Did you know that the U.S. government has done something odd with your tax dollars? The ones you get so furious and indignant about when they’re used to feed anybody who’s hungry? It has given over 280 billion of those dollars to the government of Israel (not counting classified hush-hush super-secret amounts).
Israel is not a poor country. It is certainly not the poorest in the world. Why is it the top recipient of “aid.”
It isn’t. Its military is. Most of those billions of dollars are for weapons, and most of those weapons have to be bought from U.S. weapons dealers — you know, the ones crammed into close quarters risking the spread of a deadly disease because their jobs have been deemed “essential.”
Economists tell us that military spending reduces jobs, that you get more jobs by never taxing the money, or by taxing it and spending it on anything else. That has to be even more strongly true when funneling the money through a foreign military. So, this scheme is the opposite of a domestic jobs program. It also has some surprising corrupting influences on U.S. state governments, which themselves pile more billions onto the mountain of free loot for the Israeli military.
A new book by Grant Smith called “The Israel Lobby Enters State Government: Rise of The Virginia Israel Advisory Board,” recounts how the state of Virginia has created a state agency called the Virginia Israel Advisory Board which uses state funds to launch Israeli companies in Virginia at the expense of Virginia companies in Virginia, while boosting Israeli imports to Virginia, and — last but not least — enriching its members with state funds. Oh, and also “attempting to insert Israeli government propaganda into the curriculum in the K-12 system” of Virginia schools at public expense.
It’s not all weapons. Have you ever bought Sabra hummus? You can’t answer no if you’ve paid taxes in Virginia.
Well, one might ask, (as is perhaps implicitly asked by the silence of Virginia media outlets) what’s so wrong in a completely corrupt political ecosystem with spreading a bit of the corruption to Israel as a sort of 51st state? After all, there was a Holocaust 75 years ago, and there were fascists chanting about Jews in Charlottesville 3 years ago. Surely worrying about corruption only when Israel gets in on it is Antisemitic just as worrying about Trump’s worldwide corruption only when Russians are involved is Russophobic.
I have 10 responses to that.
1) I worry about all corruption everywhere, oppose giving free weapons to any country on earth, and just wrote a book highlighting 20 of the worst governments armed and trained by the U.S. military. Israel wasn’t in that list by virtue of not technically being a dictatorship. No other nation is in this list because no other nation gets the deal from the U.S. and Virginia that Israel does.
2) Some of the motivations for arming Israel with money that’s desperately required for human and environmental needs are a lot crazier than misguided anti-Antisemitism. They involve Islamophobia, militaristic madness, and magical schemes to bring back Jesus at the expense of destroying the world — including destroying you, dear reader.
3) As Grant Smith points out, “Under the Symington and Glenn amendments now incorporated into the Arms Export Control Act, no U.S. president knowing about Israel’s nukes is supposed to approve aid transfers, absent specifically issued waivers. Rather than comply with the law, presidents pretend they don’t know Israel has nukes and issue agency wide gag orders threatening any government employee who talks about it.”
4) Israel uses its weapons for horrific wars against the trapped and brutalized people of illegally occupied territories.
5) Israel uses its weapons to enforce a vicious Apartheid state.
6) Israel uses its weapons to train U.S. police departments in how to treat the U.S. public as a wartime enemy.
7) Israel pushes the United States toward illegal, murderous, catastrophic wars and programs of sanctions.
8) The United States is already too big and doesn’t need another state from thousands of miles away that gets the privileges without the responsibilities of inclusion in the federal system.
9) The United States has colonies in the Caribbean and the Pacific and Washington D.C. that should be given priority as 51st state.
10) Global unity and survival come through cooperation among all nations, not the imperial expansion of one.