Those Clamoring about U.S. Aid to Israel Seek Cover for Their Own Moral Bankruptcy

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.

Read more at National Review

More about: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Anti-Semitism, Ilhan Omar, US-Israel relations


Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy