When Israel was first created, its leaders chose to maintain the clear Euro-American, rather than Middle Eastern, orientation that had characterized the Zionist movement even before the state was founded. With statehood, was inevitable that Israel would turn for help and support to the leading western power, the post-World War II United States.
U.S. support for Israel was strong, but remained diplomatically and financially normal until the time of the '67 War. Until that time Israel's main arms supplier was France, not the U.S. But when Israel demonstrated the extraordinary military prowess that destroyed three Arab armies and occupied all or parts of four countries. Washington quickly recognized Israel's potential as a valuable Cold War ally, and the friendly alliance segued into the all-embracing "special relationship" and a strategic alliance that continues today.
Economic assistance, military aid and diplomatic protection all soared. Within U.S. society, support for Israel grew exponentially as existing pro-Israeli organizations (mostly but not entirely based in the U.S. Jewish community) dramatically increased their influence in popular culture, in education, in the media, and among policymakers. Members of Congress who made statements in support of Palestinian rights or voted even-handedly on legislation concerning the Middle East have been regularly punished by the pro-Israel lobby. Congressman Paul Findley and Senator Charles Percy lost their seats during the 1980s, while Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Congressman Hilliard lost in the 2002 primaries after an AIPAC-funded campaign was launched on behalf of their challengers.