In Defense of U.S. Aid to Israel

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More detailed rebuttals of these “kitchen sink” arguments can be found here, here, and here; but the critique summarized above demonstrates the sheer irrationality and galactic exaggerations of the “kitchen sink” approach to assessing US aid to Israel.

The most comprehensive condemnation of the US government’s support for Israel comes from the article and book by Stephen M. Walt and John J. Mearsheimer, who insist that “Since the October War in 1973, Washington has provided Israel with a level of support which “dwarfs that given to any other state. It has been the largest annual recipient of direct economic and military assistance since 1976, and is the largest recipient in total since World War Two, to the tune of well over $140 billion.”

A long list of distinguished scholars, commentators, journalists, congressmen and government representatives have discredited Walt and Mearsheimer, highlighting their egregiously inflated numbers, incorrect history, frequent decontextualization of quotes and facts, and misrepresentation of the underlying dynamics of the Arab-Israel conflict.  Moreover, Walt and Mearsheimer stooped to such unprofessional depths as to draw some of their “facts” from neo-Nazi and other anti-Israel hate websites. Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government distanced itself from the paper, and insisted that its logo be removed from all publications of the article, despite the fact that Steven Walt is a professor there.  Consensus among critics is that the paper utterly fails to meet academic standards and promotes anti-Semitic myths.

It is correct to state that Israel was for many years after 1973 the largest individual recipient of direct U.S. aid.  But for many of those years Egypt came in as a very close second; and after the onset of US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American-supported governments of these two countries each received tens of billions more annual aid than Israel.  Iraq alone has received in excess of $58 billion since 2003 for reconstruction and “state building.” So if there is a risk of American largesse “bankrupting” the USA, why pick on Israel?

US military support worldwide totaled 630 billion in 2008, approached 800 billion in 2009, and continues to rise.  Let’s keep in mind that these hundreds of billions spent on maintaining military bases and deploying troops in Europe and the Far East are US aid to the countries that host our bases.  Were the USA to withraw these military deployments, the host countries would need to shoulder more of the burden for their own defense.  The billions that the US spends on our military presence in the world free those same billions in the host countries’ economies for their own domestic use.

How then can anyone argue that US aid to Israel “dwarfs” American aid to other countries when the USA spends from three to five times that amount in Iraq, and when US aid annually to Israel is less than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of American total military and other aid world-wide?  Why do acclaimed scholars and other widely respected professionals need to “throw in the kitchen sink?”   Why do they need to make spurious and demonstrably false claims about the amount of American aid?  They lie because the truth does not support their agenda.

Walt and Mearsheimer are explicit about their agenda in their paper and their book:  they seek to demonstrate that the American government is in the grip of a Zionist conspiracy, the head of which is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and evidence for which is the enormous amount of US aid to Israel; hence their need to insist that US aid to Israel dwarfs the aid given to any other state.  Since the real numbers are too small to support such an extreme proposition, Walt and Mearsheimer must resort to culling their “facts” from Neo-Nazi Jew-hatred websites.  Since the benefits to the USA are so great that the actual aid dollars are more than justified, then these erstwhile scholars and others of their ilk must fabricate astronomic numbers, and minimize or deny the benefits of this aid to the USA.

The purpose of all of these “kitchen sink” exercises is obvious: discredit Israel and Israel’s supporters by making Israel look like a liability rather than an asset and thus justify anti-Israel animus, legitimize hatred of Israel, and influence governments and individuals to reduce or eliminate support for Israel. This type of mendacity is akin to Holocaust denial and Israel denial.  All three turn history upside down, distort reality, and deny the patently undeniable with palpable lies and transparent fabrications.  The ultimate goal of all three is support for those forces seeking Israel’s destruction.

In sharing this ultimate goal with Hamas, Hezbollah, a dozen other genocidal Muslim terrorist organizations, and Iran, the purveyors of the “kitchen sink” assessment of US aid to Israel have joined the ranks of the 21st century’s version of Hitler’s little helpers.

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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

    http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2011/10/24/zioni
    http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2011/10/25/zioni
    http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2011/04/07/a-let

    • 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,
      gasp.
      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.

    • http://www.dikaesha.pbwiki.com 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!

  • http://www.contextflexed.com 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.

      • http://www.dikaesha.pbwiki.com 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?

        • http://www.contextflexed.com 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 .

          • http://www.dikaesha.pbwiki.com 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.

        • http://www.contextflexed.com 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.

    • http://www.contextflexed.com 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.

        • http://www.contextflexed.com 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!!!!

    • http://www.contextflexed.com 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!!!