American taxpayers subsidize Israel’s ascendancy over the US
Israel’s prosperity grows at the expense of American taxpayers
By Alison Weir
Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper recently published an article calling Israel “The New Golden Country” for young people from around the world. It reports that Israel boasts an ever-increasing GDP, a strong currency, and a lower unemployment rate than the US.”
The article fails to mention the well over $3 billion a year that American taxpayers have given Israel for years, nor the fact that some of this money has been used to develop industries that compete with US companies, costing thousands of American jobs and adding to the American unemployment rate.
The story also omits the fact that Israel has periodically stolen US technology, hurting the US economy still more, and fails to note that support for Israel has cost Americans in the range of $3-$6 trillion and that these costs continue to escalate.
The article reports that many young Jewish American singles “are realizing that their future is in Israel. Since 2002, over 7,000 students and young professionals have made Aliyah [“ascended” to Israeli citizenship] from North America and the UK… bringing with them their skills…”
Many of these new Israeli citizens, the article reports, then “telecommute to their home countries, commute to Europe or consult globally,” adding to Israel’s economy.
The Israeli story states: “Many students and young professionals are drawn by the incentive of free tuition for a bachelor’s or master’s degree,” comparing this to the United States, where obtaining a degree can put many into significant debt.
According to the article, “Israel sits, quite literally, at the nexus of the world.” The newspaper reports: “This tiny nation is not only in the geographical heart of the globe and at the center of international attention. Israel is also at the very core of innovation, a leader in global commerce and technology.”
Again, the story fails to report the US subsidy of such “innovation.”
In the past ten years alone, Americans have given Israel the equivalent of approximately $200,000 per Israeli family of five. In addition, there have been weapons subsidies, loan forgiveness programs, special trade preferences, and other generous gifts from American taxpayers to Israel. In fact, despite being one of the world’ smallest nations, Israel receives more US tax money than any other country.
On top of this, a multitude of organizations contributing money and assistance to Israel have been given tax-deductible status in the US, removing still more money from the American economy. For example, donations to the “Birthright Israel” program that takes Jewish American students on fun-filled holidays to Israel, convincing many to then “ascend” to Israeli citizenship, are deducted from taxes owed to the U.S.
When Americans become Israeli citizens they retain their U.S. citizenship, allowing them to continue to vote in US elections. Such dual citizenship used to be illegal in the U.S., where it was felt that a citizen could have only one primary national loyalty (for example, in a war or other situations where interests diverged between two nations an individual would have to choose which to support). It was only after Israel became a nation and many Jewish Americans wished citizenship in both countries that a 200-year American tradition was changed.
The Jerusalem Post article also neglected to mention Israel’s attack on a US Navy ship that killed and injured approximately 200 Americans and caused the ship to be scrapped. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Israel termed this a “mistake” and gave the U.S. $6 million “compensation” for a ship valued at $40 million, another blow to the U.S. economy.
While US news media, which are highly Israel-centric in their coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict and portray Israelis as victims, the Jerusalem Post reports that “a recent Gallup survey on global wellbeing ranked Israelis seventh in the world in terms of happiness and satisfaction with their lives” (well ahead of the U.S.).
In considerable contrast, the Palestinian Territories, where the population has been living under Israeli occupation for almost 45 years, is listed as the 12th lowest population in this wellbeing survey.
Miami Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the extremely pro-Israel head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (it is unknown whether she has dual citizenship) and who has just introduced yet another bill on Israel’s behalf, has proposed that the U.S. end assistance programs to the Palestinian population, despite considerable poverty among Palestinian families, while continuing the American dole to Israel, even though Israel is listed among the world’s wealthiest nations.
The Jerusalem Post crows, “The back pages of daily newspapers are overflowing with last minute vacation deals within Israel and abroad, and it is completely normal to find that your friend or coworker has just found a great deal to fly off to Europe for a long weekend.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to suffer a growing economic crisis, numerous Americans have lost jobs and homes, schools are being closed, businesses have gone bankrupt, and many military families are subsisting on food stamps.
An increasing number of Americans are calling for an end to US taxpayer subsidies to Israel. Some go even further, suggesting that it is time to reverse the money flow and demand that Israel begin sending back some of the billions of dollars it has received from American taxpayers over the past 60-plus years.
According to the CIA World Factbook, Israel’s current account balance is 29th in the world; the U.S. comes in at 196th.
Alison Weir is president of the Council for the National Interest. This article was published on Antiwar.com, Sept. 1, 2011, as “American Taxpayers Subsidize Israel’s Prosperity.” Ms. Weir is also founder and executive director of If Americans Knew.