For those looking to justify their obsessive fixation on Israel’s imaginary misdeeds—from the conservative anti-Semite Joseph Sobran, writing in the 1990s, to the mainstream liberal Nicholas Kristof, writing in the New York Times last week—American military aid is usually a good place to start. Sure, they argue, there are bad countries wiping out tens of thousands of innocent people, but Israel is different because Washington gives it generous funding. Kevin Williamson explains how these critics both misunderstand military aid and exhibit their own moral idiocy:
Most people think of U.S. military aid to Israel as Washington doing Jerusalem a favor—the truth is almost exactly the opposite. It is important to understand that there is really no U.S. military aid to Israel. Of course there is, on paper, just under $4 billion a year in military aid to Israel, [but] it is corporate welfare for U.S.-based military contractors, which is where the money ends up. . . . You can think of $1 in aid to Israel as 75 cents in support of Lockheed Martin and similar firms.
The questions facing the United States in our relationship with Israel are only incidentally financial. They are in the main questions of values and interests, which are what matter in international relations. . . . [T]he Democratic party at the moment goes out of its way to accommodate anti-Israel radicals such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and anti-Semites such as Representative Ilhan Omar and Representative Rashida Tlaib.
Anti-Semitism is not simple bigotry or race-hatred. It is a political ideology, . . . The ideology that heaps scorn and hatred on the Jewish state also heaps scorn and hatred on the United States, insisting that the United States and Israel are two local expressions of the same global phenomenon—and they are not wrong about that. The left may give that phenomenon any number of damning names—capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, etc.—but the Noam Chomskys of the world are entirely correct to believe that the United States and Israel represent one possible way of being in the world while Hamas and Cuba and Iran and Venezuela represent a different way of being in the world. We know which side Ocasio-Cortez is throwing in with.
The important question for the United States in this conflict is not the petty logrolling associated with foreign-aid payments amounting annually to approximately 30 hours of Social Security spending. With Israel on one side and Hamas on the other, the question for the United States is whether we still know how to take our own side in a fight.