Is Israel an ally to the U.S.? We know what the politicians have to say about U.S.-Israel relations, but what do the facts say? Here are a few issues to consider:
1. The War in Iraq
Israel has not provided any troops to the “coalition” of countries engaged in the Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom), although former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Israel lobby pressured the U.S. to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein prior to the March 2003 invasion. The invasion and occupation of Iraq since 2003 has cost more than four thousand American lives and more than $500 billion.
John J. Mearsheimer, political science professor at the University of Chicago, and Stephen M. Walt, international affairs professor at Harvard University wrote in “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy“:
“Pressure from Israel and the [pro-Israel] Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure… Within the United States, the main driving force behind the Iraq war was a small band of neoconservatives, many with close ties to Israel’s Likud Party. In addition, key leaders of the Lobby’s major organizations lent their voices to the campaign for war.”
Months before the Iraq invasion, retired four-star US Army General Wesley Clark acknowledged in an interview: “Those who favor this attack [by the US against Iraq] now will tell you candidly, and privately, that it is probably true that Saddam Hussein is no threat to the United States. But they are afraid at some point he might decide if he had a nuclear weapon to use it against Israel.”
2. Foreign Aid
According to The Israel Lobby, “Total direct US aid to Israel amounts to well over $140 billion in 2003 dollars. Israel receives about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance each year.” That is far more money than any other country in the world, despite’s Israel’s status as a relatively wealthy nation.
The following in an excerpt from “Unusual Partnership,” by Daryoush Bavar (May 17, 2009)
Dr. Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, says, “The US aid relationship with Israel is unlike any other in the world… In sheer volume, the amount is the most generous foreign aid program ever between any two countries…”
Despite a crippling financial crisis which has hard hit the US economy, Washington has no plans to halt its foreign aid. On May 5, 2009, Ynetnewsquoted the outgoing Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Salai Meridor, as saying that the White House recently asked the Congress to approve a $2.775 billion military aid to Israel as part of the 2010 budget plan.
Despite the economic downturn, the Obama administration has no plans nullify the Bush administration’s commitment to provide Israel with aid for 10 years, starting in 2009. As part of the aid, Israel will receive $2.5 billion in 2009, $2.775 billion in 2010, and in 2011 the sum will reach $3 billion. In total, the military aid is slated to reach some $30 billion until 2019.
America’s excessive military aid to Israel has brought more instability and violence to the Middle East, a region that has been plagued by violence and bloodshed for the past six decades.
Israel’s deadly 22-day war on the Gaza Strip that killed over 1400 Palestinians, many of women and children, is an example of how emboldened Israel will become when Washington continues to profusely provide it with massive military and political assistance.
During the onslaught, Israel was charged with massive war crimes and human rights violations. Massive anti-protests that erupted worldwide during Israel’s onslaught against both the Washington and Tel Aviv, indicate that the US, Israel’s chief ally, is seen as culpable for the alleged crime as well.
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) says, “The US military aid to Israel has a dramatic effect on Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians. It has increasingly been used not to pay for defense but to finance the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.”
Two former CIA analysts Kathleen and Bill Christison say as long as Israel can rest assured that it is guaranteed billions of worth of annual US arms aid, it will not make peace with Palestinians. This is while, some observers say Washington, by committing itself to giving economic, military and political assistance to Israel, is undermining the peace agreement it is trying to promote.
3. The War in Afghanistan
Israel has never had any troops fighting the with the U.S. in “Operation Enduring Freedom,” the U.S. counter-terrorism campaign that began in Afganistan in 2001. Since this war began, 682American troops have been killed. Obama recently ordered a “surge” of 17,000 additional U.S. troops into Afghanistan.
4. Israeli Spies in the U.S.
Jonathon Pollard received a life sentence in 1987 for espionage. In 1998, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu publicly admitted that Pollard was a spy for Israel.
In 1998, President Clinton initially agreed to release Pollard. However, he was soon compelled to withdraw his offer when CIA Director George Tenet threatened to resign. Four past directors of Naval intelligence wrote a response to the Washington Post:
||We… feel obligated to go on record with the facts regarding Pollard in order to dispel the myths that have arisen from this clever public relations campaign… aimed at transforming Pollard from greedy, arrogant betrayer of the American national trust in to Pollard, committed Israeli patriot
||Pollard pleaded guilty and therefore never was publicly tried. Thus, the American people never came to know that he offered classified information to three other countries before working for the Israelis and that he offered his services to a fourth country while he was spying for Israel. They also never came to understand that he was being highly paid for his services….
||Pollard and his apologists argue he turned over to the Israelis information they were being denied that was critical to their security. The fact is, however, Pollard had no way of knowing what the Israeli government was already receiving by way of official intelligence exchange agreements…. Some of the data he compromised had nothing to do with Israeli security or even with the Middle East. He betrayed worldwide intelligence data, including sources and methods developed at significant cost to the U.S. taxpayer. As a result of his perfidy, some of those sources are lost forever
Casper Weinberger, in his opposition to a reduced sentence for Pollard, described the damage to the United States incurred by Pollard: “[It is] difficult to conceive of a greater harm to national security than that caused by… Pollard’s treasonous behavior.”
