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As demonstrated in the present writer’s two previous articles (here and here) regarding US aid to Israel, the USA, in return for its aid and political support, receives from Israel very profitable financial and political reciprocity and significant benefits in the areas of military intelligence, ordnance and operations. On the other hand, America’s aid to Israel’s enemies actually supports America’s enemies, underwrites in part their terrorist actions against our soldiers and civilians, funds the very countries that openly seek our destruction, and pays the salaries of Arab terrorist mass murderers.
Why then do some scholars, journalists and political commentators devote so much time and energy to arguing that American aid to Israel is excessive, a waste of the American taxpayers’ money, and a political liability to the USA?
Take for example, one among many, the Washington D.C. economist Thomas Stauffer who warned us in 2002 that Israel is bankrupting America, having received more than $1.6 trillion in foreign aid since 1973. Stauffer upped the ante a year later with the assertion in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA) that the cost to the US taxpayer of our government’s support of Israel is actually $3 trillion!
The real numbers are actually rather easy to ascertain. The Congressional Research Service provides annual reports for Congress on a wide variety of issues, among them the total cost of American aid to Israel. Their analysts do not seem to be especially pro- or anti-Israel. The most recent report, for 2010, indicates that the total US aid to Israel for military, economic and immigrant resettlement costs from 1949 to 2010 was $109 billion dollars or, on average, less than $2 billion per year. As is apparent from the 2010 report, US aid to Israel was zero or negligible until 1967 (after the 6-Day War), and did not reach the current annual sums of $2.5 billion to $3 billion or more until 1997 (following the Oslo Accords). $3 billion per year is not chump change; but it is hardy an amount that would “bankrupt” the USA, and it is not much more than America’s annual aid to Egypt.
Moreover, as explained in the present writer’s two previous articles, American support for Israel is a very profitable investment for the USA rather than a gift to Israel.
Compare $109 billion to Stauffer’s $3 trillion! Recall that a million million, or one thousand billion, equals one trillion. Stauffer has inflated his numbers by a factor of 30!
How does he come up with his trillions? — by throwing in the proverbial “kitchen sink.”
Stauffer reaches his enormous sums by adding to the bona fide aid his utterly irrational but self-serving assertion that Israel is to blame for post-1973 rises in oil prices and thus bears the onus of culpability for America’s energy costs after the 1973 Yom Kippur war and the 1974 Arab oil embargo. He never mentions that this embargo was imposed by our so-called ally Saudi Arabia, nor does he venture to suggest what Israel should have done when Egypt and Syria invaded — not defend itself? In which case there would have been a very short Yom Kippur war and no oil embargo, but also no Israel?
He throws in as well the cost of American trade restrictions on Libya, Iraq and Iran; but never explains how these restrictions, a function of decisions made by our President and Congress, are Israel’s fault. He even decries American Jews’ charitable gifts to Israel and to pro-Israel charities in the USA – after all, if that money did not go to Israel it would instead benefit the US economy. One cannot but wonder whether he has ever expressed similar animus toward American citizens of the Catholic faith contributing to the Vatican.
Perhaps most confusing, he even lumps into his astronomic estimate the aid that the USA has given to Egypt (c. $117 billion) and to Jordan (c. $22 billion) in return for peace treaties with Israel. Aside from the obvious fact that this USA money went to Egypt and Jordan but not to Israel, it is also quite rational to suggest that our government wisely saw these treaties as foundation blocks of peace in the Middle East, and therefore well worth the investment. In short, Stauffer pulls into his calculus anything and everything that he can possibly think of to inflate the numbers. Contrary to the popular adage, he does not throw in everything but the kitchen sink, he tosses that in too.
Essays of a similar ilk, by Stephen Zunes, Scott McConnel, and various writers for the transparently anti-Israel Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA), have employed similar mendacious and misleading tactics to exponentially inflate the cost of American support for Israel and condemn the US-Israel special relationship as a liability for the USA.
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