Another red line crossed, in the mainstream media. Walter Pincus in the Washington Post calls for U.S. to review all the money we give to Israel. The headline: “US must reevaluate its assistance to Israel.”
As the country reviews its spending on defense and foreign assistance, it is time to examine the funding the United States provides to Israel…. The question for the Obama administration, Congress and, in the end, perhaps the American public, is: Given present economic problems, should the United States supply the money to make up for reductions the Israelis are making in their own defense budget?
Adds a friend: My jaw dropped when I read this on the metro this morning.
Such a headline in a flagship MSM outlet. Pincus has the chops to write something like this since he’s been covering US foreign and military policy since the Vietnam war. An article like this in Wapo even 2 years ago would have been unthinkable. A very tiny oversight: he doesn’t mention the hundreds of millions of dollars tucked into the State Department budget since 1973 for refugee resettlement in Israel. This year it’s $20M. First, Israel is still resettling refugees? Second, a country with the 26th highest GDP can’t pay to resettle refugees in its own country? That’s a scandal.
A bigger scandal is that the International Aid budget is being seriously slashed, percentage wise more than any other budget. Funding to fight poverty and humanitarian assistance. The budget is only a shade over $50B. But aid to Israel remains untouched.
Here’s an excerpt from a 2002 congressional research service report to give you an idea. Link to the full report.
Aid for Soviet and Ethiopian Jewish Refugees “US aid for Soviet and other immigrants in Israel has taken two forms: first, grants through the Department of State refugee and migration account; second, through the housing loan guarantee and Soviet immigrant loan guarantee programs. The United States began providing grants to Israel under the refugee and migration account in 1973. Congress increased the funding level up to $80 million per year in 1992, when the wave of Soviet immigrants crested. H.Rept. 105-401 of November 12, 1997, on H.R. 2159, the foreign operations appropriation bill, stated that the level would decrease to $70 million in FY1999 and to $60 million in FY2000 because the declining numbers of Soviet immigrants reduced Israel’s need. The President requested $60 million for immigrant assistance for FY2003.” end