Will Budget ‘Cuts’ Impact US Aid to Israel?
by Justin Raimondo, March 29, 2013
Given the kind of society we have become – a country of whining spoiled brats who have been living above our means for years – every special interest group is up in arms over the alleged tragedy known as Sequestration. While these automatic across-the-board spending cuts are portrayed as nothing less than draconian by various lobbyists and their congressional sock puppets, in reality these are not even real cuts as you and I understand them, but merely cuts in projected spending increases. Like the temperature in Hell, the imperative in Washington is that spending must always increase: “austerity” means the tempo has momentarily slackened.
From military contractors to the academic establishment, all the lobbyists are crying bloody murder: we are told air traffic controllers will be taken off duty, and hospitals are warning of cuts to vital services. Some of these cuts will hit hardest those who can afford it least: the very poorest of the poor. In this atmosphere, one would think a foreign lobby would be more discreet about calling for an exemption in the foreign aid category. However, in the case of AIPAC, the biggest pro-Israel lobby in Washington, subtlety is not at the top of their agenda.
At the beginning of this month, AIPAC’s annual conference featured a Capitol Hill blitz, in which thousands of pro-Israel activists descended on Washington to pressure Congress to exempt Israel from the cuts. This was coupled with a demand that Congress vote to designate the Jewish state a “major strategic ally,” a characterization meant to divorce aid to Israel from the general foreign aid budget and put it in a special category of its own. After all, that’s what the “special relationship” is all about – right?
As Tim Carney points out, the corporate bunch affectionately known as the Military-Industrial Complex have a big stake in all this: two-thirds of the $3.1 billion in annual aid to Israel must be spent in the United States. US arms manufacturers reap the profits, and the Israelis get free stuff. Yet Carney is wrong about whose lobbying efforts make the difference in this case: I don’t think Lockheed-Martin could mobilize thousands of people to descend on Capitol Hill the way AIPAC, or Christians United for Israel, can.
According to Israel Hayom, the most widely read Israeli newspaper, Tel Aviv has already been granted special treatment: instead of the expected 8 percent across the board cut all other federal programs will suffer under sequestration, the Israelis were recently assured by the White House that their share will amount to only 5 percent.