Since 1973, the US has provided more aid to Israel than almost all other countries combined with an estimated $250 billion spent in the years since. Despite the nations’ long-standing â€œspecial relationshipâ€ and decades of propaganda to build popular support, many US citizens are beginning to question the Israeli influence in US politics as well as the amount of aid it receives. A survey released last Friday by the Brookings Institution showed that around 40% of Americans viewed Israel as a â€œburden,â€ a significant increase from years prior. Interestingly, those who saw Israel as burdensome said so, not due to the massive amount of money given in aid to the country annually, but because â€œIsrael’s actions in the region generate hostility toward the United States in Arab and Muslim-majority countries.â€ Also astounding was that
Interestingly, those who saw Israel as burdensome said so, not due to the massive amount of money given in aid to the country annually, but because â€œIsrael’s actions in the region generate hostility toward the United States in Arab and Muslim-majority countries.â€ Also astounding was that nearly half of Americans, 46%, supported targeting Israel with economic sanctions for the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory. Those who identified as Democrats were much more likely to agree with these sentiments than Republicans or independents, which could jeopardize Israeli influence in US politics in the years to come. If 55% of Democrats see Israel as a â€œburden,â€ it is likely that they will begin to elect Democratic candidates that also support these views.
A majority of Americans already believe that US aid to Israel is â€œtoo much,â€ according to a survey taken earlier this year. Annual aid to Israel now tops $3 billion annually and amounts to approximately $10.2 million a day. This dwarfs US aid given to any other country by a significant amount. However, this money does not include the separate funding to the Zionist nation coming from state and municipal governments, money which is procured by the extremely powerful Israel lobby. This official figure also excludes classified US federal monetary support. By Obama’s own admission, US support for Israel has reached â€œunprecedented levels.â€ Despite that, Obama just signed a new 10-year $38 billion aid package to Israel, all the while numerous communities throughout the US, such as Flint, Michigan, do not have access to clean drinking water. Considering the domestic need for this massive amount of money, it is no small wonder that more Americans than ever see these massive aid packages to already-wealthy Israel as â€œburdens.â€
Not only is aid to Israel truly â€œburdensome,â€ it is also illegal under US law. In 1976, Congress passed the International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act, which stipulated that countries that have refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty would be ineligible for US foreign aid. Israel tried to keep its nuclear weapon secret for years in order to prevent cutting off the massive amounts of money pouring into the country from the United States. However, even when the country’s nuclear program was exposed by whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu in 1986, the US government failed to halt aid payments because Israel’s government never â€œofficiallyâ€ confirmed or denied having nuclear weapons. US presidential administrations since Gerald Ford have also refused to speak publicly regarding Israel’s nuclear capabilities. This is, in part, due to an Energy Department directive which demands imprisonment for any federal official or contractor who publicly acknowledges the nation’s nuclear weapons program.
Ultimately, the shifting attitudes of Americans towards Israel are indicative of a deeper shift taking place throughout the nation. Americans are more distrustful than ever of both the federal government and the mainstream media, the same organizations that have worked to convince them of the need to unquestioningly support Israel monetarily and politically. The same justifications used in year prior are no longer convincing, especially as those $3 billion given to Israel annually could do much to alleviate the economic hardships now felt by a majority of Americans.
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