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.”
“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.”
“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.”