AIPAC takes on the latest threat to Israel — sequestration

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 10 Comments

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports on AIPAC’s legislative agenda for its annual policy conference next week, and while Palestinians aren’t mentioned once there is a palpable fear that the aid spigot to Israel is about to turn off, or at least slow down, given the budget face off taking place in Washington. Friday stands as a deadline for Congress and the President to prevent wide-ranging spending cuts and Haaretz‘s Chemi Shalev writes that Israel stands to lose $175 million if a sequestration deal isn’t brokered.

From the JTA:

the agenda will focus on the Congress enacting legislation that would designate Israel a “major strategic ally” of the United States — a relationship not enjoyed by any other nation . . .

The AIPAC official interviewed by JTA said that part of what motivates the push to name Israel a major strategic ally is an appeal to maintain defense assistance funding, averaging more than $3 billion annually, at a time when both parties are seeking ways to drastically cut spending.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrote congressional appropriators last week to warn that across-the-board “sequestration” cuts due to kick in Friday – unless the White House and Congress achieve a compromise – will hit Israel funding, among other things.

“This is no time to cut aid to an ally,” the AIPAC official said. Conferring major strategic ally upon Israel “would mean that the United States and Israel would work together on a cooperative basis on missile defense, homeland security, energy independence, medical research and innovation and military technology,” the official said.

The push to name Israel a major strategic ally comports with a longstanding preference among some leading Republicans to tweak apart assistance for Israel from other foreign aid, which the conservative wing of the party advocates slashing.

The article goes on to explain that the “major strategic ally” designation is also meant to bolster military cooperation between the U.S. and Israel and that a separate nonbinding Senate resolution will be introduced soon calling on President Obama to stand with Israel “if it is compelled to act against the Iranian nuclear threat.”

 

10 Responses

  1. Hostage
    February 27, 2013, 10:04 am

    “This is no time to cut aid to an ally,” the AIPAC official said. Conferring major strategic ally upon Israel “would mean that the United States and Israel would work together on a cooperative basis on missile defense, homeland security, energy independence, medical research and innovation and military technology,” the official said.

    Nothing stands in the way of Israel working together with the United States in all of those areas for free. If they were not already doing that on account of the pledge of +$30 billion over the next 10 years, it’s hard to see how lying about the real situation by calling them a “major strategic ally” will make any difference at all.

  2. Citizen
    February 27, 2013, 10:08 am

    Gee, first they pushed to hide aid to Israel under a different budget; now they want to label uniquely as our one and only super ally, again, to avoid any cuts to subject aid. Wonder if there’s a petition available online to stop this? Is their a bill already going around, or didn’t AIPAC write that up and send it to our congress critters yet so they can put a legislative bill number on it?

    • Citizen
      February 27, 2013, 10:25 am

      The Forward article says the bill’s already been given to some people in Congress, and will be distributed in next few days. We should keep track of it once it gets a legislative bill name and number, and then petition against it online and otherwise to our congress critters.

  3. Dan Crowther
    February 27, 2013, 10:30 am

    Well, the US can’t get Israel into NATO, so I suppose this designation would be the next best thing. It should probably be mentioned that Israel and Turkey have resumed arms deals, Turkey’s about to get some high tech US/Israeli in flight surveillance gear and other sht. And the word is, it was Israel that had to be pressured by the US into agreeing – the Turks had bought AWACS years ago and were waiting on the avionics from Israel, and the Israeli’s had said F you after the row over the flotilla.

    I mention this because, to my knowledge, there is no Turkish Israel Lobby – for the Turks its a pure black and white situation. For them, Israel does have a utilitarian value. So, one has to wonder if there isn’t some Imperial Calculus here in the US that also values having “a” Israel around? This will be hugely unpopular in Turkey, and most Americans I think would chafe at the idea of a tiny country being a “major strategic ally” but the question is, is it true? I still think, in many ways, when you look at the dollar amount of high tech and weapons deals that Israel facilitates, it is. Israel was really smart when they built their high tech military industrial complex – they took the route of producing instruments that went into other manufactures, from the US and elsewhere, which in practice gave them near veto power over arms deals – if Israel didnt want to give avionics to Turkey, well then Turkey wasnt going to get what it bought from the US. Genius. What Israel does is jack up the prices for arms being sold even to NATO allies, US clients etc – and it gives the US another lever to pull if necessary.

    • Dan Crowther
      February 27, 2013, 3:12 pm

      HA! Not gonna post my comment? Really?

    • Citizen
      February 28, 2013, 1:46 pm

      @ Dan Crowther

      I guess your comment implies that the US is a warfare business state, and Israel keeps business booming. Who can deny it? The paltry sequestration cuts to our budget plans affecting the military are minuscule, yet neither party is arguing we don’t really need a military budget more than the combined military budgets of the next ten or dozen biggest military spending countries, where all but two (Russia and China) are US allies. Even Britain when it ruled the seas figured its military budget required only that it spend more than its two principle adversaries spent. In America, guns are our butter, so to speak. Of course this also includes every form of spending in the name of security imaginable, both at home and abroad–Israel is are most intimate partner on all of it.

  4. American
    February 27, 2013, 12:12 pm

    Lose 175 million?…Ha, drop in the bucket.

