A Dishonest Broker


Why are we arming Israel to the teeth?

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.

We Americans have funny notions about foreign aid. Recent polls show that, on average, we believe 28 percent of the federal budget is eaten up by it, and that, in a time of austerity, this gigantic bite of the budget should be cut back to 10 percent. In actual fact, barely 1 percent of the federal budget goes to foreign aid of any kind.

In this case, however, truth is at least as strange as fiction. Consider that the top recipient of U.S. foreign aid over the past three decades isn’t some impoverished land filled with starving kids, but a wealthy nation with a per-head gross domestic product on par with the European Union average, and higher than that of Italy, Spain, or South Korea.

Consider also that this top recipient of such aid—nearly all of it military since 2008—has been busily engaged in what looks like a 19th-style colonization project. In the late 1940s, our beneficiary expelled some 700,000 indigenous people from the land it was claiming. In 1967, our client seized some contiguous pieces of real estate and ever since has been colonizing these territories with nearly 650,000 of its own people. It has divided the conquered lands with myriad checkpoints and roads accessible only to the colonizers and is building a 440-mile wall around (and cutting into) the conquered territory, creating a geography of control that violates international law.

2/24/2014 7:32:16 AM

As the first comment reflects, it is difficult in the US, even among the left, to critically examine the US-Israel relationship or the history or policies of Israel. Thank you for publishing this article. By the way, sometimes it is okay to not like what you read. Challenge yourself.

2/19/2014 10:14:51 AM

I have been subscribing to Utne Reader for a while now (1-2 years) and generally like what I've read. Now I know where Utne really stands and will cancel my subscription right after posting this comment. Israel was created in 1948 by the United Nations. It's 'neighbors' immediately decided that it had no right to exist and vowed to 'push it into the sea'. If anyone in the U.S. had to live with the threats and actual terrorism that Israel has, it would never have been tolerated. When the 9/11 attacks ocurred I said to myself 'maybe now people in the US will understand how Israelis feel'. Our military response to 9/11 shows that we, safe here in the US, won't tolerate terrorism. Israel is not perfect. I don't agree with everything Israel does. Many Israelis don't agree with everything their government does. It is a democracy and differing opionions are accepted. But I don't live there. Nor does the author of this diatribe. I pray for peace in the Middle East, but only when those calling for Israel's destruction are honestly willing to make peace. After 60 years of terror, can you blame many Israelis for being distrustful of mere words? Let the belligerent neighbors and terrorists demonstrate their willingness for peace, and there will be peace. In the meantime, Israel needs US aid to defend itself.

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