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State Dept: No US aid to Israel until budget deal is reached

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Reuters reports on today’s State Department press conference where Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said US military aid to Israel could be “hindered” if the U.S. government shutdown continues. At 2:45 in the video above Harf explains that fiscal year 2014 funding for Israel (which began October 1) will be unavailable until a new budget is passed.

From Reuters:

A prolonged U.S. federal government shutdown could delay military assistance to Israel and other American allies, the State Department said on Wednesday.

“The State Department’s ability to provide military assistance to Israel and other allies in the time frame that is expected and customary could be hindered, depending on the length of the shutdown,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told a news briefing.

Harf gave only the specific example of Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. foreign military funding and a country which enjoys strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress.
A prolonged U.S. federal government shutdown could delay military assistance to Israel and other American allies, the State Department said on Wednesday.

“The State Department’s ability to provide military assistance to Israel and other allies in the time frame that is expected and customary could be hindered, depending on the length of the shutdown,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told a news briefing.

Harf gave only the specific example of Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. foreign military funding and a country which enjoys strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress.

Natasha Mozgovaya was the first to report the comment over Twitter:

Watching the video I wonder if Harf just happens to use aid to Israel as her sole example as a prompt to get AIPAC off the sidelines and pressure Congress to make a deal.

Here is the transcript (emphasis added):

MS. HARF: Yeah, absolutely. So no update on furloughs; we’re in the same place we’ve been on that for the last few days. I know Jen’s talked about it a lot.

In terms of programs that are impacted immediately and one-year funding, I have a couple of examples here. There – and again, as we’ve talked about, these offices do not have the available carryover funds to sustain operations and don’t have other sources of operating funds like fees, as we’ve talked about with passports and visas. Some of these offices include the Office of the Inspector General, the International Boundary and Water Commission. Certain Department of State accounts with only single-year direct appropriations also include contributions to international organizations – not all of them but some of them. There’s also an impact on our foreign military funding. I know we’ve talked a lot about FMF in here. In the absence of a continuing resolution, we have no FY14 Foreign Military Financing, International Military Education [and Training], or Peacekeeping Operations funds to obligate.

So for example – I’ll just give you one example – FY 2014 security assistance funding for Israel will be delayed until a continuing resolution or until full-year appropriation is passed. The State Department’s ability to provide military assistance to Israel and other allies in the timeframe that is expected and customary could be hindered depending on the length of the shutdown. So while there are no furloughs, it’s not just business as usual, and there are programs, certainly, that are affected and which all could be up and running again if Congress could get some business done.

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38 Responses

  1. BillM
    BillM
    October 2, 2013, 4:12 pm

    Meh. I took that to mean that the aid itself is not interrupted, but some of the people who actually do the paperwork processing are furloughed, so things might take a little longer to process. Israel isn’t hurt at all, but this makes a nice little bomb for the administration to lob at the pro-Israel Republican base.

    • lysias
      lysias
      October 2, 2013, 4:35 pm

      Republican politicians may still be largely pro-Israel, but to what extent is the base? Didn’t a lot of the pressure not to go to war in Syria come from Tea Party people?

      • BillM
        BillM
        October 2, 2013, 5:06 pm

        Tricky questions. The Tea Party definitely has an element that does not love Israel, but the heart of the Republican base remains the evangelicals, who are more pro-Israel than most Israelis. This announcement is the Obama Administration trying to split the GOP base, even if it doesn’t directly hit the Tea Party.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        October 3, 2013, 3:13 am

        @ BillM

        “Israel may have become a punching bag for much of the world, but 50 million Americans back the Jewish state 100 percent, no ifs, buts or maybes.

        As portrayed in the striking documentary “Waiting for Armageddon,” these supporters are Christian Evangelicals who are neither rural hicks nor ranting fanatics.

        What they hold in common is an unshakeable faith that every inch of Israel/Palestine belongs to the Jews. “They want the Muslims to be evicted by the Jews, the Jews to rebuild the Temple of Solomon and then Christ to return and trump everyone,” one analyst explains in the film.

        The action-backed beliefs of the Evangelicals confront most American Jews with a dilemma. They applaud the unstinting financial support to Israel from the Evangelical community, about $75 million annually, and even more its political clout and lobbying on behalf of the Jewish state.

