In Defense of U.S. Aid to Israel

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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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  • oldtimer

    The US sends aid to just about everyone. If aid to Israel is stopped, than all aid to foreign countries should be stopped. At least, from what I can see, most of the money that goes to Israel comes back when they purchase planes,etc. from US manufacturers.

    • kan-wil-sal

      So why don't you just give them the planes and the guns and keep your money? Just asking.

  • Zinnia2

    I'll stick with what the Word says – those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed – Psalm 124 says it all – but then those who don't believe have to tell me that King David didn't live… but with the left running the show – too much dangerous uncertainty…

    • sod

      Even this so called economist's claim is not checked, we might still saved a lot more from having wars in that area since 1947.

      On the other hand, these so called 'economists' actually helpd the dems to come up with all those sub-prime morgage policies over the years and almost crashed the US economy. And they are still saying the capitalism is responsible?

  • joe

    sadly all this anti-israel drivel is designed to weaken and isolate israel so that it can be eradicated by its enemies, which are not limited to its neighbors….

    even more sadly, american jews play into the hands of these enemies of the children of israel worldwide …

    it is not about israeli policies on the west bank, not about blockades, not about settlements; it is about israel existing as a homeland for the jews or existing at all…

    all that is needed for the creation of a palestinian state is the clear and unequivocal renunciation of the desire the cleanse the region of jews, and allow israel to live in peace…

    take all the weapons from the arabs and there will be peace in the middle east; take all the weapons from the jews and there will be not only no israel — but no jews…

    the world has not been sated of blood lust against the jews…

  • StephenD

    We can save a hell of a lot if we support only those that share our values. There goes all of the M.E. EXCEPT Israel! Count up that money no longer going to enemies of our way of life!
    Viva Israel!

  • steven l

    The Stauffer solution is to expel the Jews from Israel and to transfer them all to the US!

  • muchiboy

    For a change I'll keep my opinion to myself.However,for what it's worth,I have included some CBC podcasts I hope you will find interesting and relevent.For your information,I use Audacity (free to d/l from Audacity site)) to record and save these files for my own use.The podcast for "a lethal obcession" is at the end of the text.Also,good to hear that Turkey finally asked for aid and that Israel responded in kind.No matter our differences,our human commonalities should never be denied.Thank you Israel.muchiboy

    • mrbean

      Let's supply Israel with the large cannisters of napalm for use on the Palestinians. If Israel needs to make lots of crispy critters on the West Bank the Palestinian statehood problem dissappears!

  • Davidka

    While accurate as far as it goes, the article glaringly omits a key fact. The great bulk of U.S. aid to Israel is not a gift; it is for military purchases and requires that the money be spent in the U.S. Thus it indirectly creates a great economic benefit for the U.S. The no-strings aid to Israel is only a fraction of the $2.5 billion to $3 billion a year.

    • Fray222

      The fact is that the U.S. government is simply spending too much money, period. Yes it's true that most aid to Israel gets filtered back into our military industrial complex, and that might be fine if the government could keep a balanced budget. But the fact is that we need to be making some serious budget cuts, and anyone serious about making budget cuts can't ignore government funding for weapons production. Trying to stimulate the economy by spending more and going further into dept is simply no longer an option.

    • Dispozadaburka

      Why did Hilary Clinton give 6 million "with no strings attached to Pakistan?"

      Pledged 11 million to Tunisia?

      Oh, but give support to our ally, Israel,
      enough for Democrats to be reelected.

  • Herman Caintonette

    Levi (from a previous article): "Much, and in many years most, of the money that the USA gives Israel has been used by Israel to purchase goods and services, both military and civilian, from the USA, so that American aid money is recycled back into the American economy. Nearly 90% of US aid to Israel is military, and Israel spends about 75% of that buying U.S. goods."

    According to the CIA Factbook, our total exports to Israel are about $5.9 billion (2009); if the $3 billion in aid is spent as the author warrants, we only export $3 billion in goods. On the other hand, we import nearly $15 billion in goods from Israel. Why we need to subsidize a net exporter is not by any means clear. And why should we pay for universal health-care for all Israelis (money that they would have to spend on their defense, if we did not hand them such generous subsidies), when we don't provide it to our own?

    Moreover, as aid to Egypt and Jordan is substantively paid f/b/o Israel; the true cost to us is closer to twice the $3 billion figure. The net loss to our economy is over $10 billion a year, even if we ignore the indirect cost of the enmity it has engendered in the region — and that ignores the $4 trillion wars we fought, in large part, f/b/o Israel.

    What do we get for our money? Not a lot, unless you listen to Mossad propagandists and Zionists who have a vested interest in keeping the money flowing. It has no obvious strategic value — especially, if we were on better terms with the Arab world — and no real natural resources to speak of. If Israel were to sink into the Med tomorrow, no one here would miss it, economically and strategically speaking.

    Levi (same article): "Haifa is one of the safest and most hospitable ports for the 6th Fleet, a dependable base for pre-positioning emergency military stores for deployment in neighboring countries, and a base for close-by sophisticated medical services."

