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I’m writing today to urge you to end U.S. military aid to Israel.
The scale of our contribution to Israel’s military is staggering. According to a Congressional Research Service report to Congress in 2009, Israel had already received $58.6 billion in military aid since World War II. Incredibly, in a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2007, the U.S. government has promised Israel an additional $30 billion in Foreign Military Financing from 2009 to 2018.
As a citizen and a taxpayer, I request that you and your colleagues end the appropriation of those funds because military aid to Israel:
- has proven to be counterproductive. Our billions in aid have not been used for legitimate “self-defense,” as Israel claims and which would be within the scope of U.S. law. Instead it has bankrolled Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and the assault on and siege of Gaza. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be solved by violence and asymmetrical military force but rather by diplomacy and a political settlement.
- contributes to the building, expansion, and protection of settlements in East Jerusalem and the occupied territories — which are an impediment to peace and a clear violation of international law. Since 1968, U.S. leaders have formally, consistently, and repeatedly condemned Israeli settlement-building. Nevertheless, settlements have proliferated and are now one of the most formidable obstacles to a negotiated peace settlement. Despite Israel’s flouting the will of its chief financial backer, billions of dollars in “no strings attached” military aid flows unimpeded to Israel.
- diverts billions of dollars that are desperately needed at home. The military aid that we send to Israel drains tax money from our own precarious economy and underfunded programs for job creation, education, housing, and healthcare. Additionally, a quarter of the aid is spent by Israel in its own military-oriented companies – which means that American taxpayers are subsidizing those industries.
- puts Americans and American interests at risk. The international perception of the U.S. as Israel’s main financial backer and diplomatic shield in its occupation of Palestine has caused deep antagonism toward the U.S. and undermines our international credibility. There is widespread anger about our role in funding and arming Israel in its use of devastating military power against Palestinians living under occupation, and that anger translates into a security risk for Americans at home and abroad.
Americans have a right and a responsibility to demand that U.S. tax dollars not be used in defiance of U.S. policy goals as well as U.S. and international law. For the good of our own country and the long-term security and well-being of Israelis and Palestinians, I urge you to end military aid to Israel now.