        But, the support comes with a theological price tag. At the end of days, after the final battle between good and evil on the plains of Megiddo in northern Israel, they believe, the Jews will either see the light and accept Jesus Christ, or die….”
        Source(s):
        http://www.jewishjournal.com/film/articl

        Everytime I think of the Hagee-type Americans, the poor or modest, honest and hard-working fundies pinching their charity pennies to give them to Israel’s tin cup, and their blanket, knee-jerk support for Israel right or wrong, I chuckle to myself. I personally know some of these fundies. They would send their own child and yours to die for Israel in a heartbeat. Instead of Israel only getting 30% of total US foreign aid, they’d vote for giving Israel 100% of it. Meanwhile, the Israelis chuckle to themselves while pocketing the Christian Zionist cash and votes–they really laugh at those Gentiles amongst themselves because they don’t believe in any pie-in-the-sky Armageddon and that stupid fantasy revealed by the Left Behind pulp fiction industry. What’s more hilarious than dummies imagining themselves being “raptured up” to be the chosen few in the afterlife, which can never be anything but hopeful speculation? More practical to be the chosen few here on earth.

        The fundies I know never think about what’s been happening to the Palestinians–what would Jesus do? They never eve ask themselves that question; rather, whenever i pressed one on that issue, giving them tons of facts about Israel’s persistent conduct regarding the natives, the most they’d concede is “Well, there’s always a few rotten apples in the bunch.”

      • FreddyV
        FreddyV
        October 3, 2013, 10:34 am

        @Citizen:

        Have you seen With God On Our Side?

        I found this an interesting take as it points out the Palestinian issues and moral disparity between Israel’s policies and Christian theology.

      • john h
        john h
        October 3, 2013, 2:35 pm

        “their blanket, knee-jerk support for Israel right or wrong. The fundies I know never think about what’s been happening to the Palestinians–what would Jesus do?”

        Exactly, Citizen. It’s a total abuse of scripture, and an oxymoron. Israel is their idol, their golden calf. Which makes them blind people that try to serve two masters, and means they have hearts of stone.

        Jesus said: “So if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! …”.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        October 2, 2013, 5:35 pm

        @lysias In my government town Huntsville, AL, it raises a lot of questions with people who all of a sudden don’t have jobs. But the focus here locally has been framed/cloaked in the Obamacare debate.

        A LTE may be in order.

  2. edwin
    edwin
    October 2, 2013, 4:13 pm

    It is an ill wind that blows no good.

  3. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    October 2, 2013, 4:20 pm

    “Watching the video I wonder if Harf just happens to use aid to Israel as her sole example as a prompt to get AIPAC off the sidelines and pressure Congress to make a deal.”

    Bingo!
    Its so obvious that this statement is put forward by aipac.

  4. Ellen
    Ellen
    October 2, 2013, 6:14 pm

    I wonder what Eric Cantor, the US Republican Senator who has the job to bring home the bacon for Israel, is now thinking?

    Are AIPAC-ers streaming into his office right now? (Opps, the government is shutting down, how are they going to reach him? A direct line to his home in Virginia?)

    Israel is massively dependent upon welfare from the US. A “hindrance” could snowball into a delay. A delay could then turn into withholding as more acute needs here at home move in priority.

    All this because the Republicans want to keep on negotiating the Affordable Care Act, which has already gone through the legislative process.

    If Cantor is one of the first Republicans to blink, we know why.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      October 2, 2013, 9:33 pm

      US Aid to Israel is important, but it’s only 4% of Israel’s budget right? I am not saying it is not important, though. It is tons of cash every year, and probably far more in dollars not in that figure.. I just don’t know that the financial issue itself is one that would change things.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        October 3, 2013, 2:59 am

        @ W.Jones
        As per the CATO Institute, June 5, 2012:
        “Washington has provided more than $110 billion in aid over the years, not counting loan guarantees. Last year, figured Gazit, American support accounted for 1.5 percent of Israel’s GDP, 4 percent of the government’s budget and 24 percent of security outlays. Since 2008, all U.S. aid has been for the military, but money is fungible. Israel receives $3 billion annually, three-quarters of which must be used for the purchase of U.S. weapons.”

        Current loan guarantee is $9 Billion.

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      October 3, 2013, 10:33 am

      “Israel is massively dependent upon welfare from the US.”

      Just because you repeat this lie over and over again does not make it true.

  5. Bandolero
    Bandolero
    October 2, 2013, 7:01 pm

    So, the Tea Party is responsible for cutting the US subsidies for the Zionist apartheid regime.

    Is there any way to donate to the Tea Party to support them in continuing their commendable efforts?

  6. just
    just
    October 2, 2013, 9:31 pm

    Just cut off aid until they act like humans, and respect international law and the indigenous Palestinian people and others in the region………

    Yeah, and they can stop stabbing us in the back, while at the same time demanding face time and endless phone calls with our President, etc.

  7. Denis
    Denis
    October 2, 2013, 9:34 pm

    Check me if I’m wrong, but I believe GoI has a special status such that all of the money that the USG pledges to it each year goes into an account at the beginning of the year and draws interest for GoI until the money is disbursed — interest paid by the US taxpayer, of course. So GoI/AIPAC should not be too fussed by a delay in payment.

