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Former AIPAC official says Israel should get no US aid without ending ‘oppressive’ settlements

on 37 Comments

Here is another sign that what had been quiet disagreement between American Jews and Israel is breaking out in the open, thanks to the approaching jubilee year of the occupation. Citing “nearly half a century” of occupation, a former AIPAC official comes out for conditioning US aid to Israel on that country agreeing to freeze its illegal settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. He says forthrightly that Israel’s “oppressive and discriminatory settlement policies in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem continue unabated.”

Greg Slabodkin, of Buffalo, is described as “a former opposition researcher for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee,” or AIPAC, in his piece in the Hill. The article is pegged to the news that the Obama administration is going to sign an aid package with Israel giving it $40 billion over ten years, “the biggest U.S. military aid package ever given to any country.”

Under Netanyahu’s watch, Israel clearly has no intention of ending its occupation. Consequently, the United States should be exerting pressure on Israel to persuade the Netanyahu government to abandon its settlement activities, not rewarding the Jewish state with increased military aid.

The Obama administration should make it clear that there are strings attached to U.S. aid and that Israel’s failure to comply with a settlement freeze will have financial penalties.

Slabodkin is for the two-state solution, but he repeatedly slams the “occupation.” Recall that the Democratic Party was incapable of even mentioning the occupation in its party platform.

His piece includes a jab at Netanyahu as a madman:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently formed the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, has driven U.S.-Israel relations to their lowest point in a generation by undermining the prospects for peace with the Palestinians by entrenching the Israeli occupation, which has lasted nearly half a century.

Clearly the Israeli discourse and the U.S. Jewish discourse are feeding one another here. Centrist Israeli Zionists like Moshe Ya’alon and Yitzhak Herzog have been so openly critical of the fascistic political culture in Israel that they are giving American Jews power to speak out.

Daniel Birnbaum, the American-born head of SodaStream, has also issued an attack on Netanyahu to the Times of Israel, saying that Netanyahu has encouraged the “evil manifestations” of the conflict between Palestinians and Jews.

It pains me to say that I believe this administration is nurturing the conflict in all its evil manifestations. They nurture the hate and the boycott and they nurture separatism.

Birnbaum says that Netanyahu made certain that 74 SodaStream workers could not get permits to travel from the West Bank to the Negev to work for his company so that Netanyahu could blame the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) for their unemployment.

Bibi [Netanyahu] is systematically spreading hate within Israel between Jews and Arabs and between Orthodox and secular.

With such a separatist track record, it’s no wonder that he won’t embrace a straightforward solution to lower the flames and build a bridge to coexistence. Apparently our 74 Palestinians represent a threat to his agenda.

This is very much what Yakov Hirsch wrote here some weeks ago, that Israelis are flipping out over Netanyahu’s nihilist Zionism, which offers no path to a peaceful future and embraces a fascistic ideology that Palestinians just want to kill Jews.

Yet another sign that Israel is cracking apart. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called President Obama a Neville Chamberlain, for a deal the world made a year ago. What is Jeffrey Goldberg going to say?

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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37 Responses

  1. Emory Riddle on August 5, 2016, 1:01 pm

    Can someone explain to me why the American taxpayer should shell out several billion dollars per year to Israel in any event? Do we have to bribe them to adhere to international law?…something they refuse to do anyway yet the dollars keep flowing.

    Here’s a novel idea: Eff them. Shut off the spigot. If it were up to me I would also demand repayment of the tens (millions) of billions in gifts we have already given them.

    • Emory Riddle on August 5, 2016, 3:26 pm

      Hell, this Zionist Lite wants the aid continued if Israel only freezes new settlements. Does not even want to ask them to follow international law which would require a right of return for the Palestinians and a dismantling of all settlements.

      • Doubtom on August 6, 2016, 12:57 pm

        I can explain it clearly Emory, it’s because we, the American people, have no say in the matter. For a truly “novel idea”, start a movement to allow the American people to vote on whether or not we should be sending billions of our scarce dollars each and every year into eternity. As long as our ‘bought and paid for’ Congress of whores does the voting the outcome will remain the same. The Jewish lobbies control our Congress and by extension our government. Time to wake up America! Let the American people decide if we have a “special relationship” with this rogue state or if it’s really an expression of the Jewish lobbies’ propaganda.

