msnbc | November 19, 2012
>>> of the jewish state , israel security has been a policy priority for administrations from jimmy carter to bill clinton to george bush and presidents actively intervened with the middle eastern neighbors in the nay name of peace, and that has given israel big clout in washington, d.c. and now joining me is contributor jimy williams on why this matters so much for american politics . so we are watching this unfold for days now, and we know that the president supports israel , but it remains among the top five allies of america when it comes to the global stage, especially within the middle east , but explain why is that? is it because of the shared culture, the shared values that are rooted purely in the conflict that is once again blowing up at this very moment?
>> well, america traditionally has been allied with israel obviously since the inception, but one thing that i think that people have to keep in mind is that you have a democracy and israel is a democracy and it is the longest sustaining democracy in the region frankly and it is now defending itself pretty much every single day against a terrorist regime or terrorist regimes in the region and surrounded by all sides of people who do not like them for all intents and purposes. imagine, if america , if we had bombs coming in from mexico or canada into texas, let's say or to michigan, and that were happening on a daily basis, and we are a democracy as well. so you have the right to defend yourself, and that is where i think that israel and the united states very much had this sort of camaraderie and even despite the bad blood between netanyahu and our leader president obama , and the countries do maintain a healthy relationship, and you have a lot of american jews who do have dual citizenship as well even today.
>> point that out, because the jewish vote is very vital in the country as we watched it play out in the election, and why is that?
>> well, listen, first of all, they have a fantastic lobby which is called apac which is american israel political action committee and they do a fantastic job in representing american jews before the congress. there's the one thing with congress that they can -- the one thing they can agree on these days is support for israel and the ability to defend themselves, and in fact, they recently passed unanimously, resolutions in both chambers saying that israel has the right the do so. so the israeli population is at one point 0 years ago was 3.5% of the american population, and today it is around 2% and in apparently something like seven years, seven years, less than 1%. so you have an aging jewish population that has great ties back to state of israel , and they have, they wield great power in the halls of congress and rightly so. they have the right to do so.
>> and so many neighbors at play when we talk about this, and interestingly enough senator lindsey graham who was on "meet the press" with david gregory over the weekend at the very end of that he said, egypt, watch your step, because we have our eyes on you, and that has to do with the funding and the aid, $2 billion aid they get annually from the united states , and there is also the imf and $4.8 billion sitting in a bank account for them right now potentially and right now the negotiations are going on in cairo and so how important is egypt in the relationship between the gaza strip and israel ?
>> well, not just to the region, with but the reason is that they have a treaty between the two nations, and this treaty for all intents and purposes deals with water. so if the treaty were to fall, that would be a very bad thing, and that would cut off a huge resource for the israeli nation. that would probably lead to a step-up on both sides of the state of israel of war.
>> msnbc contributor jimmy williams and great to see you. thank you, sir.
>> thank you.