Benefits to Israel
of U.S. Aid
Since 1949 (As of November 1, 1997)
Aid Grants and Loans
Aid (12.2% of Foreign Aid)
from Advanced Payments
Benefits per Israeli
Cost to U.S.
Taxpayers of U.S.
Aid to Israel
Interest Costs Borne by U.S.
Total Cost to U.S. Taxpayers
Total Cost per Israeli
To Israel: The Strategic Functions
U.S. Aid to Israel: What U.S. Taxpayer
U.S. Aid to Israel: Interpreting the
The Cost of Israel to U.S. Taxpayers:
True Lies About U.S.
Aid to Israel
STRATEGIC FUNCTIONS OF U.S.
AID TO ISRAEL
By Stephen Zunes
Dr. Zunes is an assistant
professor in the Department of Politics at the University of San Francisco
Since 1992, the U.S. has offered Israel an additional $2 billion
annually in loan guarantees. Congressional researchers have disclosed that
between 1974 and 1989, $16.4 billion in U.S. military loans were
converted to grants and that this was the understanding from the beginning.
Indeed, all past U.S.
loans to Israel have
eventually been forgiven by Congress, which has undoubtedly helped Israel's often-touted claim that they have
never defaulted on a U.S.
government loan. U.S.
policy since 1984 has been that economic assistance to Israel must equal or exceed Israel's annual debt repayment to the United States.
Unlike other countries, which receive aid in quarterly installments, aid to Israel since 1982 has been given in a lump sum
at the beginning of the fiscal year, leaving the U.S. government to borrow from
future revenues. Israel
even lends some of this money back through U.S. treasury bills and collects
the additional interest.
there is the more than $1.5 billion in private U.S.
funds that go to Israel
annually in the form of $1 billion in private tax-deductible donations and
$500 million in Israeli bonds. The ability of Americans to make what amounts
to tax-deductible contributions to a foreign government, made possible
through a number of Jewish charities, does not exist with any other country.
Nor do these figures include short- and long-term commercial loans from U.S. banks,
which have been as high as $1 billion annually in recent years.
Total U.S. aid to Israel
is approximately one-third of the American foreign- aid budget, even though Israel
comprises just .001 percent of the world's population and already has one of
the world's higher per capita incomes. Indeed, Israel's
GNP is higher than the combined GNP of Egypt, Lebanon,
Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. With a per capita income of about
$14,000, Israel ranks as
the sixteenth wealthiest country in the world; Israelis enjoy a higher per
capita income than oil-rich Saudi
Arabia and are only slightly less well-off
than most Western European countries.
AID does not term
economic aid to Israel
as development assistance, but instead uses the term "economic support
funding." Given Israel's
relative prosperity, U.S.
aid to Israel
is becoming increasingly controversial. In 1994, Yossi
Beilen, deputy foreign minister of Israel and a
Knesset member, told the Women's International
Zionist organization, "If our economic situation is better than in many
of your countries, how can we go on asking for your charity?"
U.S. Aid to Israel: What U.S. Taxpayer Should Know
by Tom Malthaner
This morning as
I was walking down Shuhada Street in Hebron, I saw graffiti
marking the newly painted storefronts and awnings. Although three months past
schedule and 100 percent over budget, the renovation of Shuhada Street
was finally completed this week. The project manager said the reason for the
delay and cost overruns was the sabotage of the project by the Israeli
settlers of the Beit Hadassah settlement complex in
broke the street lights, stoned project workers, shot out the windows of
bulldozers and other heavy equipment with pellet guns, broke paving stones
before they were laid and now have defaced again the homes and shops of
Palestinians with graffiti. The settlers did not want Shuhada St.
opened to Palestinian traffic as was agreed to under Oslo 2. This renovation project is paid for
by USAID funds and it makes me angry that my tax dollars have paid for
improvements that have been destroyed by the settlers.
are not aware how much of their tax revenue our government sends to Israel. For
the fiscal year ending in September 30, 1997, the U.S.
has given Israel $6.72
billion: $6.194 billion falls under Israel's foreign aid allotment
and $526 million comes from agencies such as the Department of Commerce, the
U.S. Information Agency and the Pentagon. The $6.72 billion figure does not
include loan guarantees and annual compound interest totalling
$3.122 billion the U.S.
pays on money borrowed to give to Israel. It does not include the
cost to U.S.
taxpayers of IRS tax exemptions that donors can claim when they donate money
to Israeli charities. (Donors claim approximately $1 billion in Federal tax
deductions annually. This ultimately costs other U.S. tax payers $280 million to
loans, interest and tax deductions are added together for the fiscal year
ending in September 30, 1997, our special relationship with Israel cost U.S. taxpayers over $10 billion.