      • brent on August 7, 2016, 12:47 am

        It would be helpful to frame the settlement program as a continuing pattern of “acquiring territory by force”.

      • Cazador on August 8, 2016, 4:15 am

        «and a dismantling of all settlements.»

        We should not dismantle all the settlements! Instead, we should give them to all returning Palestinians, and Gazans, as a payback for the theft, hardship they’ve been victims of for so long while in their overcrowded refugee camps, their open-air prison… And make sure both left Palestinian territories (out of the original UN partitioned three) are interlinked and not divided as apartheid ghettos zionist style anymore. That fascist zionist Israeli project should not be allowed to be above the law, the international law, the human rights…

    • Kay24 on August 5, 2016, 5:16 pm

      This time that charity package is HUGE. Obama has got insulted, disrespected, and keeps being treated like dirt by the king of zionists, and various others, yet he seem compelled to keep our money flowing over there. It would be very interesting to know too, exactly why we keep sending so much to a piddling little nation that occupies, steals lands, breaks international laws that they have agreed and sign on, attacks its neighbors (unlike Iran) and basically has been a ally of the parasitic kind. They do not send their precious (and supposedly well trained) IDF to fight along our armed forces, and they have also been spying and lying to us. With an ally like this who needs enemies

      • hophmi on August 5, 2016, 5:59 pm

        It isn’t “charity.”. Get. A. Clue.

      • Mr.T on August 5, 2016, 6:43 pm

        “It isn’t “charity.'”

        You’re right. It’s parasitism.

      • Kay24 on August 5, 2016, 6:49 pm

        Here’s a real clue Hoppy:

        “AID does not term economic aid to Israel as development assistance, but instead uses the term “economic support funding.” Given Israel’s relative prosperity, U.S. aid to Israel is becoming increasingly controversial. In 1994, Yossi Beilen, deputy foreign minister of Israel and a Knesset member, told the Women’s International Zionist organization, “If our economic situation is better than in many of your countries, how can we go on asking for your charity?”

        Don’t like it eh?

      • Eric on August 5, 2016, 8:16 pm

        Well of course Uncle Tom turns the other cheek and writes a fat cheque after wiping the spittle off his face. He wants a lucrative speaking career after leaving office and doesn’t want to be unemployable like Jimmy Carter. Integrity = no cash flow.

      • inbound39 on August 5, 2016, 9:26 pm

        What gets me is Netanyahu et al have bragged many times how prosperous Israel is and that it doesn’t need AID from America and then when the issue of renegotiating AID comes up Israel pushes for an increase and comes up with all the justifications under the sun as to why they need it. It is high time Americans confronted their delegates and told them no more money to Israel. They cannot have it both ways. It seems the American Government is happy to let Israeli’s live off the fat of the land at the expense of American taxpayers. When you look at the billions America has given Israel which it undisputably uses in the main part to maintain an illegal occupation and illegal settlements and intolerable subjugation of Palestinians it is clear that the Two State policy the American Government states it says is important is in actuality unimportant.

      • Kay24 on August 6, 2016, 7:31 am

        Inbound, the majority of Americans are totally ignorant about the facts. The zionists loving media makes sure that these facts are not mentioned, and not one in the MSM has any coverage of the amounts we keep sending, and the implications of sending the LARGEST AMOUNT of aid and weapons to this occupying nation. If the media covered this like they cover Drumpf’s gaffs, the American people would be making a huge fuss about it by now. The media also keeps implying that the zionist nation is a victim, and polls have shown that many think Israel is occupied. If anyone takes a look at our media, they can easily see why our nation keeps the Israeli propaganda going, and the words “occupation” and “Illegal settlements” are never mentioned.

        Take a look at the Chairman of CBS Leslie Moonves, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation, for example:

        “Moonves is a great-nephew of David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel.[35][36]

        Americans do not have a chance of ever being told the truth.

