June 30th, 2016

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The US/Israel Military Aid Negotiations -- Food For Thought And What Obama Actually Said.

So Israel and the U.S. are renegotiating the arms aid package.Please note that by a law passed by Congress in 2010, US aid to Israel is settled at $3.5 billion/yr until 2020.

This has prompted some serious misunderstanding (a) of what Obama actually has said, and (b) what the US actually gets out of the deal.

This article from Bloomberg is a more fact specific and clarifies a bunch of stuff.

Contrary to what many progressives keep hoping, this is not about actually reducing the total amount of money the US would give Israel from 2020 to 2029. The provision holding up the deal is that right now, Israel gets to take 26% of this aid and spend it domestically. Obama wants to get rid of that provision. Instead of spending roughly 75% in the U.S., Israel would spend 100% in the U.S.

However, military aid to Israel is not merely an act of charity, as most imagine. In exchange, the U.S. gets a number of direct specific benefits.

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To wrap things up, ‘cause this got way too long.

(a)    Obama is not proposing cutting the dollar amount of aid to Israel. He simply wants to stop subsidizing the Israeli military/industrial complex and use that money to subsidize our domestic military/industrial complex.

(b)    U.S. military aid to Israel is not free money to Israel from which the U.S. gets nothing. It’s complicated. Whether we get $3.5 billion worth of benefit is something to debate, but it’s not flushing $3.5 billion we would spend elsewhere down the drain, either.

(c)    It’s not anywhere near certain that cutting the aid budget would have a positive impact on the region, or even on the PA.

None of which is a killer argument for those who don’t like Israel’s policies. Lots of people think we should cut off aid to countries that we don’t feel abide by human rights standards, so if you think Israel is not behaving properly and therefore think the U.S. should punish it, cool. Just don’t go all “Leave Campaign” and act like there are no consequences.