Since 1949 the U.S. has given Israel a total of $83.205
billion. The interest costs borne by U.S.
tax payers on behalf of Israel
are $49.937 billion, thus making the total amount of aid given to Israel since
1949 $133.132 billion. This may mean that U.S. government has given more federal
aid to the average Israeli citizen in a given year than it has given to the
average American citizen.
I am angry when
I see Israeli settlers from Hebron
destroy improvements made to Shuhada Street with my tax
money. Also, it angers me that my government is giving over $10 billion to a
country that is more prosperous than most of the other countries in the world
and uses much of its money for strengthening its military and the oppression
of the Palestinian people.
"U.S. Aid to Israel: Interpreting the
by Stephen Zunes
"The U.S. aid relationship with Israel is
unlike any other in the world," said Stephen Zunes
during a January 26 CPAP presentation. "In sheer volume, the amount is
the most generous foreign aid program ever between any two countries,"
added Zunes, associate professor of Politics and
chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San
He explored the
strategic reasoning behind the aid, asserting that it parallels the
"needs of American arms exporters" and the role "Israel could play in advancing U.S.
strategic interests in the region."
Although Israel is an "advanced, industrialized,
technologically sophisticated country," it "receives more U.S. aid per
capita annually than the total annual [Gross Domestic Product] per capita of
several Arab states." Approximately a third of the entire U.S. foreign aid budget goes to Israel, "even though Israel
comprises just . . . one-thousandth of the world's total population, and
already has one of the world's higher per capita incomes."
U.S. government officials argue that this money is
necessary for "moral" reasons-some even say that Israel is a
"democracy battling for its very survival." If that were the real
reason, however, aid should have been highest during Israel's early years, and would have declined
grew stronger. Yet "the pattern . . . has been just the opposite."
According to Zunes, "99 percent of all U.S. aid to Israel
took place after the June 1967 war, when Israel found itself more powerful
than any combination of Arab armies . . ."
The U.S. supports Israel's dominance so it can
serve as "a surrogate for American interests in this vital strategic
has helped defeat radical nationalist movements" and has been a
"testing ground for U.S.
made weaponry." Moreover, the intelligence agencies of both countries
have "collaborated," and "Israel
has funneled U.S. arms to
third countries that the U.S.
[could] not send arms to directly, . . . Iike South Africa, like the Contras, Guatemala under the military junta, [and] Iran." Zunes cited an Israeli analyst who said: "'It's like
has just become another federal agency when it's convenient to use and you
want something done quietly."' Although the strategic relationship
between the United States
and the Gulf Arab states in the region has been strengthening in recent
years, these states "do not have the political stability, the
technological sophistication, [or] the number of higher-trained armed forces
personnel" as does Israel.
Matti Peled, former Israeli major general and
Knesset member, told Zunes that he and most Israeli
generals believe this aid is "little more than an American subsidy to
U.S. arms manufacturers," considering that the majority of military aid
to Israel is used to buy weapons from the U.S. Moreover, arms to Israel create
more demand for weaponry in Arab states. According to Zunes,
"the Israelis announced back in 1991 that they supported the idea of a
freeze in Middle East arms transfers, yet it was the United States
that rejected it."
In the fall of
1993-when many had high hopes for peace-78 senators wrote to former President
Bill Clinton insisting that aid to Israel remain
"at current levels." Their "only reason" was the
"massive procurement of sophisticated arms by Arab states." The
letter neglected to mention that 80 percent of those arms to Arab countries
came from the U.S.
