Thursday, May 19, 2011

End aid to Israel

By Bob Confer

Last week’s column addressed the need to end foreign aid based on our ongoing, wrongheaded support of despotic regimes like those in Egypt and nations, like Pakistan, that have ended up being traitorous to us.

The discussion shouldn’t end there. Aid should be terminated as well for nations widely considered to be our beloved allies. Case in point, Israel. It receives the most in American aid and since 1949 we’ve donated more than $119 billion (most of it militaristic in nature) for an average of $1.9 billion per year. As if that wasn’t enough, it was announced in 2009 that the US would be increasing aid to the Israelis and they would receive $30 billion over this decade.

It’s not as if Israel needs it. The nation of 7.7 million people strong is one of the healthier economies on the planet and certainly one of the most advanced in southwest Asia. It has a gross domestic product of $219 billion, which places it 49th in the world, a stellar ranking for one so small.

So why do we do it? There are a few reasons in the minds of those who orchestrate our benevolence, ranging from moral to strategic to religious.

Many say that we have a moral obligation to protect one of our only true friends in the Middle East, a Westernized nation located amongst a fractured mess of ill-minded countries that hope to do harm – and have done harm - to them, us and the rest of the modernized world. Supposedly, as an added benefit, we can secure a military ally who can fight alongside us (if not offer us a base of operations) in the future when we “need” to take on the Middle East for whatever reason exists at that time (oil, nukes, terrorism, etc.).

More truthfully, our reasons are quite different. As a general rule, Americans don’t seem to mind - and often demand -our government’s intrusion into Middle Eastern affairs via Israel based on purely religious reasons. Jews and Christians believe we have an obligation to God to maintain the sovereignty, safety, and sanctity of the Holy Land (or at least in the form that it has existed since 1948). They don’t mind forsaking money and/or life, even though it is in strict defiance of the Constitution. The First Amendment clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” By basing our global pursuits on religious grounds, we are doing just that, especially egregious when one considers that the Muslims and Baha’is also lay claim to the Holy Land. In essence, we’re waging a Holy War, albeit it one by proxy (through Israel).

What has been the “benefit” to the United States? Try September 11th.

Osama bin Laden was quoted on numerous occasions throughout the 1990s calling for the destruction of America and Israel for their collusion in forcibly driving Muslims from the traditionally-defined Palestinian region. These ongoing charges were reiterated in a bin Laden television statement in October of 2004 during which he admitted that he ordered the September 11th attacks, citing the American-Israeli relationship as his sole reason for attacking America. He said he was inspired by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon during which towers in Beirut were destroyed. Said bin Laden, "while I was looking at these destroyed towers in Lebanon, it sparked in my mind that the tyrant should be punished with the same and that we should destroy towers in America, so that it tastes what we taste and would be deterred from killing our children and women."

Al-Qaeda did just that, toppling the World Trade Center and nearly the Pentagon and White House, killing thousands of civilians on American soil while leading to the deaths of our soldiers who were sent to the Middle East in hopes of vanquishing terror networks. At the same time, the Constitution was thrown into the trash and the USA PATRIOT Act, among others, led to the desecration of our natural rights.

All of that came about because of foreign aid. By lending a financial hand (and munitions and equipment) to a nation that may be our friend but definitely is not the friend of their neighbors, we were guilty by association. We may have “protected” a great many of the Bible’s hallowed grounds, but at the cost of billions of American dollars, thousands of American lives and liberty itself.

Doesn’t sound like a good investment, does it?

Bob Confer is a Gasport resident and vice president of Confer Plastics Inc. in North Tonawanda. E-mail him at

This column originally ran in the 23 May 2011 Greater Niagara Newspapers

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