American Taxpayers Pay and Pay: Subsidizing Israel’s Ascendancy Over the U.S.

Alison Weir is president of the Council for the National Interest and executive director of If Americans Knew. She writes and speaks widely on this issue. Additional documentation for the information contained in this article can be found on both organizations’ websites.

By Alison Weir
CounterPunch & Antiwar.com
September 1, 2011

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.

Citations:

“ISRAEL: THE NEW GOLDEN COUNTRY FOR YOUNG AND SINGLE JEWISH,” Jerusalem Post, By ERICA EDVI, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 2, 2011.

Congressional Research Service

“Stealing Success Tel Aviv Style,” by Philip Giraldi, AntiWar.com, January 28, 2010.

Merriam-Webster

“The Cost of Israel to US Taxpayers,” by Richard Curtiss, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

“The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion,” by Thomas R. Stauffer, Ph.D. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 2003.

Birthright Israel

“Epiphany at Beit Jala,” by Donald Neff, The Link, November - December 1995.

“Why Are There Israeli—But Not Mexican—American Dual Nationals?” by Grace Halsell, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July/August 1993, Page 19.

“Findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty, the Recall of Military Rescue Support Aircraft while the Ship was Under Attack, and the Subsequent Cover-up by the United States Government,” ADMIRAL THOMAS H. MOORER, UNITED STATES NAVY, (RET.) Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, CAPITOL HILL, WASHINGTON, D.C., OCTOBER 22, 2003

http://www.ussliberty.org/adlai.htm

Statistical studies and media analyses

“High Wellbeing Eludes the Masses in Most Countries Worldwide” Gallup, August 31, 2011.

“Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: Ready to play hardball,” by HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, Jerusalem Post, 12/23/2010.

“Ros-Lehtinen U.S. bill aims to cut funds to pro-Palestinian UN groups,” Ha’aretz & Associated Press, Aug. 31, 2011.

“Top House Republican wants PLO expelled from US,” by Jared Malsin: On the Middle East.

“UN alarm at Palestinian poverty,” BBC News, Feb. 22, 2007.

World Food Program

“A Conservative Estimate of Total Direct U.S. Aid to Israel: Almost $114 Billion,” by Shirl McArthur, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November 2008, pages 10-11.

“More Troops Relying on Food Stamps,” Military.com, July 22, 2009.

World Factbook, Country Comparison, Current Account Balance

Israel-Palestine Timeline

Our latest project Israel-Palestine Timeline: The human cost of the conflict records photos and information for each person who has been killed in the ongoing violence. Visit the site

History of the Israel Lobby


Alison Weir's book Against Our Better Judgement: How the U.S. was used to create Israel brings together meticulously sourced evidence to outline the largely unknown history of U.S.-Israel relations.


Buy it on Amazon, and visit the book website for reviews, more ordering options, and upcoming author events.

Palestine Photography Project


The Palestine Photography Project reproduces high quality images of historic pre-1948 Palestine from the Library of Congress. Visit the site

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Additional Resources

Congressional Research Service:
U.S. Aid to Israel

Congressional Research Service:
U.S. Aid to the Palestinians

Book – Fallen Pillars: US Policy towards Palestine and Israel since 1945

Palestine Monitor Fact Sheet on US Aid

Times of London Graphic on US Aid

Arms Transfers to Israel: 1993 to Present

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Jewish Virtual Library on US Aid

Organizations

Council for the National Interest

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

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