"I'm not denying for a moment the power of AIPAC [the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee], the pro-Israel lobby," and other similar
groups, Zunes said. Yet the "Aerospace
Industry Association which promotes these massive arms shipments . . . is
even more influential." This association has given two times more money
to campaigns than all of the pro-Israel groups combined. Its "force on
Capitol Hill, in terms of lobbying, surpasses that of even AIPAC." Zunes asserted that the "general thrust of U.S. policy
would be pretty much the same even if AIPAC didn't exist. We didn't need a
pro-Indonesia lobby to support Indonesia
in its savage repression of East Timor all
these years." This is a complex issue, and Zunes
said that he did not want to be "conspiratorial," but he asked the
audience to imagine what "Palestinian industriousness, Israeli
technology, and Arabian oil money . . . would do to transform the Middle East. . . . [W]hat would that mean to American
arms manufacturers? Oil companies? Pentagon planners?"
increasing number of Israelis are pointing out" that these funds are not
best interest. Quoting Peled, Zunes
said, "this aid pushes Israel
'toward a posture of callous intransigence' in terms of the peace
process." Moreover, for every dollar the U.S.
sends in arms aid, Israel
must spend two to three dollars to train people to use the weaponry, to buy
parts, and in other ways make use of the aid. Even "main-stream Israeli
economists are saying [it] is very harmful to the country's future."
paper Yediot Aharonot
described Israel as
"'the godfather's messenger' since [Israel] undertake[s] the 'dirty
work' of a godfather who 'always tries to appear to be the owner of some
large, respectable business."' Israeli satirist B. Michael refers to U.S. aid this
way: "'My master gives me food to eat and I bite those whom he tells me
to bite. It's called strategic cooperation." 'To challenge this
strategic relationship, one cannot focus solely on the Israeli lobby but must
also examine these "broader forces as well." "Until we tackle
this issue head-on," it will be "very difficult to win" in
other areas relating to Palestine.
results" of the short-term thinking behind U.S.
policy "are tragic," not just for the "immediate victims"
but "eventually [for] Israel
itself" and "American interests in the region." The U.S. is sending enormous amounts of aid to the
Middle East, and yet "we are less secure than ever"-both in terms
interests abroad and for individual Americans. Zunes
referred to a "growing and increasing hostility [of] the average Arab
toward the United States."
In the long term, said Zunes, "peace and
stability and cooperation with the vast Arab world is
far more important for U.S.
interests than this alliance with Israel."
This is not only
an issue for those who are working for Palestinian rights, but it also
"jeopardizes the entire agenda of those of us concerned about human
rights, concerned about arms control, concerned about international
law." Zunes sees significant potential in
"building a broad-based movement around it."
The above text
is based on remarks, delivered on. 26 January, 2001 by Stephen
. Zunes - Associate Professor of Politics
and Chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at San Francisco University
of Israel to U.S. Taxpayers: True Lies About U.S. Aid to Israel
By Richard H. Curtiss
For many years
the American media said that "Israel
receives $1.8 billion in military aid" or that "Israel
receives $1.2 billion in economic aid." Both statements were true, but
since they were never combined to give us the complete total of annual U.S. aid to Israel, they also were lies--true
Americans have begun to read and hear that "Israel
receives $3 billion in annual U.S.
foreign aid." That's true. But it's still a lie. The problem is that in
fiscal 1997 alone, Israel
received from a variety of other U.S. federal budgets at least
$525.8 million above and beyond its $3 billion from the foreign aid budget,
and yet another $2 billion in federal loan guarantees. So the complete total
of U.S. grants and loan
guarantees to Israel
for fiscal 1997 was $5,525,800,000.
truthfully blame the mainstream media for never digging out these figures for
themselves, because none ever have. They were compiled by the Washington
Report on Middle East Affairs. But the mainstream media certainly are not
alone. Although Congress authorizes America's
foreign aid total, the fact that more than a third of it goes to a country
smaller in both area and population than Hong Kong
probably never has been mentioned on the floor of the Senate or House. Yet
it's been going on for more than a generation.
only members of Congress who even suspect the full total of U.S. funds received by Israel each
year are the privileged few committee members who actually mark it up. And
almost all members of the concerned committees are Jewish, have taken huge
campaign donations orchestrated by Israel's Washington, DC lobby, the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), or both. These
congressional committee members are paid to act, not talk. So they do and
The same applies
to the president, the secretary of state, and the foreign aid administrator.
