Israel Is the United States’ Biggest Welfare Recipient

Americans are dealing with their own economic issues; budget cuts in the public sector, unemployment, high taxes, and low wages are hitting home the hardest. However, what most Americans don’t realize is that this economic instability and decline in quality of life could be demonstrably improved by cutting U.S. foreign aid to the greatest welfare recipient and benefactor of American taxpayers—Israel. Americans should be asking, ‘Who signed me up?’ Who signed up Americans for a 10-year, $30 billion tax-payer commitment for Israeli welfare and military aid?

Obama and Bibi

Why are we paying for Israeli civil welfare, when we can’t even take care of our own citizens? Consider the facts: Israel’s unemployment rate (4.9 percent) is lower than the US unemployment rate (6.1 percent), in addition to the fact that the standard of living in Israel is high and is constantly improving—Israel ranks 16th among 187 world nations on the U.N.’s Human Development Index, which places it in the category of “Very Highly Developed”—not to mention they are among the highest life expectancy’s in the world. Israeli men have the fourth-highest life expectancy of any nation, according to recently released statistics from the World Health Organization. So, why does the U.S. give billions of taxpayers’ dollars to Israel? Do they really need it? According to Moshe Arens, a former foreign minister, defense minister and ambassador to Washington, “The partnership between the two countries results from pressure by the pro-Israeli lobby in Washington.” Empirical evidence collected from dozens of statistical consensus reports shows that not only does Israel not need U.S. aid, but they have a stronger economy than 162 nations in the world. Israel’s thriving economy is ranked 25th of 187 in income per capita, yet is the United States’ biggest welfare recipient.

How much American taxpayers’ aid has Israel received?

The Breakdown

Direct U.S. Aid to Israel (since 1948): $233.7 billion ($112 billion in nominal terms) with inflation adjusted. The U.S. started providing Israel with $208.6 million in aid per year ($100 in nominal terms) in civilian welfare in 1949. It rapidly grew to unfathomable amounts in the 1970’s with Israel receiving as much as $12.4 billion ($2.6 billion in nominal terms) in aid. Today, Israel receives a reported $3.1 billion from American taxpayers, of which $1.8 billion is military assistance and $1.3 billion for civilian welfare. But that’s not all folks, under a special U.S.-Israeli agreement, the U.S. pays to store and maintain over $1 billion in military arsenal in Israel. In addition, American taxpayers generously (unknowingly) covered the cost of developing Israel’s military technology—Iron Dome, Magic Wand and the Arrow—a price tag exceeding $3 billion. If the exuberant amount of American taxpayers’ aid to Israel hasn’t made your jaw drop, learning that Israel received another $781 million—$205 million above regular aid for the Iron Dome project, plus $351 million and $225 respectively to purchase Tamir interception and enough Hellfire missiles to devastate Gaza’s civilian population, infrastructure, and economy in last July’s Operation Protective Edge—might get your jaw to hit the floor.

Americans against AIPAC control of US

There’s more to consider. The aforementioned American taxpayers’ aid to Israel does not include the indirect, adverse economic and moral impact Israel wreaks on the U.S. as a result of American blind support for Israel. It is widely believed throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq was due to growing pressure from the pro-Israel lobby and carried out largely for Israel’s benefit. Keeping this in mind, the cost of the Iraq war was nothing short of hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars, thousands of Americans’ lives, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian lives.

U.S. soldiers come home to be buried

I get it; maybe Americans need taxpayers’ dollars for civil welfare more than Israelis do. But, don’t they need our military aid for self-defense? Kind-hearted Americans are being manipulated by their “trusted’ mainstream news for information on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Sadly, sometimes passion and empathy, overpower the logic to seek alternative sources of information. Most people wouldn’t hand their money over to a stranger, claiming to need it for self-defense or even food, but most Americans blindly, without hesitation accept handing over exorbitant amounts of tax dollars for Israeli welfare and “self-defense.” Whether it is due to empathy, ignorance, or pure laziness, the facts on the ground—reports backed by empirical evidence collected, analyzed and presented by dozens of international human rights organizations—support the contrary. The observable facts reveal Israel is not clinging on for survival acting in “self-defense.” The observable facts reveal that Israel has used hundreds of billions of American taxpayers’ dollars in aid to maintain it’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip for 47 years. Renowned scholars worldwide, including Israeli historians have spoken against the U.S. backed apartheid regime, resembling the former South African apartheid. American taxpayers’ aid is actively funding the siege on Gaza, commonly referred to as an “open-air prison,” which is keeping 1.8 million people on the brink of humanitarian crisis. U.S. aid is making day-to-day life unbearable for Palestinian children who watch their parents humiliated and strip-searched at checkpoints, many times beat and detained. It makes life for Palestinian mothers and fathers a daily struggle to provide food and shelter for their children, especially after devastating Israeli military aggressions like “Operation Protective Edge” last July, which made entire cities look like post-atomic bomb Hiroshima. Israel has denied Palestinians the right to self-determination by restricting their every move, controlling their airspace, borders, seaports, natural resources, and electromagnetic space, while exploiting labor and preventing economic development through Israel’s institutionalized system of racial discrimination.

Palestinians walk through rubble in the Shujai’iya residential neighbourhood of Gaza City. Photograph: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Americans should have no problem cutting aid to Israel for “self-defense” after they learn the Israeli military (IDF) is considered by world powers to be the third or fourth most powerful military in the world. It becomes obvious after all the facts are put into context in plain sight, contrary to Israeli theatrical claims of security and “self-defense” on the U.N. stage, the reality is U.S. taxpayers’ are funding discriminatory policies and a system of state-legalized oppression, persecution and violence towards the indigenous Palestinian population. Under Occupation Law, an occupied population has the right of armed resistance against the aggressor and/or an oppressor, not the other way around. Israel has no right or entitlement to or in the occupied Palestinian territories. According to international law, the occupation should have ceased one year after beginning—the occupation began in June 1967, and should have ended by June 1968. In accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 passed in November 1967, Israel is required to withdraw from all occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli solider points gun at Palestinian children as mother shields them.

Many Americans are quick to say that Israel is defending itself from terrorist rockets. After defining terrorism and self-defense in relative context a different picture is painted. Considering the decades of ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territories, Israeli violations of international law and uncountable U.S. pleas to stop building of settlements and transferring of hundreds of thousands of Jews into them on occupied Palestinian land, it’s obvious who is defending themselves and who is provoking attacks. The reality is that increased rocket attacks on Israel have resulted from increased systematically oppressive Israeli discriminatory policies. The Palestinian resistance to brutal Israeli persecution is then used as a pretext for further Israeli incursions into Palestinian territories. Americans are then expected to believe these incursions and increased violations of Palestinian human rights make Israeli civilians safer and more secure. American taxpayers’ aid and blind complicity has allowed this nightmare to continue for decades.

Palestinian baby panicked in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike

The first step in fixing a problem is admitting there is a problem. It’s time for Americas to put their money where their mouth is and invest aid where it’s needed most, at home.