoints.’

Natan Aridan Source: Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs

‘… an impressively researched analysis of the origins and progression of the American-Israeli alliance. … Highly recommended.’

M. F. Cairo Source: Choice

'… a very significant addition to the literature about the ties that have bound the United States and the Jewish state to each other. [This] book, in short, can be read with great profit by anyone, expert or layperson alike, with an interest in this relationship.’

David Rodman Source: Israel Affairs

'The Making of an Alliance is an important addition to [the] literature. Relying on diplomatic sources, Tal painstakingly reconstructs the record of high-level diplomatic exchanges between the two countries across US administrations and Israeli premierships.'

Neil Rogachevsky Source: Israel Studies Review

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