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May 18, 2021

Military aid to Israel

May 18, 2021

The Israelis are brutalizing protesters and bombing Gaza; the Hamas government of Gaza is firing rockets into Israel. As usual, Israel is deploying disproportionately more violence: 188 Gazans and 10 Israelis have died so far.

The United States government sometimes pretends to be an ‘honest broker’ in the Middle East crisis. Truth is, we have our fat thumbs on the scale and everyone knows it. The abyss between our yay-peace-and-democracy rhetoric and the reality of our foreign policy is a steaming pile of hypocrisy.

The US turns a blind eye to Israeli violence and theft of Arab land, rarely lifting a finger to move toward a two-state solution while loudly decrying Arab violence against Israelis. The US sends $4 billion a year to Israel – enough to give free healthcare to 1.4 million Americans if we wanted to. Joe Biden recently restored $235 million in assistance to the Palestinian Authority that had been cut off by Trump – less than one-sixteenth of the package to Israel.

When the Israeli Air Force bombs apartment buildings full of civilians in densely-populated Gaza City, Palestinians get blown to bits using guided bombs and missiles fired from F-16s and F-35s made in Texas and California. The IDF targets street demonstrators in the West Bank with tear gas canisters and stun grenades fired from launchers manufactured by a company based in Pennsylvania.

Israel’s mayhem is brought to you by America. Few Americans are aware of that. But Palestinians and Muslims around the world are.

Even if you support the existence of the Jewish state, and even if you think the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel goes too far, you should be able to view ending US military aid to Israel (without boycotts or other sanctions) as a moral imperative. It would also be a smart foreign policy choice that would reduce global anti-Americanism as well as the chances of a future 9/11-type terrorist attack.

Contrary to Likud propaganda, cutting off military assistance would not create an imminent existential threat. Between the $85 billion of US aid to Israel since 1949, its robust economy and closer ties to many of its Arab neighbors, there is little danger that this tiny, ferocious country would get pushed into the sea.

And if that were to change, we could reevaluate the situation and resume funding – assuming Israel decided to try to make peace and were to cooperate with the establishment of a free and independent Palestine.

It is hardly surprising that Israel’s right-wing government cashes the blank check to do whatever the hell they feel like that we send them every year. The only way we can hold Israel accountable for repeated escalations, land grabs and ongoing brutality is to stop sending the gravy train.

Will cutting off the cash change their behavior? Maybe. Whatever Israel decides to do on its own, however, it will do without our blessing and without our funding.

Often the best thing to do is nothing at all.

Excerpted: ‘End Military Aid to Israel’

Commondreams.org