Harm to Americans
U.S. military aid harms Americans.
- Military aid diverts tax money we need here at home.
- Uncritical support for Israel contributes to anti-American sentiment worldwide and may endanger American service members.
- Israel uses U.S. military aid in contravention of American law, implicating our country in human rights violations that have been condemned worldwide.
The unprecedented amount of aid Israel receives—$30 billion over 10 years, including $3 billion in the 2011 budget pending Congressional approval—drains tax money that is badly needed here at home. According to Josh Ruebner, the National Advocacy Director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, “this same $3 billion earmark for Israel could be used instead to provide more than 364,000 low-income households with affordable housing vouchers, or to retrain 498,000 workers for green jobs, or to provide early reading programs to 887,000 at-risk students, or to provide access to primary health care services for more than 24 million uninsured Americans.” 
Not only that, but about 25 percent of that $3 billion is “spent in Israel on Israeli defense products” instead of here in the U.S. Israel is the only recipient of U.S. military aid that gets to spend part of the money in its own industries, according to former U.S. Ambassador Charles W. (Chas) Freeman, Jr. “American taxpayers fund between 20 and 25 percent of Israel’s defense budget (depending on how you calculate this),” he said. And, he went on, “In many ways, American taxpayers fund jobs in Israel’s military industries that could have gone to our own workers and companies. Meanwhile, Israel gets pretty much whatever it wants in terms of our top-of-the-line weapons systems, and we pick up the tab.” 
President Jimmy Carter, the only U.S. president to have succeeded in brokering Arab-Israeli peace, sees the negative impact of misguided U.S. policy on our international standing and the security of U.S. troops and civilians. In his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Carter writes: “The United States has used its U.N. Security Council veto more than forty times to block resolutions critical of Israel. Some of these vetoes have brought international discredit on the United States, and there is little doubt that the lack of a persistent effort to resolve the Palestinian issue is a major source of anti-American sentiment and terrorist activity throughout the Middle East and the Islamic world.” 
Vice President Joe Biden was humiliated during his March 2010 visit to Israel by the government’s announcement that 1,600 new homes would be built in Arab East Jerusalem. The Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronot reported that in a private exchange with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden commented: “This is starting to get dangerous for us.” …. “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.” 
In their book The Israel Lobby, John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt conclude: “Backing Israel may have yielded strategic benefits in the past, but the benefits have declined sharply in recent years while the economic and diplomatic costs have increased. Instead of being a strategic asset, in fact, Israel has become a strategic liability for the United States. Backing Israel so strongly is making Americans more vulnerable—not less—and making it harder for the United States to achieve important and urgent foreign policy goals.” 
Israel has repeatedly gone against the interests and policies of several administrations without suffering serious consequences of aid reduction. Examples, according to Mearsheimer and Walt, include refusing to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, building settlements in the Occupied Palestinian territories, annexing conquered territory such as the Golan Heights and Jerusalem, and selling U.S. military technology to potential enemies like China. 
U.S. military aid to foreign nations is regulated by a number of U.S. laws, including:
• Arms Export Control Act (P.L.80-829): Weapons are limited to “internal security” and “legitimate self-defense” only.
• Foreign Assistance Act (P.L.97-195): “No assistance may be provided…to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”
• “Leahy Law” (Foreign Ops Appropriations Act): No aid to “any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible evidence that such unit has committed gross violations of human rights.”
Israel has violated all of these provisions at various times, yet has not suffered meaningful reductions in aid. Specifically, during Israel’s military campaign in Gaza in 2008-2009, white phosphorus was used in densely populated civilian areas, according to Human Rights Watch. HRW’s March 2010 report concluded that the Israeli military “had deliberately or recklessly used white phosphorus munitions in violation of the laws of war.” White phosphorus weapons, which inflicts severe burns on its victims, was supplied to Israel by the U.S. According to HRW, the IDF “repeatedly exploded it unlawfully over populated neighborhoods…killing and wounding civilians and damaging civilian structures, including a school, a market, a humanitarian aid warehouse, and a hospital.” 
Despite the evidence and allegations of human rights violations and war crimes, a massive new shipment of U.S. arms arrived in Israel in March 2009, according to Amnesty International. The Pentagon said the 14,000 tons of weapons were going to a U.S. stockpile in Israel. But a U.S.-Israel agreement allows the stockpiled weapons “to be transferred for Israeli use if necessary,” according to AI. 
The Gaza engagement was not the only time questions were raised about the legality of Israel’s use of American munitions. Similar accusations have been made about use of cluster bombs and white phosphorus in its 1982 and 2006 invasions of Lebanon.
Also, since the U.S. is by far the largest arms supplier to Israel, U.S. armaments are certainly implicated in the thousands of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since 2000. According to B’Tselem, a total of 6,408 Palestinians were killed by Israelis between September 29, 2000 and August 31, 2010. In comparison, 1,084 Israelis were killed by Palestinians during the same period. 
 Mearsheimer, John J. and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2007, p. 50
 Mearsheimer, John J. and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2007, p. 37)