      • inbound39 on August 6, 2016, 10:03 am

        I understand Kay…similar happens here and in Aussie. Not much is said about events in Israel and Palestine though when major events like Cast Lead and Protective Edge occur we get good coverage then. As for Peace Process stuff it is very short and sweet and more or less mentioned in Passing. What woke the Kiwi’s up was just after John Key took office as PM here he quietly reopened the Israeli Embassy. It was closed by the previous government after Mossad Agents were caught illegally making NZ Passports from deceased peoples names. Then the Dead Sea cosmetic crew staffed by settlers arrived in NZ and they began ripping off and clearing out the bank accounts of Pensioners and those who were mentally ill. They nearly got lynched and John Key and his government ummed and ahhhed but it was the people of NZ who drove the Dead Sea staff out of NZ. They left in such a hurry they left flats and homes as they were and abandoned their property and boarded planes and left. They tossed the keys of rental cars away and house keys to flats etc. Israeli’s are not liked here.

      • Kay24 on August 6, 2016, 2:26 pm

        Inbound it must be nice to live among people who GET IT. Thank you for that very interesting perspective, and how these “nice” people creep into nations, and try to dupe them in many ways.

        We have had our share of these criminals too.

        Israel is always a devious nation up to no good.

    • Doubtom on August 6, 2016, 12:47 pm

      Here’s another novel idea, let’s let the American people ‘vote ‘on whether or not we should be shelling out billions of our scarce dollars each every year into eternity, instead of

  2. Boomer on August 5, 2016, 2:31 pm

    It’s good that you find and report on positive developments. But for perspective, people should also read this, which paints another picture of American Jewish reaction, which seems to be the version that dominates U.S. policy:

  3. John Douglas on August 5, 2016, 3:01 pm

    THE $40 Billion out of the pockets of American workers is not an “aid” package because Israel does not need it. It is not a “military” aid package because money is fungible. If we give them $1 Billion in fighter jets that’s just $1 Billion they won’t have to spend on the fighter jets. It’s political extortion money that’s used to settle land that’s not theirs. Of course it’s also a huge welfare payment to the American arms industry, since it assures that Israel will buy from US manufacturers.

    • inbound39 on August 5, 2016, 9:29 pm

      Again if the Two State policy of the America Government was important they would cut the AID to force compliance….The Occupation would come to a swift end.

    • CigarGod on August 6, 2016, 9:01 am

      Just who are these U.S. Arms Manufacturers?
      What are their affiliations?

  4. jd65 on August 5, 2016, 4:23 pm

    Former AIPAC official says…

    This reminds of the regular “Former U.S. military generals/officials say…,” or the classic Scott McClellan “Former White House press secretary’s book…” These people never have the stones to speak out when it matters. They wait ’til after the damage is done because they don’t wanna jeopardize their precious jobs and income. And then they want credit for being after-the-fact whistleblowers. Makes me sick…

  5. Kay24 on August 5, 2016, 6:53 pm

    Time America’s top richest pro Israel zionaires stepped in and helped their fatherland.
    We have families in dire straits here, and don’t need to supply Israel with aid and weapons.

    Meet America’s Top 20 “Zionaires”: Billionaires Who Support Israel


    • annie on August 5, 2016, 10:11 pm

      oh heavens, zionaires! — if we wrote that article ther’d be howling accusations of anti semitism from the usual suspects in comments and flying all across the innertubes from the hasbrats as well. we might have even gotten picked up by bradley burston at haaretz!

      • inbound39 on August 5, 2016, 11:07 pm

        lol…that’s made my day.

      • echinococcus on August 6, 2016, 12:50 am

        More urgently, one should honor the guys who gave us this handy list of US and international businesses to boycott! Thank you, “Breaking Israel”. Good program.
        Some of these giants are really vulnerable.
        Just for the little guy or gal-individual consumer, “Slim Fast”, “Victoria’s Secret”, “Dell Computers”, “Hobby Lobby” , “Marvel Entertainment”, Saban movies or “Home Depot” shouldn’t be too hard.

      • Mooser on August 6, 2016, 8:15 pm

        “Abra Forman is the Managing Editor of Breaking Israel News. A native New Yorker, she moved to Israel in 2011 after participating in the inspiring program Livnot and experiencing kibbutz life in the North. Abra completed a B.A. in English Literature at Binghamton University in 2009. After making aliyah, she studied Hebrew at Hadassah College and then earned a Master’s degree, also in English Literature, from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she has lived for four years.”

