Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's All About Money

Does Washington care as much for American citizens as it does for Israeli citizens? If American's Knew, a Washington, D.C. based research organization, explains in an old article by former U.S. foreign service officer, Richard Curtiss, "America's $84.8 billion in aid to Israel from fiscal years 1949 to 1998 along with the interest the U.S. paid to 'borrow' this money, has cost U.S. tax payers, $134.8 billion, 'not' adjusted for inflation." While USAID may give similar approximations of gifts to Israel to other countries, as well, there are several difference. USAID is one source of money for Israel, but there is also military aid to Israel (For FY2009, our President is asking for a 9% increase requesting $2.55 billion in military aid alone. This is based on a ten-year agreement which will eventually total $30 billion, just in military aid, by FY2018.) While the U.S. gives an equivalent amount to Egypt (with strings attached that do not apply when we fund Israel) our gift must serve 65 million Egyptian citizens while our allotment to Israel serves only 5.8 million people. That's the discrepancy! Furthermore, if the war between Israel and its neighbors were not ongoing, we would not have to finance (bribe) Egypt as we do to keep them from upsetting their neighbor, Israel. Do we ask the same of Israel? What’s more, the money we give to Israel alone is more foreign aid than we give to all of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, all of the countries of Latin America and all of the countries of the Caribbean combined - a total population of 1,054,000,000 people vs. 5.8 million people in the tiny state of Israel, not counting the money we could very use here at home for our own people.

Then, there is the matter of loan guarantees. This is another source of revenue Israel collects from the United States. These "loans" given, with under the table toe tapping, are often forgiven before Israel is required to repay them. Israel brags that they never default on a loan payment; if you don't have to give the money back, what does default have to do with it? Curtiss explains, "By disguising grants as loans, our Congress exempts Israel from oversight that normally accompany grants (So what if Israelis starve the Gazans or make war on Lebanon, while America takes the blame). For those of us who live in America, this arrogance of power is not good, but worse, perhaps, is that fact that Israel never returns to the U.S. Treasury, money owed us.

Why does this matter? For me, who believes in the goodness of the Jewish people as much as anyone, but not in the Zionist power plan for themselves and my own country, it's the money exchanges described above that makes war in the Middle East inevitable. This is not good for America, let alone for Israel or the Arab World, and it certainly won't stop war now or ever. It's time for Israel to get along with her neighbors and to put America first. You cannot get along and have peace without justice. You just cannot. If my taxes are making it possible for the killing, the occupations and the plans for more and more war suggested by the need to construct the largest US embassy in the world-in Iraq-I (we) ought to be able to criticize Israel and ourselves as we would any issue that does not score with America's philosophical commitment to justice, democracy and life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all citizens regardless of faith, creed or race. The information about America's support of Israel is all over the Internet, most of it straightforward; some not; if you read more than one article on the subject, you’ll be able to decipher what's true and what isn't. Those of us who do not want our children to live in a world at war, it's time to account for the use of our resources and our principles.

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