September/October 2008 Postcard

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Thanks to the efforts of pro-Israel lobbyists, Congress slipped extra military aid for Israel into an amendment to special legislation covering funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Otherwise—like almost every other federally financed program—it would have been hung up in a “continuous resolution” as Democrats and Republicans fight over the federal budget.

The United States is spending $10 billion a month for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, much of it borrowed from China. Our economy is suffering: Americans are losing their homes, jobs and health care. People are being forced to choose between buying food, gas or medicine. Our schools, bridges, levees and infrastructure are in desperate need of upgrading.

I find it astounding that my tax dollars are going to a country in violation of more than 60 U.N. resolutions and international law—with no strings attached.

Please use my tax dollars at home—not to protect a brutal military occupation.

altU.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (DCA) promising AIPAC on June 4 that Congress will expedite extra aid for Israel. (AFP photo/Tim Sloan)

Bypassing the normal appropriation process, Congress approved an increase of $170 million in aid to Israel on June 26. The Bush administration and Israel signed an agreement on Aug. 16, 2007 giving Israel $30 billion in military aid over the next 10 years beginning this October—an increase of about 25 percent from current figures. Unlike U.S. military aid provided to any other country, the new deal allows Israel to spend 26.3 percent of its U.S. aid on arms from Israel’s own robust domestic military industry; other recipients must spent all their aid on American weaponry.

The new defense package for Israel has no strings attached. It is not conditioned on diplomatic progress toward making peace with its neighbors, halting settlement activities or withdrawing from Palestinian territories. This give-away is not in the American interest.