There is no country in the world that receives more military aid from the United States every year than Israel. Citing “rising defense challenges,” over four-fifths of the U.S. Senate recently urged President Barack Obama to increase Israel’s already $3 billion annual defense aid package to $4 billion.
Responding to this move in his latest Haaretz opinion piece, the noted Israeli journalist, Gideon Levy, criticized the senators leading this call as “ignoramuses” and referred to their aid as “blood money.” As Levy argues, below, U.S. aid will benefit neither Israel, which is already one of the most heavily-armed countries in the world, nor the United States, which should be spending on pressing domestic matters like health care reform and climate change. An increased defense budget will only further entrench Israel’s occupation of Palestine and, in particular intensify its iron-grip over the Gaza Strip.
But, as long as the U.S. Senate continues to buy the false premise that Israel faces unprecedented existential threats in the region, annual aid will likely continue to increase:
The 83 U.S. senators who urged the president to increase military assistance to Israel are 83 ignoramuses and their letter is a disgrace. Israel of all countries? Military assistance of all needs?
Increasing military aid won’t add one iota of security to Israel, which is armed to the teeth. It will harm Israel. Those 83 out of 100 senators base their extraordinary demand on “Israel’s dramatically rising defense challenges.”
What are they talking about? What “rising challenges”? The rise in the use of kitchen knives as a deal-breaking weapon in the Middle East? The challenge for one of the world’s strongest armies to survive against young girls brandishing scissors? Hamas’ tunnels in the sand? Hezbollah, which is bleeding in Syria? Iran, which has taken a new path?
It’s time they expanded their narrow view and reduced the enormous aid they shower on Israel’s arms industry – one of the world’s largest weapons exporters – and its army.
The United States is allowed, of course, to waste its money as it sees fit. But one may ask, senators, if it makes sense to invest more fantastic sums to arm a military power when tens of millions of Americans still have no health insurance and your senate is tightening its purse strings despite the challenges of climate change.
A world power is arming a regional power as part of a corrupt, rotten deal. Your money, senators, is largely being spent on maintaining a brutal, illegal occupation that your country claims to oppose – but finances.
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