While scholars have studied Ronald Reagan’s relationship with Israel from a diplomatic, strategic, or political lobbying perspective, few have examined this relationship rhetorically. I argue that despite Reagan’s private disagreements with Israel, his public rhetoric consistently depicted Israel within the mythic terms of the Cold War as a heroic democracy like the United States. Drawing on discourses of American exceptionalism, terrorism, and Holocaust remembrance, Reagan’s rhetoric constrained his diplomatic ability to deal with Israeli aggression and continues to shape American presidential discourse.

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