Israel’s cost to the U.S. is staggering. Last week I wrote about the insidious Israeli strategy and campaign, which undermines U.S. sovereignty by persuading State legislatures to introduce requirements on all State contracts that no Israeli boycott activity can take place within the terms of those contracts. The fact that most of the contracts are domestic, have nothing to do with Israel, and contain heavy financial penalties for non-compliance, just makes it worse.
The incredible arrogance that conceives of such a campaign is only surpassed by the incredible acquiescence of the State legislatures, and the U.S. State Department, in permitting it to happen.
It prompted me to look into what the U.S. Federal Government gives Israel each year in foreign aid. The answer is equally incredulous. Israel’s cost to the U.S. is staggering.
In 2020, the U.S. gave Israel $3.8bn. This was part of a long-term, annual commitment, made under the Obama administration, which totalled $38bn over the decade 2017-2028. That was a 6% increase in the spending commitments of previous decades. AND, almost all of this aid was for military assistance.
On top of this, last year the U.S. gave $5m toward resettling migrants in Israel. The country has a long-standing policy of accepting Jews from other parts of the world as citizens. Since World War Two, Israel has been the largest overall recipient of U.S. foreign aid: It came second to Afghanistan last year only because of the cost of withdrawing U.S. troops from the country.
Over the years, U.S. aid has helped Israel develop one of the most advanced armed forces in the world. For example, Israel has purchased 50 F-35 combat aircraft, which can be used for missile attacks – 27 of the aircraft have been delivered so far, at a cost of around $100m each. Last year Israel also bought eight KC-46A Boeing ‘Pegasus’ aircraft, for an estimated $2.4bn, which are capable of re-fuelling planes such as the F-35 in mid-air.
Why does the U.S. give Israel so much aid?
The traditional reasons, which are trotted out every time they are questioned, include historic commitments dating back to U.S. support for the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, Israel is seen by the U.S. as a crucial ally in the Middle East – with shared goals and a mutual commitment to democratic values, and U.S. officials and many lawmakers have long considered Israel to be a vital partner in the region.
However, rarely does the real reason surface. East Coast Jewish money exerts huge influence over U.S. politics, and West Coast Jewish media exerts huge influence over what we watch and believe.
Recently, there are signs that this “Pavlov” solidarity of support for Israel is showing signs of cracking. President Biden has faced pressure over support for Israel from some Democrats.
The 2020 Democrat party election platform expressed “ironclad support” for Israel, but some on the left of the party are now questioning the U.S. aid commitment. Senator Bernie Sanders, and other Democrats, have moved to try to halt the planned sale of $735m worth of precision-guided weapons to Israel. Senator Sanders has said the U.S. must take a “hard look” at how the money is spent.
Unfortunately, the forces behind the blind support of “anything Israel wants to do” are so entrenched, so committed, and so financially powerful that any cracks in the commitment will quickly be sealed with money and the playing of the anti-Semitic card.
As I asked in last week’s blog, “who is running the United States of America, and where are U.S. policies made, Washington D.C., or Tel Aviv?