    As for the GoI/AIPAC effect on Republicans jumping ship, I also dunno’. The Republicans who are jumping ship on this are the ones in R/D borderline states like PA, NJ, and VA, not so much the Israel-firsters. Here’s HuffPo’s list of Republicans who have flipped as of Weds. evening:
    Meehan – PA
    Rigell – VA
    Runyan – NJ
    Fitzpatrick – PA
    Barletta – PA
    King – KY
    Nunes – CA
    Dent – PA
    Wolf – VA
    Grimm – NY
    Paulsen – MN
    Wittman – VA
    LiBiondo – NJ
    Forbes – VA
    Gerlach – PA
    Lance – NJ
    Simpson – ID
    Young – FL
    Diaz-Balart – FL
    Hanna – NY
    Davis – IL

    My guess is Boner is going to screw this up and Obama is going to have his Democratic House and Senate next year.

  8. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    October 2, 2013, 9:59 pm

    I thought Israel gets their 3 billion U.S. welfare check (plus billions of in kind subsidies)in one big lump sum up front at the beginning of the year. I thought the U.S. even pays interest on that money given to Israel because they get the billions in one lump sum.

    • flyod
      flyod
      October 2, 2013, 10:34 pm

      yes.
      http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~hireview/content.php?type=article&issue=spring04/&name=feith

      “The size Israel’s annual aid package is not the only measure of its strategic value to the U.S. In addition to receiving more assistance than any other country, Israel receives that assistance on exceptionally good terms. Israel is not required, as most countries are, to account for how it uses ESF. In addition, unlike most aid recipients, Israel receives its ESF and FMF as lump sum direct cash transfers within 30 days of Congress approving the aid package. The U.S. began applying these terms to Israel’s economic aid in 1979, the year of the Camp David Accords,18 and to its military aid in 1991, the year of the Gulf War. These lump sum payments allow Israel to invest the money in U.S. bonds from which it accrues interest, which does not appear in the records as part of Israel’s foreign aid allocation.19”

      and if that paragraph didn’t make you ill;

      “Israel’s use of FMF is privileged in another important way. Whereas most countries receiving FMF must spend nearly all of it procuring American military equipment, Israel may spend 26 percent of its FMF on domestic military procurement, which acts as an enormous boon to Israeli defense industries.20”

  9. radii
    radii
    October 2, 2013, 10:45 pm

    Bibi in 2003 said “in ten years” israel wouldn’t need any more U.S. money

    I concur

    Not one dollar more for israel ever

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      October 3, 2013, 3:55 am

      @ radii
      Not until the current American campaign finance system is replaced with a public-funded system. And even then, maybe not.

  10. Citizen
    Citizen
    October 3, 2013, 3:53 am

    Usual $3.1 direct aid to Israel was due Oct 1. Israel is the only country that gets their foreign aid from US on first day of the financial new year (and in total, and with interest). That may be why it was singled out by the WH spokes person, and/or, it’s an appeal by Obama to #AIPAC to pressure the stubborn GOP Tea party types, similar to why he tossed the Syria War ball to Congress.
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/shutdown-could-delay-us-military-aid-to-israel/

  11. OlegR
    OlegR
    October 3, 2013, 4:27 am

    On a brighter note

    JERUSALEM — A French diplomat involved in a physical altercation with Israeli soldiers last week will end her duties and leave Israel before the end of the year, local media reported Friday.

    http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-france-israel-diplomat-20130927,0,4669273.story

    Apparently her government didn’t think she was doing a very good job…

    • Taxi
      Taxi
      October 3, 2013, 10:47 am

      Or maybe she didn’t like looking at ugly idf terrorist in occupied Palestine every single damn day.

      Hey moderator, Oleg’s post shoulda been spiked, not published: completely off topic; and gleefully jackboot-trolling.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        October 3, 2013, 12:21 pm

        “Hey moderator, Oleg’s post shoulda been spiked, not published: completely off topic; and gleefully jackboot-trolling.”

        If posting off topic, jackboot-trolling stuff was a basis for banning, our Russian squatter would have been banned long ago. (And should have been, too.)

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        October 3, 2013, 10:27 pm

        Woody,

        I’m just reminding the moderator of MW’s Comment Policy rules, specifically rule number 6:
        6. No trolling. Wikipedia defines trolling as “someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response.” That definition is good enough for us. We hope our comment section can feature an engaged and free flowing debate, but we are not interested in commenters whose only aim is to disrupt or sabotage the discussion.
        http://mondoweiss.net/policy

        If it behaves like a troll, talks like a troll, then it must be an oleg.

