What has Israel ever done for us?

The USA gives lots of money and support to Israel every year. What have they ever done for us? They are a tiny country, with a land area comparable to a county in the USA, and they have very few natural resources to speak of. Have they ever helped us in a war? We have a lot of trade with South Korea, but is our trade with Israel even close to that level? I mention SK because they are another country we heavily protect, but they seem to give us more in return.

All of that is irrelevant. They are a Western, industrial country that is holding its own against the surrounding savage theocracies. That’s enough for me.

Directly, they have a strong intelligence network which they share to some degree -though their own interests will affect what they share. Indirectly they serve as a regional power that counterbalances less trustworthy allies and adversaries.

Sure, but besides being a Western, industrial country and sharing some of its intelligence, what has Israel ever done for us?

Arguably they helped us, and the rest of the coalition, by not launching direct attacks during the first Gulf War even though Saddam was launching SCUD missiles at Israel.

Ditto, but there’s more:

During the Cold War, it was our proxy, instead of being one for the Evil Empire like Egypt did with Nasser, a “Hero of the Soviet Union,” Hafez Assad and his predecessors, or the PLO (Bolsheviks were Arafat’s main patron, and sponsored the “Zionism is racism” resolution).

Also, you could call it cynical, but us supporting Israel actually gave/gives us leverage with Arab countries; we manipulated them to side with us instead of the USSR if they let us mediate peace deals with them and Israel, whereas had we not got involved in the ME at all, the Bolsheviks woulda had the whole region, a mostly 3rd world one, and those were very fertile ground for communism. It all coulda been the Arab Soviet Socialist Republic, after all, Syria. Israel also captured Soviet MiG planes and gave their components and parts to us. We wouldn’t have been able to do that otherwise. Israel beating Soviet armed countries also hurt the Bolsheviks’ prestige. Heck even for Desert Storm, which the US forced Israel to sit out, them destroying Iraq’s nuke reactor in 1981 made it possible; Cheney even admitted it in 1991. You could say that during the Cold War, Israel was strategically to us what Cuba was to the Soviets, tho Israel had/has a better economic/human rights record, and America/Israel won, while USSR/Cuba lost.

Israel is also one of the largest exporters of jobs to this country, directly and indirectly, as well as medical, computer, and scientific technology.

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They are in the top 25 trading partners. Not bad for such a small country.

I would have a hard time defending a trading partner as someone who’s “done something for me” anymore than the guy I buy my groceries from. Especially since that list doesn’t make any point about arms trade linked to monetary aid.

The first significant aid came during and after the 1973 war. Before that, Israel received little more than Lyndon Johnson’s sincere good wishes. This contrasted with Harry Truman’s phony good wishes, and actual arms embargo, during the Israeli War of Independence.

Moving to the more or less present, here are the top five aid recipients for 2013, per Wikipedia:

Afghanistan $4,533.51 million
Israel $2,961.04 million
Egypt $1,566.24 million
Jordan $1,211.83
West Bank/Gaza $1,007.73

I believe that a lot of aid was promised to Israel, Eqypt, and Jordan in return for signing peace treaties that apparently were more important to the US than those most affected. Can anyone check to see if this obligation is still in effect?

As can be seen in my link, more than 99 percent of US assistance to Israel is military. This is indirect but real support for US arms manufacturers.

I favor gradual reduction of US aid to Israel, and its adversaries, going down to almost zero. As for the almost, I favor aid in case of famines and natural disasters. I also favor the kind of modest gifts, to good local causes, that any US ambassador should be allowed to bestow. Also, an emergency arms shipment, in a 1973 repeat scenario is, to me, justified. But I wouldn’t give routine aid.

This would result in Israel building more of its arms locally, with fewer imports from the US. My proposal to offset the loss of US arms production jobs is this: Allow Taiwan to purchase all the conventional American-made weapons it can afford.

It’s less about what they’ve done for us in the past than what they would do for us if push came to shove. While we’ve cultivated Arab allies over the decades, if it ever came down to a world war, Israel is the only reliable ally in the region. Even if the Arabs are willing, their militaries cannot be counted on. So if Russia decided to ever seize a bunch of oil, Israel would be the only competitive military force able to slow them down while we moved troops into the region.

Then there’s also the fact that Israel is the only country in the region that shares our values, which helps too. I’ve never understood the Western crowd that says, “So what if Israel is the only country that doesn’t murder their own people by the tens of thousands! They are wrong in their border dispute!”

I’m thinking Great Debates.

Off we go!

Such a deal I have for you!

Actually, I was just giving the OP some data. I was not endorsing defense of Israel based on it’s position in the chart. I’m a strong defender of Israel’s right to exist, but I have little interest in the US being its guarantor of existence.

At this point I’m not sure if you’re comfortable with us guaranteeing Canada’s existence.:slight_smile:

That’s ok, Canada could have its own nukes in a month or two if you prefer.

I’d settle for you having two patrol fighters on each coast instead of one.

Nah. The nukes will do.

Then why do we collectively give more aid to the Arabs than Israelis?

If Israel didn’t have to worry about American-paid-for Arab arms, it wouldn’t need quite as much itself. For this reason, I didn’t consider my proposal to stop routine aid, to all of them, as anti-Israeli. I think Israel would still be a reliable ally without US aid.

A lot of the aid is used to pay back loans used to buy made-in-USA weapons. This is related to why I would decrease aid to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan gradually. It would be too much shock, to their economies, to have to pay back military loans that everyone had expected would be, in effect, forgiven by future aid. But ten years from now there should be no aid except disaster relief, and feel-good ambassadorial gifts to local charities.

Look at the list I linked to. Who is #1 on that list?

And that’s just a start. The US and Canada are so intertwined that a threat to one would almost certainly be a threat to the other (NATO aside).

It is not a “border dispute,” it is an Apartheid regime. These are our values?! They might not actually massacre Palestinians, but any WB resident who can’t go from one town to another without passing through an IDF checkpoint, or a Gaza resident going hungry because of the blockade, won’t think it’s all that much better.

Canada does have two coasts…but one is about 400 miles long (between Washington and Alaska) and the other is thousands and thousands of miles long, going all around the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, and around all of the dozens and dozens of significant islands.

Two patrol fighters for each is about as silly as two patrol fighters each to cover the coastline of California and the coastline of New Hampshire.