Trump’s ‘America First’ budget puts Israel right up there, too

US Politics
on 26 Comments

Donald Trump’s budget is titled “America First” but it gives a special place to Israel. “Israel would be the only country to escape the Trump administration’s proposed deep cuts in foreign aid, the State Department said Thursday,” says The Los Angeles Times.

The Republican Jewish Coalition is very happy:

Trump shows his commitment on strong ties w/Israel by maintaining defense aid, while making necessary cuts elsewhere

So is the Times of Israel: “Outlining budget, Trump puts aid to Israel first while slashing elsewhere.”

President Donald Trump released his first budget blueprint Thursday, leaving aid to Israel unscathed even as he called for massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Labor Department and the State Department.

The budget proposal “provides $3.1 billion to meet the security assistance commitment to Israel, currently at an all-time high [sic]; ensuring that Israel has the ability to defend itself from threats and maintain its Qualitative Military Edge,” according to a copy of the document, titled “America First.”

The Los Angeles Times again. Israel is unscathed, but climate change is a loser.

The budget plan from the White House calls for slashing the State Department’s $50 billion budget by about 28%, cuts that would mostly target climate change, democracy promotion and health programs, and numerous foreign aid projects…

Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said U.S. aid to Israel, which totaled about $3.1 billion this year, would not be touched under the Trump plan. Israel gets more U.S. aid than any other nation.

Aid to every other country will come under review, he said.

Here’s Mark Toner at yesterday’s State Department press briefing:

[O]ur assistance to Israel is, if I could say, a cutout on the budget, and that’s guaranteed, and that reflects, obviously, our strong commitment to one of our strongest partners and allies. With respect to other assistance levels, foreign military assistance levels, those are still being evaluated and decisions are going to be made going forward…

Q. So Israel is the only country that has been assured in this budget that their assistance will continue?

with respect to Israel, that is correct. It was the only one that was singled out or cut out of – in the budget that we will maintain our commitment to Israel.

 

In related report, Defense News reports on American subsidies for other countries’ weapons purchases: “The Trump administration is mulling plans to kill U.S. subsidies for foreign allies to buy American-made weapons outright and replace them with a loans program.”

But there’s an exception:
“The idea is to replace all foreign military financing, or FMF, grants with loans, save for the security aid committed to Israel — which makes up more than half of the $5.7 billion program.”
BTW, this story exposes the foolishness of regarding Trump’s “America First” rhetoric as anti-Semitic, because it would seem to echo the America Firsters of the Charles Lindbergh era. First of all, Donald J. Trump has never heard of the America First campaign of the Lindbergh era. He hasn’t gotten that flashcard yet; he just learned about Andrew Jackson two days ago. And Trump’s definition of “America First”, as populist and anti-elite as that may be– political values that give apprehension to some Jews– his definition plainly grants Israel special standing. This is a man who has long worked with Zionist Jews and whose favorite child married one. And for all those who want to say the marriage is trivial and means nothing in understanding Trump’s worldview, imagine for a moment that Trump’s child married a Muslim, or one of President Obama’s daughters did. Would that mean nothing to people? Of course not. Islamophobia is rampant in the United States today; the Muslim position is reminiscent of the Jewish one of 60 and 100 years ago; and while there is undoubtedly a surge in anti-Semitism (some of which is fueled by Israel’s conduct in the name of all Jews), efforts to put American Jews in the category of an “oppressed community” are unpersuasive. In sum, the budget’s special exception for Israel is a reminder of the status that Jews have attained in America. Cue the late Tony Judt, ten years ago:
“Why is the American Jewish community so determined to convince itself that we are living in 1938. Why does the most successful, the most well integrated, the most culturally and politically influential, the most socially and economically well situated Jewish community since the late years of the Roman republic, why is it so worried about the demon of anti-Semitism—more worried than the Jewish community in any other country I know and certainly more worried than Israel itself? It’s an American issue.”
About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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26 Responses

  1. AddictionMyth
    March 17, 2017, 11:40 am

    Is this satire? Of course Trump is anti-Semitic! So what if his daughter married a Jew? The Kushners are anti-Semitic pro-Zionist kapos. Their grand plan is to scare the Jews out of the US into Israel with a series of JCC bomb threats. This is the old Zionist strategy – nothing new. Then Trump-Flynn-Bannon’s plan was for Iran to nuke Tel Aviv. Remember, the Zionists are partly responsible for abandoning Jews to the Holocaust, and are now responsible for the exploitation of hundreds of thousands of ultra-orthodox. There is nothing new here. I honestly can’t tell if this is satire, and yes Trump is an idiot but he’s not that dumb.

    And yes it’s absurd to claim that Jews are oppressed. That’s partly why this plan will fail bigly. It’s all very funny to watch it play out. The day of reckoning is nigh!

    • Misterioso
      March 18, 2017, 2:11 pm

      A large proportion of those who voted for Trump are both anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish. They are very also resentful of the $10 million Israel receives each day from American taxpayers.

      • Mooser
        March 18, 2017, 5:07 pm

        “They are very also resentful of the $10 million Israel receives each day from American taxpayers.”