They all submit a budget that includes aid for Israel, which Congress approves,
or increases, but never cuts. But no one in the executive branch mentions
that of the few remaining U.S. aid recipients worldwide, all of the others
are developing nations which either make their military bases available to
the U.S., are key members of international alliances in which the U.S.
participates, or have suffered some crippling blow of nature to their
abilities to feed their people such as earthquakes, floods or droughts.
troubles arise solely from its unwillingness to give back land it seized in
the 1967 war in return for peace with its neighbors, does not fit those
criteria. In fact, Israel's
1995 per capita gross domestic product was $15,800. That put it below Britain at $19,500 and Italy at $18,700 and just above Ireland at $15,400 and Spain at
All four of
those European countries have contributed a very large share of immigrants to
the U.S., yet none has
organized an ethnic group to lobby for U.S. foreign aid. Instead, all
four send funds and volunteers to do economic development and emergency
relief work in other less fortunate parts of the world.
The lobby that
Israel and its supporters have built in the United States to make all this
aid happen, and to ban discussion of it from the national dialogue, goes far
beyond AIPAC, with its $15 million budget, its 150 employees, and its five or
six registered lobbyists who manage to visit every member of Congress
individually once or twice a year.
AIPAC, in turn,
can draw upon the resources of the Conference of Presidents of Major American
Jewish Organizations, a roof group set up solely to coordinate the efforts of
some 52 national Jewish organizations on behalf of Israel.
Among them are
Hadassah, the Zionist women's organization, which organizes a steady stream of American Jewish visitors to Israel; the American Jewish Congress, which
mobilizes support for Israel
among members of the traditionally left-of-center Jewish mainstream; and the
American Jewish Committee, which plays the same role within the growing
middle-of-the-road and right-of-center Jewish community. The American Jewish
Committee also publishes Commentary,one
of the Israel
lobby's principal national publications.
Perhaps the most
controversial of these groups is B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation League. Its original highly
commendable purpose was to protect the civil rights of American Jews. Over
the past generation, however, the ADL has regressed into a conspiratorial
and, with a $45 million budget, extremely well-funded hate group.
In the 1980s,
during the tenure of chairman Seymour Reich, who went on to become chairman
of the Conference of Presidents, ADL was found to have circulated two annual
fund-raising letters warning Jewish parents against allegedly negative
influences on their children arising from the increasing Arab presence on
American university campuses.
FBI raids on ADL's Los Angeles
and San Francisco offices revealed that an ADL
operative had purchased files stolen from the San Francisco police department that a
court had ordered destroyed because they violated the civil rights of the
individuals on whom they had been compiled. ADL, it was shown, had added the
illegally prepared and illegally obtained material to its own secret files,
compiled by planting informants among Arab-American, African-American,
anti-Apartheid and peace and justice groups.
infiltrators took notes of the names and remarks of speakers and members of
audiences at programs organized by such groups. ADL agents even recorded the
license plates of persons attending such programs and then suborned corrupt
motor vehicles department employees or renegade police officers to identify
Although one of
the principal offenders fled the United States to escape
prosecution, no significant penalties were assessed. ADL's
Northern California office was ordered to
comply with requests by persons upon whom dossiers had been prepared to see
their own files, but no one went to jail and as yet no one has paid fines.
surprisingly, a defecting employee revealed in an article he published in the
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs that AIPAC, too, has such
"enemies" files. They are compiled for use by pro-Israel
journalists like Steven Emerson and other so-called "terrorism
experts," and also by professional, academic or journalistic rivals of
the persons described for use in black-listing, defaming, or denouncing them.
What is never revealed is that AIPAC's
"opposition research" department, under the supervision of Michael
Lewis, son of famed Princeton University Orientalist
Bernard Lewis, is the source of this defamatory material.
But this is not AIPAC's most controversial activity. In the 1970s, when
Congress put a cap on the amount its members could earn from speakers' fees
and book royalties over and above their salaries, it halted AIPAC's most effective ways of paying off members for
voting according to AIPAC recommendations. Members of AIPAC's
national board of directors solved the problem by returning to their home
states and creating political action committees (PACs).
interests have PACs, as do many major corporations, labor unions, trade
associations and public-interest groups. But the pro-Israel groups went wild.
