Will Budget ‘Cuts’ Impact US Aid to Israel? Not hardly

My Catbird Seat April 2, 2013 6
Will Budget ‘Cuts’ Impact US Aid to Israel?  Not hardly

As Tim Carney points out, the corporate bunch affectionately known as the Military-Industrial Complex have a big stake in all this: two-thirds of the $3.1 billion in annual aid to Israel must be spent in the United States. US arms manufacturers reap the profits, and the Israelis get free stuff. Yet Carney is wrong about whose lobbying efforts make the difference in this case: I don’t think Lockheed-Martin could mobilize thousands of people to descend on Capitol Hill the way AIPAC, or Christians United for Israel, can.

 

by Justin Raimondo

Antiwar

Given the kind of society we have become – a country of whining spoiled brats who have been living above our means for years – every special interest group is up in arms over the alleged tragedy known as Sequestration. While these automatic across-the-board spending cuts are portrayed as nothing less than draconian by various lobbyists and their congressional sock puppets, in reality these are not even real cuts as you and I understand them, but merely cuts in projected spending increases. Like the temperature in Hell, the imperative in Washington is that spending must always increase: “austerity” means the tempo has momentarily slackened.

From military contractors to the academic establishment, all the lobbyists are crying bloody murder: we are told air traffic controllers will be taken off duty, and hospitals are warning of cuts to vital services. Some of these cuts will hit hardest those who can afford it least: the very poorest of the poor. In this atmosphere, one would think a foreign lobby would be more discreet about calling for an exemption in the foreign aid category. However, in the case of AIPAC, the biggest pro-Israel lobby in Washington, subtlety is not at the top of their agenda.

At the beginning of this month, AIPAC’s annual conference featured a Capitol Hill blitz, in which thousands of pro-Israel activists descended on Washington to pressure Congress to exempt Israel from the cuts. This was coupled with a demand that Congress vote to designate the Jewish state a “major strategic ally,” a characterization meant to divorce aid to Israel from the general foreign aid budget and put it in a special category of its own. After all, that’s what the “special relationship” is all about – right?

As Tim Carney points out, the corporate bunch affectionately known as the Military-Industrial Complex have a big stake in all this: two-thirds of the $3.1 billion in annual aid to Israel must be spent in the United States. US arms manufacturers reap the profits, and the Israelis get free stuff. Yet Carney is wrong about whose lobbying efforts make the difference in this case: I don’t think Lockheed-Martin could mobilize thousands of people to descend on Capitol Hill the way AIPAC, or Christians United for Israel, can.

According to Israel Hayom, the most widely read Israeli newspaper, Tel Aviv has already been granted special treatment: instead of the expected 8 percent across the board cut all other federal programs will suffer under sequestration, the Israelis were recently assured by the White House that their share will amount to only 5 percent.

Yet these “cuts” have already been circumvented by the President himself, who, on his trip to Israel, presented Netanyahu will a new ten-year aid “package” totaling some $40 billion – a $10 billion increase over the last such agreement. And since our special alliance with Israel is “eternal,” as the President rhapsodized, this amount will presumably increase unto eternity. Or until the American people put a stop to it – whichever comes first.

It isn’t as if Israel is a poor, struggling, Third World country: its GDP puts it in the top forty richest countries on the world. Israeli propagandists are always boasting about how they’ve made the desert bloom: the endless parading of Israel’s technical achievements, particularly in the booming high tech sector, is a major hasbara theme. Yet somehow a minuscule “cut” in aid – in reality, a cut in the rate of increase – is going to bring about the downfall of the Jewish state? The days when the Israeli settler colony depended on outside assistance for its very survival are well over.

At a time when domestic programs are on the chopping block, why should the Israelis expect – nay, demand – an exemption? Why can’t they suffer the sequestration in silence, and be happy it wasn’t worse for them?

Apparently some in the pro-Israel community have been thinking the same heretical thought, because AIPAC’s aggressive “Israel first” strategy reportedly caused a bit of a stir, prompting fears of a backlash from some. As the Forward reports:

“J Street, the dovish pro-Israel group, immediately understood the implications of AIPAC’s rhetorical shift after getting word of the pitch made by AIPAC members on Capitol Hill. Dylan Williams, J Street’s director of government affairs, told the Forward that ‘it seems a little tone deaf. We have a unique public perception issue.’ He added that congressional aides had told him they were ‘surprised that some groups – that people from AIPAC – were asking for this.’”