        Oh yes, I well remember the chants of “Get the money back from Israel” at the Trump rallies when he brought it up.

      • catalan
        March 18, 2017, 5:16 pm

        “They are very also resentful of the $10 million Israel receives each day from American taxpayers. -”
        So much resentment and outrage is expressed on the internet. From my vantage point, coming from a poor country and a different age, I just feel immense gratitude for everything I undeservedly have as an American – proper dental care, a passport I can travel with, living in a multicultural society of so many kind people. It is all in the eyes of the beholder.

      • Boo
        March 18, 2017, 7:41 pm

        “I just feel immense gratitude for everything I undeservedly have as an American – proper dental care”

        An exceedingly odd choice for first place. I’d gladly suffer all my teeth falling out — or being knocked out! — if it meant justice for a people so long denied it.

      • talknic
        March 18, 2017, 9:48 pm

        atalan March 18, 2017, 5:16 pm

        “From my vantage point, coming from a poor country and a different age, I just feel immense gratitude for everything I undeservedly have as an American – proper dental care, a passport I can travel with, living in a multicultural society of so many kind people. …” … where from undeserved safety you can support a rogue regime that illegally acquires some one else’s territories, thumbs its nose at the US, the UN and anyone who gets in the way of its colonialistic expansionism, tortures and incarcerates children without charge

        ” It is all in the eyes of the beholder”

        Logs it seems

      • oldgeezer
        March 18, 2017, 11:55 pm

        @catalan

        I am happy for your teeth catalan.

        Yet many millions of Americans don’t have basic health care. Not that you give a darn about them. Screw em, let’s subsidize a racist war mongering state instead.

        I’m alright jack!

      • oldgeezer
        March 19, 2017, 12:02 pm

        @catalan

        Universal single payer health care is a different debate so you merely evaded the point. As such it still stands.

      • amigo
        March 19, 2017, 2:02 pm

        “I just feel immense gratitude for everything I undeservedly have as an American – proper dental care, a passport I can travel with, living in a multicultural society of so many kind people “catalan

        Would that be the kind people you once (at least) referred to as being spoiled and useless at maths and science.

        Can,t provide you with a link as the archives are not accessible at the moment , (stay tuned).

        Nobody could ever accuse you of being a hypocrite eh , catalan

  2. AddictionMyth
    March 17, 2017, 11:43 am

    Also most Republicans will not vote for an increase in ‘defense’ spending or funds for Israel unless they think that Trump will be gone – they recognize he is too dangerous. (I actually expect Pence to be in power soon.)

  3. catalan
    March 17, 2017, 12:16 pm

    “Their grand plan is to scare the Jews out of the US into Israel with a series of JCC bomb threats. – ”
    That is a strange and prejudiced comment. American Jews are for the most part an extremely tough group of people – well educated, strong, with many serving in the military and engaged in sports at the highest level. They are most certainly not easily scared and I doubt whether anyone would even remotely entertain the idea of giving up their American homes because of a bomb threat. All this has a smell of old cliches about diaspora Jews that just wait scared in their houses while the local thugs throw stones.
    Nothing could be farther from the truth nowadays. I would say that for us, the United States is the promised land.

    • Mooser
      March 17, 2017, 2:37 pm

      “I would say that for us, the United States is the promised land.”

      “The United States is the promised land”? Not Israel? So what is Israel, an asylum?

      “American Jews are for the most part an extremely tough group of people”

      Remember “catalan” being “tough” (even “extremely tough”) isn’t enough. You have to be smart too.

      • catalan
        March 17, 2017, 4:48 pm

        Remember “catalan” being “tough” (even “extremely tough”) isn’t enough. You have to be smart too. – Mooser
        Wise words mooser. But I just don’t think that our actions should be driven by fear. I actually kind of resent the implication that Jews have anything to fear if something or other happens. Each of us is going to die, many of us will suffer to the point of agony in the process; that’s natural. So why not base our ideas and beliefs on something more positive than fear?
        I understand fear very well and I know it’s there for every one of us. But why give in to the language of threats?

      • Mooser
        March 17, 2017, 11:13 pm

        “Each of us is going to die, many of us will suffer to the point of agony in the process; that’s natural…”

        And since you’re the one that’s got to die, when it’s time for you to die, so you should live your life, the way you want to!
        White-collared conservative, flashing down the street;
        they’re hoping soon, your kind will drop and die!
        But you’re gonna to wave your freak flag high! High!!
        Wave on, wave on. Sing on brother.
        Play on drummer!

      • Boo
        March 18, 2017, 7:36 pm

        You have to be just too.

        Hendrix FTW!