To date some 126 pro-Israel PACs have been registered, and no fewer than 50
have been active in every national election over the past generation.
voter can give up to $2,000 to a candidate in an election cycle, and a PAC
can give a candidate up to $10,000. However, a single special interest with
50 PACs can give a candidate who is facing a tough opponent, and who has
voted according to its recommendations, up to half a million dollars. That's
enough to buy all the television time needed to get elected in most parts of
who don't need this kind of money certainly don't want it to become available
to a rival from their own party in a primary election, or to an opponent from
the opposing party in a general election. As a result, all but a handful of
the 535 members of the Senate and House vote as AIPAC instructs
when it comes to aid to Israel,
or other aspects of U.S. Middle East policy.
something else very special about AIPAC's network
of political action committees. Nearly all have deceptive names. Who could possibly
know that the Delaware Valley Good Government Association in Philadelphia,
San Franciscans for Good Government in California,
Cactus PAC in Arizona, Beaver PAC in Wisconsin, and even Icepac in
are really pro-Israel PACs under deep cover?
Hiding AIPAC's Tracks
In fact, the congressmembers know it when they list the contributions
they receive on the campaign statements they have to prepare for the Federal
Election Commission. But their constituents don't know this when they read
these statements. So just as no other special interest can put so much
"hard money" into any candidate's election campaign as can the Israel lobby,
no other special interest has gone to such elaborate lengths to hide its
Although AIPAC, Washington's most
feared special-interest lobby, can hide how it uses both carrots and sticks
to bribe or intimidate members of Congress, it can't hide all of the results.
Anyone can ask
one of their representatives in Congress for a chart prepared by the
Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress,
that shows Israel
received $62.5 billion in foreign aid from fiscal year 1949 through fiscal
year 1996. People in the national capital area also can visit the library of
the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Rosslyn,
Virginia, and obtain the same information, plus charts showing how much
foreign aid the U.S. has given other countries as well.
learn that in precisely the same 1949-1996 time frame, the total of U.S. foreign aid to all of the countries of
sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean combined was
$62,497,800,000--almost exactly the amount given to tiny Israel.
According to the
Population Reference Bureau of Washington, DC, in mid-1995 the sub-Saharan
countries had a combined population of 568 million. The $24,415,700,000 in
foreign aid they had received by then amounted to $42.99 per sub-Saharan
a combined population of 486 million, all of the countries of Latin America
and the Caribbean together had received
$38,254,400,000. This amounted to $79 per person.
The per capita U.S. foreign aid to Israel's 5.8 million people
during the same period was $10,775.48. This meant that for every dollar the
U.S. spent on an African, it spent $250.65 on an Israeli, and for every
dollar it spent on someone from the Western Hemisphere outside the United
States, it spent $214 on an Israeli.
comparisons already seem shocking, but they are far from the whole truth.
Using reports compiled by Clyde Mark of the Congressional Research Service
and other sources, freelance writer Frank Collins tallied for theWashington Report all of the extra items for Israel buried
in the budgets of the Pentagon and other federal agencies in fiscal year 1993.Washington
Report news editor Shawn Twing did the same thing
for fiscal years 1996 and 1997.
$1.271 billion in extras in FY 1993, $355.3 million in FY 1996 and $525.8
million in FY 1997. These represent an average increase of 12.2 percent over
the officially recorded foreign aid totals for the same fiscal years, and
they probably are not complete. It's reasonable to assume, therefore, that a
similar 12.2 percent hidden increase has prevailed over all of the years Israel has
As of Oct. 31,
1997 Israel will have
received $3.05 billion in U.S.
foreign aid for fiscal year 1997 and $3.08 billion in foreign aid for fiscal
year 1998. Adding the 1997 and 1998 totals to those of previous years since
1949 yields a total of $74,157,600,000 in foreign aid grants and loans.
Assuming that the actual totals from other budgets average 12.2 percent of
that amount, that brings the grand total to
But that's not
quite all. Receiving its annual foreign aid appropriation during the first
month of the fiscal year, instead of in quarterly installments as do other
recipients, is just another special privilege Congress has voted for Israel. It
to invest the money in U.S. Treasury notes. That means that the U.S., which has to borrow the money it gives
to Israel, pays interest
on the money it has granted to Israel
in advance, while at the same time Israel is collecting interest on
the money. That interest to Israel
from advance payments adds another $1.650 billion to the total, making it
$84,854,827,200.That's the number you should write down for total aid to Israel. And
that's $14,346 each for each man, woman and child in Israel.
noting that that figure does not include U.S.
government loan guarantees to Israel,
of which Israel
has drawn $9.8 billion to date. They greatly reduce the interest rate the
Israeli government pays on commercial loans, and they place additional
burdens on U.S.
taxpayers, especially if the Israeli government should default on any of
them. But since neither the savings to Israel
nor the costs to U.S.
taxpayers can be accurately quantified, they are excluded from consideration
of Israel never tire of
saying that Israel has
never defaulted on repayment of a U.S. government loan. It would be
equally accurate to say Israel
has never been required to repay a U.S. government loan. The truth
of the matter is complex, and designed to be so by those who seek to conceal
it from the U.S.
