Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence

American dollars fuel Israel’s war crimes (by Philip Giraldi)

(Nov 10, 2015, American Herald Tribune)


Netayahu Ashton Carter 47de7

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has left Washington with a smile on his face. In spite of the fact that he has openly interfered in American politics, has denigrated President Barack Obama as well as other top U.S. officials and has fabricated a narrative to oppose sensible policies initiated by the White House to limit nuclear proliferation he will still wind up with billions of dollars in new money pledged from the U.S. Treasury as well as unfathomable blanket guarantees that Washington will “have Israel’s back” even when it behaves psychopathically.

How does the head of government of a country that is engaged in a 48 year illegal occupation, that operates as a de facto racist theocracy and that has been accused of numerous war crimes do it? Well, he does have the active support of a politically powerful and well-funded lobby that operates both domestically and internationally, coupled with a subservient media and a host of alphabet soup think tanks that invent and direct a favorable narrative no matter what Israel does. And he does have a subset of his own Likud that is a wholly owned entity oddly called the Republican Party, buttressed by accommodating and refreshingly ignorant politicians who rely on sometimes bizarre interpretations of the Old Testament to shape their foreign policy thinking.

But in spite of the drumbeat many Americans are beginning to ask how much the charade costs, both in terms of actual dollars and in terms of the damage to U.S. interests and credibility worldwide. And, at a more practical level, the close embrace with Israel has made the United States a prime terrorist target, endangering every American who travels internationally and every U.S. business that operates overseas. It has also earned the United States a well-deserved reputation for its hypocrisy, preaching human rights for everyone but the Palestinians.

By one estimate Israel has been the recipient of $233 billion in aid and assistance from the U.S. Treasury. But that number is actually only part of the largesse.

As is often the case, follow the money. By one estimate Israel has been the recipient of $233 billion in aid and assistance from the U.S. Treasury. But that number is actually only part of the largesse. Contributions by private Americans and corporations to Israel are regarded by the Internal Revenue Service as tax deductible charitable contributions, which would be fine if the intent were indeed charitable, but the reality is that a considerable part of that money goes to fund the illegal Israeli settlements that steal land from Palestinians and convert it into exclusive Jewish only colonies. This is accomplished through mechanisms to include Shuva Israel, the One Israel Fund, Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, the Friends of Ir David Foundation and the PEF Israel Endowment Fund, many of which are funded by American billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and Irving Moskowitz as well as by Jewish and fundamentalist Christian organizations. There are also numerous direct contributions from Americans who do not seek a tax deduction. Either way, funding the settlements is illegal under both U.S. and international law but the Treasury Department makes no effort to challenge the practice.

Other sources of hidden subsidy for Israel arranged for by Congress include its ability to bid on U.S. government contracts and also freely export its goods and services to the United States. Notoriously, Israeli communications and security companies that obtain lucrative contracts in the U.S. also find themselves well placed to spy. When President Bill Clinton commented to his paramour Monica Lewinsky that someone might be listening on the White House phones he was referring to Israel.

Israel also benefits from special projects where the U.S. pays the bills and Israel does much of the development work, benefiting its domestic arms industry, currently the seventh largest in the world. Washington is paying for the continued development of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and is also footing the bill for new ground penetrating radar. On joint projects Israel frequently seeks to have its technicians involved directly in work being done by U.S. defense contractors. It sometimes steals the technology involved and recycles it to support its own defense industry. The Python 3 air-to –air missile is one example of such technology theft with the missile eventually winding up in the Chinese arsenal. Israel’s U.S. funded $1.5 billion development of the Lavi jet fighter acquired technology that later appeared in China’s J-10 jet. More recently, Israel copied and sold the technical details of the Patriot Missile system and also sought approval to maintain the avionics of the new F-35 fighter plane but was initially denied access over concerns that it would steal the technology.

It is not implausible to suggest that the cash flow from the United States to Israel amounts to something like $10 billion per year, far more than the $3 billion in defense assistance that is usually cited.  Either figure makes little sense in that Israel is a rich country that has a standard of living comparable to Western Europe, is militarily superior to all its neighbors combined and has a largely socialized economy that offers free medical care and higher education to its citizens, benefits that American taxpayers do not enjoy. As money is fungible, the U.S.’s picking up the tab for 20% of Israel’s defense budget frees up a lot of cash to support that country’s social programs.

Apart from the dollars and cents aspect, there are the intangible costs of the relationship with Israel. It has sometimes been noted that before the creation of Israel the United States had nothing but friends in the Arab world. Now it has nothing but enemies. Israeli brutality against the Palestinians plays out nightly on television sets all across the world, particularly in Muslim countries, even if it is nearly invisible in the U.S. media, and Washington is invariably seen as the Godfather that indulges Tel Aviv when it behaves as it does.

Washington is seen, correctly, as Israel’s enabler and accomplice in the occupation of the West Bank and the brutal suppression of Palestinian human rights. Former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden noted that the U.S. support for Israel was one compelling reason why America had to be attacked, an attack that was in fact welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as it made the United States line up “on Israel’s side” against the Arabs.

And then there is the credibility issue. The United States fancies itself as an international force for stability and reason but when it vetoes resolution after resolution in the United Nations to protect Israel it loses the good will of most of the world. The disastrous invasion of Iraq by Washington in 2003 was largely in response to perceived Israeli interests and was engineered by neoconservatives entrenched in the Pentagon and White House. Everyone in the world, with the apparent exception of the experts in the White House, knows that the disastrous mess currently playing out in the Middle East is largely the fault of Washington and its Israel-centric policies.

So Netanyahu once again returns home smiling. But hopefully Americans and others will begin to count the real cost of his smile and his next peripatetic visits to lecture the world on how to behave will be met with a much more cold response.