    • Sumud
      Sumud
      October 3, 2013, 10:56 am

      Oleg you are a liar, from the very article you link to:

      Israel’s Ministry of Foreign affairs threatened a strong response, reportedly declaring the attache persona non-grata, removing her diplomatic immunity and expelling her from the country.

      No mention of any French Government dissatisfaction with her performance, in fact…

      The incident angered the European Union, whose policy chief Catherine Ashton criticized the confiscation of humanitarian aid and demanded explanations from Israel.

    • talknic
      talknic
      October 3, 2013, 11:29 am

      OlegR “Apparently her government didn’t think she was doing a very good job…”

      There’s nothing in the article about any French Govt dissatisfaction with her

      Again you afford honest readers the opportunity to witness the dishonesty of an avid supporter of Israel’s crimes.

  12. lysias
    lysias
    October 3, 2013, 10:45 am

    Walter Pincus of all people has a column in today’s Washington Post calling for Israel to get rid of her nukes as part of a deal to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone. Fineprint: A new approach for Israel?

    Pincus usually reflects the views of American intelligence and military communities.

  13. anthonybellchambers
    anthonybellchambers
    October 3, 2013, 10:51 am

    Israel now beyond US control although still receiving $6 billion in aid and loan guarantees

    The state of Israel is now estimated to have built a covert nuclear arsenal containing between 300-400 nuclear warheads – larger than anything in Europe – all completely outside the inspection of the IAEA, because Israel is one of the only states in the world that refuses to be a party to the nuclear (NPT) Non Proliferation Treaty.

    It also refuses to be a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) which prohibit the use of these WMD.

    Furthermore, Israel is now assumed to be patrolling the waters of both southern Europe and the Gulf with a covert fleet of German supplied submarines armed with cruise missiles.

    Let the world be aware. Nuclear armed Israel, outside of the IAEA, is the greatest single threat to world peace in this 21st century. It is also now outside the control of the US notwithstanding its continued receipt of military and civil ‘aid’.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 3, 2013, 11:44 am

      “Let the world be aware. Nuclear armed Israel, outside of the IAEA, is the greatest single threat to world peace in this 21st century.”

      Certainly one of the biggest threats.

  14. Tom Callaghan
    Tom Callaghan
    October 3, 2013, 1:01 pm

    In Bibi’s speech to the General Assembly he stated that “Israel is a vibrant thriving nation.”

    There is no doubt about that. The strength of Israel’s economy is confirmed by IMF statistics.

    Given those facts, it’s wrong on its face for Israel to draw such a huge percentage of the US foreign assistance funding. Israel receives more from us than all the countries in Africa combined where starvation and disease are epidemic.

    It’s time for Israel to stand on its own two feet. If Bibi was a mench, he’d notify President Obama that Israel will not accept its annual aid payment and that he hopes that some of that money will be allocated to countries far less fortunate than Israel.

    What do you suppose the chances of that happening are?

    http://www.wednesdayswars.com

  15. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    October 4, 2013, 9:29 am

    In the normal world, the kind of announcement she made would just be routine or not even need to be said at all. I guess we don’t live in that world.

  16. MRW
    MRW
    October 5, 2013, 3:50 pm

    October 2, Marie Harf, US State Department

    FY 2014 security assistance funding for Israel will be delayed until a continuing resolution or until full-year appropriation is passed.

    October 3, John Boehner, US Speaker of the House

    Boehner Pledges to Avoid Default, Republicans Say
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/04/us/politics/debt-limit-impasse.html?_r=0

    That was fast.

  17. anthonybellchambers
    anthonybellchambers
    October 6, 2013, 5:00 am

    America’s infantile politics are due in no small measure to how the Americans interpret the meaning of democracy. The accepted definition of democracy has been generally understood to be government by the people, of the people and for the people.
    However, because the American electorate are, in the main, wholly apathetic in its defence of democratic principles, it has allowed its government to be hijacked by powerful, privately-financed lobby groups who pay members of congress to adhere to self-interested political, military and financial agendas.
    It does not require a doctorate in political philosophy to realise that this is government by lobbyists for their paymasters and not government by the people for the people. When lobbies such as AIPAC openly admit to vetting members of congress to ensure that they comply with the foreign agenda of AIPAC to succeed in their election or re-election, then it is clear that the system has become corrupt.
    The principle of democracy is the genuine representation of the interests, welfare and security of ordinary people in the government of their country and not the representation of the interests of a foreign state. Like a cuckoo in a nest, lobbyists in the United States take advantages for their masters, often overseas, that rightly belong to the ordinary people of America.
    That makes a travesty of the concept of democracy and freedom for which so many millions – including Americans – died during WW2 and subsequently.
    Mature politics need mature statesmen, not puppets who readily appear before meetings of lobbyists to do their bidding at the drop of a hat whenever so instructed.

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