Pollard is only one example of Israel’s systematic policy of espionage in the U.S. Mark Rivero (May 4, 2009) enumerates a long list of covert Israeli operations within the U.S. that have gone public in the article “Israeli Spying: The Mother of all Scandals.” The list begins in 1947 and extends into the present time with a disturbing consistency. Israeli government officials and correspondents generally get away unscathed, at the cost of the American taxpayers.
5. U.S.S. Liberty
On June 8, 1967, US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty was suddenly and brutally attacked on the high seas in international waters by the air and naval forces of Israel. The Israeli forces attacked with full knowledge that this was an American ship and lied about it. Survivors have been forbidden for 40 years to tell their story under oath to the American public. The USS Liberty Memorial web site tells their story and is dedicated to the memory of the 34 brave men who died. (excerpt below)
||We are frequently asked, “Why did Israel attack?”
||Israel’s motive is irrelevant. They did it. They admit they did it. If motive were a factor, then Charles Manson should be released from prison because no one knows his precise motive for mass murder.
||Still, they must have has some reason to attack. What plausible motive could they have had?
||We were an intelligence ship and the Israelis were doing something that they did not want the US to know about. One popular writer of Jewish fear-literature, John Loftus, writes in “The Secret War Against the Jews” (a Jewish version of The Turner Diaries) that Israel attacked deliberately because Israeli authorities believed that USS Liberty was relaying Israeli war plans to Egypt in order to assure the destruction of the Jewish State. That is patently ridiculous, but widely accepted even in Israel. Loftus claims to have documented his position through interviews with long lists of “retired old spies” whom he refuses to identify. While Loftus may be correct about Israeli paranoia, he is totally wrong about Liberty’s mission. Liberty’s primary mission was to collect intelligence on the Soviet forces in the area. The ship didn’t even have a qualified Hebrew linguist aboard.
||What other reason might they have had for attacking?
||Some of those reasons sound far fetched. Is there any proof to substantiate them?
6. The Israel Lobby and Dual Citizenship (Israeli-American) of American Principals
You are probably already aware that AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) is the most powerful foreign lobby in Washington D.C. But did you know that many powerful American officials are Israeli citizens? Or that Israel is the only country for which the U.S. allows dual citizenship? The 1940 Nationality Act, which prohibits dual citizenship, was altered in 1967 (Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253) to allow an Israeli citizen dual citizenship, as long as he never intended to lose his American citizenship by voting in an Israeli election. Since then, many Israeli citizens have acquired many powerful governmental positions in the U.S.
Some examples are Michael Mukasey (former U.S. Attorney General), Michael Chertoff (former head of Homeland Security), Richard Perle (former chairman of Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, with a very shady history), Paul Wolfowitz (Former Deputy Defense Secretary, member of Perle’s Defense Policy Board), Lawrence Franklin (sentenced to more than 12 years in prison in 2006 for giving classified information to an Israeli diplomat and members of AIPAC), and many, many others. These officials have a consistent tendency of putting Israel’s interests before the United States’, which is why the 1940 Nationality Act was initially ratified.
A much more thorough exploration of the effects of dual (Israeli and American) citizenship in the U.S. government, along with many more examples of powerful Israeli citizens in the U.S. government, can be found in the article: “Dual Citizenship — Loyal to Whom?” by Dan Eden.
Clearly, the U.S. is an ally to Israel. Just as obvious is the fact that Israel is not much of an ally to the U.S. The “close ties” between the two countries are largely exagerrated by the media and politicians who rely on AIPAC’s influence. Thanks to scholars like John Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, the truth is finally coming to light.
References not linked above:
“IDF General Gilad: No Israeli troops in western Iraq.” UJA Confederation of Greater Toronto. April 2, 2003.(http://www.jewishtoronto.com/page.aspx?id=41884)
Weber, Mark. “Iraq: A War for Israel.” Institute for Historical Review. March, 2008. (http://www.ihr.org/leaflets/iraqwar.shtml)
Mearsheimer, John J. and Stephen M. Walt, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” March 2006, pages 29, 30, 32.(http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011/$File/rwp_06_011_walt.pdf).
The Guardian (London), August 20, 2002.