Sunday, August 21, 2011

Israel and the Annual $3 Billion…

Gilad Shalit on Hamas poster, Nablus

Image via Wikipedia

My pro-Israel bonafides are pretty well established I believe, so there shouldn’t be a doubt as to where this idea is coming from.

It’s not even a suggestion, more just a wonder…

One of the almost sacrosanct cornerstone tenets of the pro-Israel audience (not saying ‘lobby,’ since that is a loaded term) in America is annual support for $3 billion dollars in aid to Israel.

If I’m not mistaken about 60% is in the form of military and 40% is economic. The military is to help maintain Israel’s “qualitative edge” over its hostile neighbors.

Now, let me be clear.

I don’t believe in the “peace process” as it currently stands. I don’t believe that Israelis have a true peace partner who wants to live side by side with them. I believe that both Hamas (obvious) and Fatah (less obvious) have one goal…the destruction of the entire state of Israel.

I think the ‘67 lines are a death trap.

In short, I have no illusions about the true aim of most of the Arab world and certainly not Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, and Fatah…and those are the ones that are just at the top of the list.

However, that being said, I’m wondering if it’s time for Israel to forego the annual aid.

Sure, it’s easy for me to say to Israel, “give up $3 billion in aid,” but I think a few things are important to consider potentially.

  • When the aid began, Israel was a far poorer country. Now, it’s got a standard of living higher than Spain…or along those lines.
  • Let’s admit it, $3bn isn’t what it used to be
  • Given the state of the US economy, I think it could be a PR win to say “you know what…keep the money, use it at home.”
  • It removes a big source of anti-Israel rhetoric (not that it won’t be replaced by something else, but hey…at least it won’t be “US $ are being used to ‘kill innocent Palestinians.’”)  That’s BS, of course, but may as well let the haters find some other anti-Israel ammunition that may not resonate as much!
  • It’s probably a good thing for Israel to “fly the nest.” The country has many challenges, for sure, but anyone who has been there will tell you…it’s 1st world all the way.

Again, I don’t know if this is the right approach or not.

There’s no doubt that Israel is a strategic ally to the US and the only democracy in the Middle East. Heck, it’s the country in the world with the only and largest registry of Arab bone marrow donors and it’s the only country in the Middle East where where Arab women can vote. 

There’s no doubt that it is in the US’ interests to support Israel fully…I just wonder if, given everything else, cash is the best way to do that now?

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