Wednesday, November 10, 2010

most favored nation: part 1

How much do Americans know about the special place Israel holds among nations when it comes to United States aid?

Consider the following facts, from 2007, taken from The Israel Lobby, chapter 1: "The Great Benefactor".

Israel gets $3 billion in direct foreign assistance each year (1/6th of the US direct foreign assistance budget, it is equal to 2% of Israel's GDP)

75% of this is military aid

this aid amounts to $500/year per Israeli (Egypt gets $20 per person, Pakistan get $5 and Haiti gets $27)

Congress adds more from time to time in one-off assistance bills

The conditions under which the aid is granted are exceptional. The entire amount is given in a lump sum within 30 days of the beginning of each FY - no other country gets this deal. As a result, the US must borrow the money up front and Israel gets to invest it until it is spent.

Israel gets US surplus military gear for free or heavily discounted - up to $250 million worth per year in equipment for which the US taxpayer has paid in full.

Military aid is officially given as loans, at Israel's request because grants require U.S. oversight. But then the repayments are waived so the loans effectively become grants, but with no oversight. This is called having your cake and eating it too. Americans would object to this even on money spent in the U.S. for the benefit of Americans.

In 2009 Israel received $7 million per day in military aid

With foreign military financing, unlike for other countries, Israel doesn't have to spend it in the US. Up to 25% can be spent in Israel, subsidizing the Israeli arms industry - which in 2004, was the world's 8th largest.

Israel is the ONLY recipient of US aid that doesn't have to account for how aid money is spent, making it impossible for the US to prevent it being used for purposes it opposes, i.e. the settlements.

The US gives loan guarantees for Israel so that it can borrow at lower interest rates.

An estimated $2 billion in private donations is received annually by Israel from American citizens, roughly half in cash and half in State of Israel bonds. Many private donations are tax deductible in the US. Because there is no US monitoring of how the money is used in Israel, mis-appropriation is easily accomplished.

Egypt and Jordan are #2 and #3 recipients of US aid - being paid to lay off Israel, so it would be reasonable to attribute this money as aid to Israel as well.

ALL THIS to a country that is 28th in the world in per capita income (2009 per the IMF)

This has gone on for years and continues to take place. It goes on regardless of economic conditions in the U.S. or Israel. Why do we Americans allow it? It is because we aren't paying attention so the lobby gets it's way.

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