An edited version of this article by Jonathan Cook, with pictures, captions and comments by Lasha Darkmoon.
"Once we squeeze all we can out of the United States, it can dry up and blow away." - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 2002. (Widely reported, see here)
It is possibly the greatest of American political myths.
President Barack Obama has claimed that the United States enjoys a special bond with Israel unlike its relations with any other country. He has called the friendship "unshakeable". His Republican rival, Mitt Romney, has gone further, arguing that there is not "an inch of difference between ourselves and our ally Israel".
While such pronouncements form the basis of an apparent Washington consensus, the reality is that the cherished friendship is no more than a fairy tale.
Politicians may prefer to express undying love for Israel, and hand over billions of dollars annually in aid, but the US security establishment has - at least, in private - always regarded Israel as an unfaithful partner.
The distrust has been particularly hard to hide in relation to Iran. Israel has been putting relentless pressure on Washington, apparently in the hope of manoeuvring it into supporting or joining an attack on Tehran to stop what Israel claims is an Iranian effort to build a nuclear bomb concealed beneath its civilian energy programme.
While coverage has focused on the personal animosity between Obama and the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the truth is that US officials generally are deeply at odds with Israel on this issue.
The conflict burst into the open this month with reports that the Pentagon had scaled back next month's joint military exercise, Austere Challenge, with the Israeli military that had been billed as the largest and most significant in the two countries' history.