Seen in the larger context of the administration’s ongoing feud with Tel Aviv – from Netanyahu’s informal endorsement of Mitt Romney to the fight over Chuck Hagel – AIPAC’s chutzpah shouldn’t be at all surprising. In the world of Washington lobbyists, it’s all about power – having it, keeping it, and using it. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

It is vitally necessary for the Israel Lobby to tamp down dangerous talk that they’re losing it, because fear is their greatest weapon. The fear they strike in the hearts of politicians who don’t want to wind up like many of the other legislators who thought they could escape the Lobby’s wrath – and soon learned otherwise. It’s much easier to give in to the Lobby’s demands than go the way of Senators Chuck Percy, William Fulbright, and Roger Jepsen, all three felled by Lobby-coordinated campaigns. Congressmen Paul Findley, Earl F. Hilliard, and Pete McCloskey are among the scalps the Lobby can rightfully claim. And while their smear campaign against Hagel didn’t succeed in stopping his confirmation as Secretary of Defense, it was a useful exercise in that it serves as a warning to others who might be thinking of straying off the reservation: Don’t go there!

J Street issued a statement soon after AIPAC’s assault on Capitol Hill, denouncing any effort to separate out aid to Israel from the requirements of sequestration as appearing to put Israel’s demands “above those of the millions of ordinary Americans who are being hurt, or the vital domestic programs that are taking a hit.” While this may be true, J Street is rather missing the point. To wrest an exemption granted to no others is precisely the demonstrative way in which AIPAC needs to flex its lobbying muscles. Isn’t this what the “special relationship” is all about? As Ayn Rand put it, “Love is exception-making,” and the romantic relationship between the US and Israel, whatever its ups and downs, continues unabated in Washington.

Out in the sticks, however – i.e. outside the Beltway – this exception-making for Israel is not all that popular, as J Street rightly worries. The problem, however, is that the American people have very little to say about it – and don’t know about it, in any case. As long as the political class lives in fear of the Lobby, our annual tribute to Israel will be paid in full – yes, even before we feed our own people. Because that’s what love is all about.

You can buy my biography of the great libertarian thinker, An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), here.


Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (ISI, 2008), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is a contributing editor for The American Conservative, a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute, and an adjunct scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

He writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.

Read more by Justin Raimondo

6 Comments »

  1. Rexw April 3, 2013 at 9:48 am - Reply

    There is little doubt, based on the writings of Mr. Raimondo today that the largesse offered to Israel will continue. The beneficiaries as he stated will be those US industries that have the most to gain. The arms manufacturers, thick on the ground, all holding out their plates for ‘more of the same, please’ while Israel, in its typical grasping fashion, the nature of the beast, states unashamedly, “please sir, can I have (I want) some more”?
     
    My apologies to Charles Dickens. However, one could be excused for making the comparison to the conditions that existed in the United Kingdom in the 19th Century, the days of Oliver Twist, to the (one assumes) obviously sad and pathetic plight of the Israeli citizen, poor, living in absolute poverty and fighting for every crust of bread, in desperate need.
    Dickens , who as we all know,  had extensive knowledge of London street life and child exploitation explained that  "it unfortunately was true, of the time to which the story refers, that that class of criminal almost invariably was a Jew". These days, those same criminals are called Zionists,  in this case depriving the deserving poor of one country (America) for the military capability of another(Israel).
    The exchanging of food  for white phosphorous.
     
     Something wrong with those priorities
     
    Why is it then that the poor and homeless in the US, numbered in the millions, having at some stage paid the taxes demanded of them being  a future entitlement for some form of support in bad times, why is it that they do without while the (one assumes again) Israeli poor and homeless, if there is such a thing, are provided for by another country that has been shown time and again  not to have the will to look after their own, first.
    Where are the CUFP, Christians United for the Poor?
     
    Christians? Christian values as represented by CUFI? They are something of a joke.
     
    If I was an unemployed American taxpayer/citizen  I would resent the ‘takers in Israel’, because that is what they are, using my money to expand their military capability while I use my best endeavours to find work and to provide for my family in my own country. My own country. What is Israel to me and might I say to the 95% of my country, men and women who lose out, year after year because of  my local corrupt  politician……..I helped to elect?
     