  4. Maghlawatan
    March 17, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Trump’s budget cuts spending which benefits a lot of the poor white people who voted for him.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5gm07oKdt0

    https://www.ft.com/content/a6cdada8-0a60-11e7-97d1-5e720a26771b
    “It proposes cutting every federal department barring the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security. Some, such as the state department and the Environmental Protection Agency, would be slashed by almost a third. Others, including agriculture, labour, education and commerce would face cuts of up to a fifth. Whole programmes, such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Legal Services Corporation, which funds legal aid to those who cannot afford it, would be closed down altogether. Others facing the axe would include Nasa’s climate research budget, which is too “earth-centric”, according to the White House. The world-renowned National Institutes of Health would shrink by a fifth. The Internal Revenue Service would be cut by 5 per cent.To one degree or another, Mr Trump wants to cut everything in order to fatten up the military budget and build a border wall with Mexico”

    Mexico won’t pay either.

    I think the GOP will collapse when Zionism does.

    Trump is insane

    http://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/03/17/trump-behind-health-care-bill-sot.cnn

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trumptanic-approaches-repeal-iceberg-everything-is-fine

  5. Kay24
    March 17, 2017, 2:10 pm

    Trumps intends cutting the Meals on Wheels program, depriving the elderly and veterans who are housebound of healthy meals, but will not touch the aid that we send to Israel. Is this what America voted for? Israel first, then our elderly and veterans? These are very selective cuts.

    • Mooser
      March 17, 2017, 2:45 pm

      BTW, notice the size of the document. When was the last time the US Federal Government had a budget which could be saddle-stitched?

      It’s not a budget, it’s another campaign document. Where’s the rest of it?

  6. lysias
    March 18, 2017, 8:33 am

    So Israel is the only country aid to which is not being cut? Does that mean aid to Egypt is being cut?

  7. genesto
    March 18, 2017, 1:38 pm

    “It proposes cutting every federal department barring the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security. Some, such as the state department and the Environmental Protection Agency, would be slashed by almost a third. Others, including agriculture, labour, education and commerce would face cuts of up to a fifth. Whole programmes, such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Legal Services Corporation, which funds legal aid to those who cannot afford it, would be closed down altogether. Others facing the axe would include Nasa’s climate research budget, which is too “earth-centric”, according to the White House. The world-renowned National Institutes of Health would shrink by a fifth. The Internal Revenue Service would be cut by 5 per cent.To one degree or another, Mr Trump wants to cut everything in order to fatten up the military budget and build a border wall with Mexico”.

    Sure glad to see us continuing to send borrowed tax dollars to Israel, a wealthy country, to maintain and expand the Occupation, while all these domestic programs suffer! Looks like good grist for our mill to show how much power the Israel lobby has over our Congress to make its own country suffer more for the benefit of a foreign country’s military adventures.

  8. Boo
    March 18, 2017, 7:32 pm

    At least we can point to a complete consistency between Trump’s domestic-affairs and foreign-affairs budgets.

    In both instances he puts the privileged at the head of the line, while the dispossessed and persecuted take last place.

  9. catalan
    March 19, 2017, 9:13 am

    “Not that you give a darn about them. Screw em, let’s subsidize a racist war mongering state instead. – ” oldgeezer
    I am actually against aid to Israel as it is a wealthy country. However, the healthcare debate is of a totally different caliber. It is incredibly controversial with passions on both sides. It also involves trillions of dollars annually rather than the three billion dollars aid to Israel. As you know, the US is already 20 trillion dollars in debt but that amount is expected to double in the next few years.
    Note that I come from a country that had free and universal healthcare. The quality of health care was awful (unless you were a Communist leader before 1990 and rich afterwards) and corruption in the state hospitals was rampant. Once I had a broken foot in a different city. We had to pay the doctor to treat me and he did such a poor job that my left leg now is shaped different. A sweet reminder of how “free and universal” works in practice. That and having a tooth pulled out without anesthesia when I was 12 or so which made me scream and faint to the great amusement of the dentist (and my mother). We had to be tough, you know, ready to fight the imperialists and rotting capitalists.

    • catalan
      March 19, 2017, 12:22 pm

      Universal single payer health care is a different debate so you merely evaded the point. As such it still stands. – Oldgeezer
      What is the point? I am against aid to Israel but nobody is asking me. I also want every person to have good healthcare, education and achieve their dreams. Again, I don’t have a solution how to achieve that. Do you?

      • catalan
        March 19, 2017, 5:29 pm

        “Nobody could ever accuse you of being a hypocrite eh ”
        Amigo,
        People change. One grows and learns. Consistency is not a virtue, it shows no ability to learn. So I have said and done stupid things…I guess I am the only one.

    • Mooser
      March 19, 2017, 1:07 pm

      “I am actually against aid to Israel as it is a wealthy country.”

      Really? Okay, accountant, explain to me how Israel can afford its own security without US billions?

      And after you’ve done that, explain to me why Israel takes so much money from the US if it doesn’t need it?

    • Keith
      March 19, 2017, 3:42 pm

      CATALAN- “A sweet reminder of how “free and universal” works in practice.”

      Why the anecdotal BS? It is hardly a secret that among the advanced Western states that the US has far and away the most expensive health care, yet statistically is mediocre at best. Try comparing the US to Canada. Even Cuba gets as good results even though poor and under an embargo. A single payer system such as Medicare for all is an obvious and highly desirable solution.

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