    Given that we are a member of NATO, and have a number of stable bases in the region (including Crete, a mere 500 nautical miles away), it is hard to see why we even need a port in Israel. And if we were on better terms with the Arabs, our need for forces in the region would be greatly diminished.

    • Western Canadian

      Again, you try to desguise your jew hatred, and fail. You really shouldn’t rely on islamist sources for your motive, and cherry pick figures to back it up.

    • Foolster41

      "Given that we are a member of NATO, and have a number of stable bases in the region (including Crete, a mere 500 nautical miles away), it is hard to see why we even need a port in Israel. And if we were on better terms with the Arabs, our need for forces in the region would be greatly diminished."

      Basically you're saying that by throwing democratic and free Israel under the bus, the Arab Muslim countries who are despots who conterminously repress religious minorities will like us better. You are right, but at what cost? Also, once again your Jew hatred is quite apparent.

      I would have to ask the same question Jesus asked in Matt 16:26.
      "hat good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? "

      Maybe, just maybe it's not about the short term, but protecting the interests of Freedom and Democracy that will help us in the long run that should be our policy.

      Your arguments are akin to saying the US would be more economics advantaged to distance ourselves from Britain and side with Nazi Germany during WWII! Sad to say, you make Chamberlain seem like a Churchill!

  • Flipside

    The Joneses bought a guard dog. He protected the house OK, but ate 90 lbs of dog food a week, chewed up the couch cushions, bit the kids and took big dumps on the rug. Soooooo, they they had him euthanized. That about sums up Israel’s use to America.

    • Herman Caintonette

      Objectively speaking, the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is a parasitic one, with the Israelis feasting at the government trough while providing nothing of intrinsic value to us.

      • Foolster41

        You know, it's statements like this that cause people to call you anti-semetic.
        'Isreal is the one democracy in the reigon with equal rights for Jews and Arabs, and for all religions. Where is that true in the Arab/Muslim Middle East?

        • Flipside

          It’s statements like that that make people call you anti-Hamitic.

          • Western Canadian

            And its statements like that, that are why people never call you. It must be lonely for you .

          • Foolster41

            Anti-Hamitic? As in the descendants of Ham? This is not only slanderous, but completely nonsensical. The fact is you can't answer what I've said, and so this is what you must resort to. You know your and Herman's dislike of Isreal is not founded in any kind of fact, and that there is more freedom in the small country of Isreal than ANYWHERE else in the middle east. in Muslim countries Christians and other religious minorities are being raped, beaten, harassed, kidnapped and murdered (either by mob, or through false charges brought against them, or being run over by tanks for daring to protest against human rights violations.).

            If you mean the lunchmeat, I like ham.

    • UCSPanther

      You again?

      Still reading "The International Jew", are we?

      • Western Canadian

        Of course he is. He finished the protocals years ago, but is filling in time while waiting for the dvd of protocals (complete with sub-titles!!) to arrive from saudi arabia.

        • Flipside

          DVD is a dead medium.

  • Ghostwriter

    I've got a question for those like muchiboy,Flipside,and Herman Caintonette. Have you ever seen any Israelis scream "Death to America" or burn our flag every five minutes like they do in much of the Middle East? Or are you guys a bunch of anti-semites who want Jews to be murdered simply because they're Jews?

    • UCSPanther

      I wager the later is true.

    • Flipside

      There were those five Jews on 9/11 caught trying to blow up the bridge and the Holland Tunnel and pin it on Palestinians. I don’t know what they were saying other than “we’re on your side,” but screw them.

      • Western Canadian

        Details on these alleged events to follow, I trust. AFter all, you are not just another jew hater loser, now are you.

        • Flipside

          Dominick Suter, Paul and Sivan Kurzberg, Urban Moving Systems. Look them up yourself.

  • Jacob

    Israel is not worth one more American drop of blood or one more dollar.

    America for Americans. Dual citizens with dual loyalties must go.

  • Ghostwriter

    Ladies and gentleman,allow me to introduce the anti-semitic clown Jacob! Along with his friends,Herman Caintonette,muchiboy,and the ever-odious Flipside! They will amuse and disgust you with their conspiracy theories,appalling anti-Jewish drivel,and all-around idiocy! Together,they are the Frontpage Magazine Clowns!!!!

    • Flipside

      I thought the columnists were.

      • Ghostwriter

        Actually,I was aiming that little barb at you,because of you and your pals anti-Jewish garbage. Despite what you say,you don't really care about Jews. You blame them for all of the world's problems and you constantly berate them for wanting to exist on this planet. You and your friends simply want them dead. You and your pals are disgusting,Flipside. You deserve whatever insults come your way.

  • Honest Abe

    You've got to love it. Israel has the best and strongest PR defense on the planet. Tie your political agenda to a religion, then slam anyone that questions your policies by calling you a bigot. I didn't see anyone here lambasting people of Jewish faith or their religion, This is about Israel and US policy, not about a race, creed or religion.

  • Queen Esther

    Thank you. I am posting the link to this article on our tea party facebook page where we have Ron Paul supporters who are claiming we should not aid Israel. Todah Rabah again!!!