    But I would resent even more those Christian Zionists who have turned their back on me and instead support a hated, arrogant country whose main role in life appears to be to have the US at their beck and call, to exploit everything that they can exploit, having done so for decades. Their main role in life appears to be the expansion of their middle eastern country, “Eretz Israel” and the elimination of a whole race of people called Palestinians over whom they use their ‘jackbooted’ occupation forces, all the time ignoring 66 UN Resolutions, year after year.
     
    The responsibility for this rests with the same USA that now supports the military ambitions of the same occupier and who is prepared to knuckle under to the extremist lobbies such as CUFI and  AIPAC to give preference to the likes of Israel over the needs of their own friends and neighbours, in the case of the CUFI and the subservient political goyems, in the case of AIPAC.
     
    What has the US become?
     
    Far better for the US to feed and support the poor, educate and train their own people and then allocate a small percentage of the so-called Israeli ‘aid’ money, currently used to kill off a nation of Palestinian people, to  establish  a Commission for the Investigation of un-American Activities and then, under the spotlight, see how these foreign-controlled  groups would be regarded by the real  people of the USA.
     
    These groups  are corrupt and deceitful  making them both decidedly un-American in every way possible.

  2. rosemerry April 3, 2013 at 6:57 pm - Reply

     Whoever did the headline, please!!! "Not hardly" is NOT English.
    "Hardly" is the correct expression. It is a bit like "could care less" when what is meant is "couldn't care less".
    I also wonder why Americans use  the adjective "absent" as a conjunction instead of "without".  Just asking!

    • Debbie
      Debbie April 3, 2013 at 8:06 pm - Reply

      I agree. Took me some time to get my head around it too. The headline is the author’s.  Check :  http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2013/03/28/will-budget-cuts-impact-us-aid-to-israel/

       

    • Matthew/Boston May 29, 2013 at 10:41 am - Reply

      "Could care less" is a eternal pet peeve of mine. I almost always politely correct those who make the remark. And I've heard some bright people making the mistake.
      I suspect Justin may have been simply using the language in the form of a colloquialism.

  3. Matthew/Boston May 29, 2013 at 11:43 am - Reply

    I'm very outgoing when I choose to be and have no trouble striking-up a conversation with strangers when acceptable.

     

    The Middle East, and what is happening there, and what could happen, weighs heavy on my mind. I often respectfully test someone's basic knowledge regarding the Middle East to get a conversation rolling. Sad to say, I don't recall any American who knew of AIPAC. (I'm sure the Jews like it this way.) The most powerful lobby in Washington, and one that represents a foreign power, and one that I consider subversive and un-American, and even destructive.

     

    After speaking with me, they know enough about AIPAC to know it is not good for America. One person at a time. It's not much, but hopefully word will spread, as it should. With respect to AIPAC not keeping a lower profile, all I can say is no one beats the Jews for arrogance. No one. The more power and control they accumulate, the less discreet they are. The two go hand-in-hand with Jewish power in America. 13,000 AIPAC lobbyists swarmed Capitol Hill to stop sequestration cuts from affecting aid to Israel. 13,000 divided by 535 equals 24.

     

    The lobby probably talks amongst themselves about wearing down the Representatives. The sheer number alone must certainly have an intimidating effect. And Obama's use of the adjective, "eternal" gives me a sour stomach. The use of that word gives almost a religious connotation, and I see it as hopelessly submissive.

     

    Concerned Americans can try to spread the word, especially by way of public forums (the internet), warning others about the threat to their own welfare and the welfare of their country posed by the Israel lobby, particularly AIPAC. Those willing to post warnings should include the toll-free number of 800-839-5276, which rings the Capitol Hill switchboard. Thank you Justin Raimondo (and all the other writers), and MCS!

  4. Matthew/Boston May 29, 2013 at 11:50 am - Reply

    We have a new Senator in Massachusetts. Her name is Elizabeth Warren. She appeared to be a champion for the little guy – the average American. She recently buckled under AIPAC pressure and has co-sponsred H.R. 65.

     

    That makes about 80 Senators who have co-sponsored a Resolution that brings us all a little closer to World War III. No mention of this Resolution on her web site. I had a little hope for her, but she turned out to be just one more sell-out to AIPAC.

Leave A Response »

Copy this code

and paste it here *