What the hell? Why are we giving Israel $30 billion?

It seems the US will be giving $30 billion dollars in military aid to Israel over the next ten years.

Just for some perspective, that’s an average of about $100 out of the pocket of every man, woman, and child in the US, all going to Israel’s defense. And to flip the perpective, it amounts to a subsidy of $4200 for every resident of Israel, courtesy of US taxpayers.

This is, apparently, in anticipation of (and to win the approval of Israelis for) a $20 billion package of aid to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

All of which raises several questions in my mind:

1) What the hell do we get from Israel that merits this sort of subsidy? From what I can see, our special relationship with Israel yields us nothing but grief and bloodshed. Where’s the quid pro quo? What does Israel do for us?

2) Israel is not a poor country. Why can’t it pay for its own damn defense?

3) Why do we need Israel’s permission to give an aid package to the Saudis and Egyptians?

4) Why are we giving $20 billion in aid to the Saudis and Egyptians? (The answer to this one is a little clearer to me. I can at least see some quid pro quo we are getting from these governments.)

It’s the opposite of the Vietnam war. You see someone agreeing with you, you support them, especially when they’re in a part of the world that hates you.

So that they will remain a strong target in the middle-east to draw attention away from us. Also because the Mossad is badass intel.

Oh yeah, we got some really great intel from them in the run-up to the Iraq war. Thanks Mossad! Here’s $30 billion!

Perhaps your article sheds some light on the subject:

I wonder how they came up with the 26.3% number. Why not 26.2? At any rate, that’s still $22.11B to the US Arms Industry. Some Congresscritter are sending a heckofa check to their districts.

But there’s also a very strong, and very effective, pro-Israel lobby in this country.

n.b.: I am no fan of this type of stuff, just explaining how the process works.

Tell you what: if Uncle Sam will give me $1 billion, I promise to spend $750 million of it to buy myself a fleet of fighter jets from Lockheed. The rest we’ll call, um, “operating expenses.”

Come on, Uncle Sam! What do you say?

Yeah, I get that the military-industrial complex is partly to blame here. That just makes it even more infuriating. If we’re going to blow money like this, we should be spending it to improve our infrastructure-- so that we don’t have, oh, I don’t know, bridges collapsing into the Mississippi River and such.

What do we get out of it?! Why, lots of things! Like this! And this and this and this and…I’m sorry, were we talking about something?

I find it sort of odd how people fail to see the strategic benefit in keeping Muslim fundamentalist ire focused on Israel rather than the US. That sort of seems like a ‘well duh’ proposition to me, but I don’t see it coming up that often. The ‘linchpin’ of American foreign policy in the Middle-East after all.

I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Are you saying that our lavish funding of Israel diverts Muslim fundamentalist ire to them, rather than us?

That assertion would seem sort of, uh… counterhistorical.

We don’t need to spend $30 billion for that to happen.

Nor does Israel need the money. They can afford to defend themselves.

Oh really? Then why is Death to Israel one of the main planks of Islamist Jihadis regardless of where they are from? It’s the one thing that seems to unite Islamist movements around the world. The US needs middle-eastern oil, without Israel, the attention would be focused on us rather on that little sliver of land on the coast of the Med.

Because it does the exact opposite ? Our support for Israel makes them focus on us along with or instead of Israel; even religious fundies are bright enough to hate two things at once. And justly or not, Israel has managed to enrage plenty of people for reasons besides religion.

And the “linchpin” of ME policy is “grab the oil” and “smash the heathens”.

:dubious: Gee whiz, marshmallow, if those are your idea of distracting pin-up pictures, I gotta say you seem pretty easily distracted. Yes, those Israeli Army girls are young and pretty, but they’re, like, normal women walking around in their everyday environment fully clothed in extremely un-cheesecakey military fatigues (and at least in one case, armed to the back teeth. Or maybe that’s where the appeal lies? ;))

:dubious: “Rather than”? Do you think Muslim fundamentalists have somehow not noticed who’s giving Israel all this aid? And they seem to have enough ire to go around, wouldn’t you say? [In preview: as Sal noted.]

Well, gotta go report myself now for smiley abuse. See y’all later.

I’m thinking of something perhaps a tad more nuanced than that.

Kimstu We are unpopular because we are in bed with unpopular governments, because we want their oil. As long as the Islamists are focused on Israel, yes they’ll point at the evil Americans behind them, but America hardly gets touched by terrorism. As long as Israel is there, they are public enemy #1 to the Muslims. If Israel goes then it’s America that is Public Enemy #1.

Sadly, I don’t think the '08 election will change anything. Democratic candidates are lining up to kiss the ring of Israel.

Obama has come the closest to bucking AIPAC and Israel, by saying he would seek engagement with Iran.

Even if all that were true, it doesn’t explain why we need to send Israel $30 billion. It’s not as if Israel will pull up stakes and leave if we don’t send them cash. And Israel can afford to provide for its own defense.

In the common parlance, the U.S. is the Great Satan, whereas Israel is only the Little Satan. Awww, you’re a good Little Satan aren’t ya? Yes you are! Come to papa…

Kimstu: Well, this is a family board after all.

I find it sort of odd how people fail to see the strategic benefit in keeping Muslim fundamentalist ire focused on Iraq rather than the US. That sort of seems like a ‘well duh’ proposition to me, but I don’t see it coming up that often.

Agree or disagree?

Because we are far away. And because we are doing what they want since 9-11.

And there’s plenty of hatred to go around, for Israel, for us, for Britain, etc.

Agree. Just like in a good debate, controlling the field of battle is important in any war. We’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here. The best defense is a good offense, and 10,000 other cliches that happen to be true.

Doing what they want? Uhh…you wanna give me some cites?