    ”In the second session of the 112th Congress, in addition to the normal foreign operations appropriations process, lawmakers may address: Administration or Israeli requests for additional defense appropriations for joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense; an extension of U.S. loan guarantees to Israel beyond FY2012 when they are set to expire; and new funding for joint U.S.-Israeli scientific research.

    The Obama Administration’s FY2013 request includes $3.1 billion in Foreign Military Financing for Israel and $15 million for refugee resettlement. Within the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s FY2013 budget request includes $99.8 million in joint U.S.- Israeli co-development for missile defense.

    On March 5, 2012, House lawmakers introduced H.R. 4133, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. If passed, this bill would, among other things, allocate additional weaponry and munitions for the forward-deployed United States stockpile in Israel; provide Israel additional surplus defense articles and defense services, as appropriate, in the wake of the withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq; expand Israel’s authority to make purchases under the Foreign Military Financing program on a commercial basis; encourage an expanded
    role for Israel within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including an enhanced presence at NATO headquarters and exercises; support extension of the long-standing loan guarantee program for Israel, recognizing Israel’s unbroken record of repaying its loans on time and in full; and require the President to submit a report on the status of Israel.”>>>>

    What is very interesting is that the yearly report to congress by the Congressional Research Service doesn’t even include all the programs Israel gets US finding thru, like Baird or AFAH in it’s TOTAL’s for US yearly aid. Israel gets US taxpayer funds for their Universities thru educational grants, gets investment money for Israeli firms thru BAIRD, get’s research money thru co op scientific grants from the US.
    There really isn’t any way to total all the taxpayer money Israel gets except by combing thru all US agencies and looking at where their grants go. Then there are unheard of little agenices created by congress like the US Hertiage Agency that fund upkeep of Jewish grave/cemetaries abroad. And then there are Jewish groups that apply for individual grants like the Hebrew College in the US that actually uses the US grants to send it’s students to college in Israel, not to the Hebrew college here.
    It’s absolutely unbelievable what it all amounts to. “if Americans knew”?….well I wish they all did know.

    • Citizen
      February 28, 2013, 1:54 pm

      @ American

      Yeah, it’s a bottomless pit favoring Israel and the US war and home security industries. I’ve never seen a full list of all Israel gets in terms of direct and indirect funding of Israel’s military and the policies Israel implements. Jewish interests permeate every nook and cranny of America’s imperial security machine.

  5. Rusty Pipes
    February 27, 2013, 2:43 pm

    So, unlike other allies, is another perk of being designated a “major strategic ally” the non-necessity of signing treaty agreements with the US? Otherwise, Israel would remain a major strategic special friend.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    February 27, 2013, 3:50 pm

    ● RE: Conferring major strategic ally upon Israel “would mean that the United States and Israel would work together on a cooperative basis on missile defense, homeland security, energy independence, medical research and innovation and military technology,” the official said. ~ JTA

    ● MY COMMENT: The U.S. needs Israel as a “major strategic ally” like it needs a hole in the head. Making Israel a “major strategic ally” of the U.S. would heighten my fear that Revisionist Zionism and Likudnik Israel (specifically by virtue of their inordinate sway over the U.S.) might very well be an “existential threat” to the values of The Enlightenment ! ! !
    “Down, down, down we [the U.S.] go into the deep, dark abyss; hand in hand with Israel.”

    OTHER EXAMPLES OF ISRAEL’S VALUES TRUMPING (OVERRIDING) THE VALUES OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT HERE IN THE U.S.
    “How We Became Israel”, By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, 9/10/12
    LINK – link to theamericanconservative.com
    “America Adopts the Israel Paradigm”, by Philip Ghiraldi, Antiwar.com, 7/05/12
    LINK – link to original.antiwar.com
    “Report: Israeli model underlies militarization of U.S. police”, By Muriel Kane, Raw Story, 12/04/11
    LINK – link to rawstory.com
    From Occupation to “Occupy”: The Israelification of American Domestic Security, By Max Blumenthal, Al-akhbar, 12/02/11
    LINK – link to english.al-akhbar.com OR link to informationclearinghouse.info
    “The Trial of Israel’s Campus Critics”, by David Theo Goldberg & Saree Makdisi, Tikkun Magazine, September/October 2009
    LINK – link to tikkun.org
    “Brooklyn College’s academic freedom increasingly threatened over Israel event”, by Glenn Greenwald, guardian.co.uk, 2/02/13
    LINK – link to guardian.co.uk
    ‘Israelis are helping write US laws, fund US campaigns, craft US war policy’, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 6/30/12
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net
    “David Yerushalmi, Islam-Hating White Supremacist Inspires Anti-Sharia Bills Sweeping Tea Party Nation”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/02/11
    LINK – link to richardsilverstein.com
    “Boston airport security program rife with racial profiling has Israeli links”, by Alex Kane, Mondoweiss, 8/14/12
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net
    “Obama’s kill list policy compels US support for Israeli attacks on Gaza”, By Glenn Greenwald, guardian.co.uk, 11/15/12
    LINK – link to guardian.co.uk

    P.S. AND HERE’S ANOTHER THREAT TO THE VALUES OF “THE ENLIGHTENMENT” (THIS TIME IN AFRICA):
    “US Religious Right Propelling Homophobia in African Countries”
    , by Common Dreams, 7/24/12
    LINK – link to commondreams.org

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