        And a real smart cookie. Always ready to fight the old stereotypes about Jews and money.

      • Kay24 on August 6, 2016, 10:43 pm

        I do think it is an appropriate description and should be used more often.

        There is nothing anti-semitic about it, but I agree there would be the usual howls of outrage by the hasbara gnats.

    • bryan on August 7, 2016, 4:07 am

      Interesting to see Donald Trump sneaking into the top 10 Zionnaires, but whereas others in the list have given millions in donations, there is not a single gift mentioned for the Donald, just the holding of honorific positions and cheer-leading for Netanyahu. Is DT one of the business and philanthropic masters of the universe or is he just a self-serving, self-aggrandizing, cheap-skate bull-shitter-in-chief.

  6. Boomer on August 6, 2016, 6:38 am

    My perspective on the “aid” package was changed a bit by an informative Reuters report by Patricia Zengerie and Dan Williams, which I saw in Haaretz, not in a U.S. publication.

    I had foolishly wondered if Mr. Obama was holding out for some token gesture on behalf of the Palestinians before approving the deal. Now I understand how naive I was. No one (who matters) cares about Palestinians.

    The real dispute evidently was how much of the American money should be given to the American military complex, versus the Israeli military complex that has prospered on American money. It appears that Israel will graciously accept more money from the U.S. and will graciously agree to spend more of our money here. How gracious, how generous, how noble are these Israelis!

    The article presents interesting historical background, and is worth reading in full. An excerpt and link follow:

    “Raising hopes for removal of a key sticking point, Israel has signaled it may accept the Obama administration’s demand that U.S. military funds, until now spent partly on Israeli arms, will eventually be spent entirely on U.S.-made weapons, according to congressional sources.

    “It would mark a major concession by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after months of tense negotiations over the 10-year aid pact.”

    PS: further background is available here, but behind a paywall:

    • Citizen on August 6, 2016, 5:50 pm

      Up to the present negotiations on how much to give Israel over the next decade, the formula has been that 26% of the annual direct aid has gone directly to subsidize Israel’s very own Weapons industry, which directly compete with our own Weapons industry. No other country gets such a deal, nor do we pay interest to any other country on the aid we give them. If Dick and Jane really new the specifics on US aid to Israel, the phones at all congressional offices would be ringing off the hook–like they did when Obama was about to attack Syria (when Putin saved Obama’s ass). Even more so if Dick & Jane got a good gander at our very first FTA, the lopsided 1985 one with Israel, a product of American Jewish spying on our own negotiation team’s plans, and given them to Israel’s team in advance, along with all the particulars on our involved corporations . Not to mention, Dick & Jane know zilch about how we underwrite Israel’s debt, enhancing Israel’s credit .

      • Boomer on August 7, 2016, 1:01 pm

        re “nor do we pay interest to any other country on the aid we give them”


        A new concept for me. High finance, I guess. Some really creative minds at work!

  7. inbound39 on August 6, 2016, 10:11 am

    I also saw on Haaretz that World Vision has come out and said that based on the information the Israeli’s have given them and based on what they have said they have no reason to believe Halabi has done anything wrong and they still support him. So the Israeli wheels are getting a bit wobbly on their accusations. Hopefully it will backfire big time. Setting up World Vision on a fraudulent charge will not go down well in the bible belt in the US.

  8. James Canning on August 6, 2016, 1:20 pm

    Sadly, the US continues to encourage Israel’s insane illegal colonisation programme in the occupied West Bank (and Golan Heights). This illegal programme badly injures the best interests of the US in the Middle East.

  9. Neil Schipper on August 6, 2016, 8:22 pm

    Phillip Weiss misconstrues Greg Slabodkin’s piece as “another sign” of something that is “breaking”. Here is Mr. Slabodkin articulating a similar left-liberal anti-AIPAC line nearly seven years ago, and in the same publication.

    • Mooser on August 7, 2016, 12:55 pm

      “Neil Schipper” you know what Phil is like- he tries to think the best he can of everyone.
      Thank you for pointing out what a useless hypocrite Greg Slabodkin is.

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