Most U.S. loans to Israel
are forgiven, and many were made with the explicit understanding that they
would be forgiven before Israel
was required to repay them. By disguising as loans what in fact were grants,
cooperating members of Congress exempted Israel
from the U.S.
oversight that would have accompanied grants. On other loans, Israel was
expected to pay the interest and eventually to begin repaying the principal.
But the so-called Cranston Amendment, which has been attached by Congress to
every foreign aid appropriation since 1983, provides that economic aid to Israel will never dip below the amount Israel is
required to pay on its outstanding loans. In short, whether U.S. aid is extended as grants or loans to Israel, it
never returns to the Treasury.
Israel enjoys other privileges.
While most countries receiving U.S.
military aid funds are expected to use them for U.S.
arms, ammunition and training, Israel can spend part of these
funds on weapons made by Israeli manufacturers. Also, when it spends its U.S. military aid money on U.S. products, Israel
frequently requires the U.S.
vendor to buy components or materials from Israeli manufacturers. Thus,
though Israeli politicians say that their own manufacturers and exporters are
making them progressively less dependent upon U.S.
aid, in fact those Israeli manufacturers and exporters are heavily subsidized
beyond the parameters of this study, it's worth mentioning that Israel also
receives foreign aid from some other countries. After the United States, the principal donor of both
economic and military aid to Israel
By far the
largest component of German aid has been in the form of restitution payments
to victims of Nazi attrocities. But there also has
been extensive German military assistance to Israel during and since the Gulf
war, and a variety of German educational and research grants go to Israeli
institutions. The total of German assistance in all of these categories to
the Israeli government, Israeli individuals and Israeli private institutions
has been some $31 billion or $5,345 per capita, bringing the per capita total
and German assistance combined to almost $20,000 per Israeli. Since very
little public money is spent on the more than 20 percent of Israeli citizens
who are Muslim or Christian, the actual per capita benefits received by Israel's
Jewish citizens would be considerably higher.
True Cost to U.S.
Generous as it
is, what Israelis actually got in U.S.
aid is considerably less than what it has cost U.S. taxpayers to provide it. The
principal difference is that so long as the U.S.
runs an annual budget deficit, every dollar of aid the U.S. gives Israel
has to be raised through U.S.
In an article in
the Washington Report for December 1991/January 1992, Frank Collins estimated
the costs of this interest, based upon prevailing interest rates for every
year since 1949. I have updated this by applying a very conservative 5
percent interest rate for subsequent years, and confined the amount upon
which the interest is calculated to grants, not loans or loan guarantees.
On this basis
the $84.8 billion in grants, loans and commodities Israel
has received from the U.S.
since 1949 cost the U.S.
an additional $49,936,880,000 in interest.
There are many
other costs of Israel to U.S. taxpayers, such as most or all of the
$45.6 billion in U.S.
foreign aid to Egypt since
Egypt made peace with Israel in 1979 (compared to $4.2 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt for the preceding 26
years). U.S. foreign aid
to Egypt, which is pegged
at two-thirds of U.S.
foreign aid to Israel,
averages $2.2 billion per year.
There also have
been immense political and military costs to the U.S.
for its consistent support of Israel
half-century of disputes with the Palestinians and all of its Arab neighbors.
In addition, there have been the approximately $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees and perhaps $20 billion
in tax-exempt contributions made to Israel
by American Jews in the nearly half-century since Israel was created.
all of these extra costs, America's
$84.8 billion in aid to Israel
from fiscal years 1949 through 1998, and the interest the U.S. paid to borrow this money, has cost U.S.
taxpayers $134.8 billion, not adjusted for
inflation. Or, put another way, the nearly $14,630 every one of 5.8 million
Israelis received from the U.S.
government by Oct. 31, 1997 has cost American taxpayers $23,240 per Israeli.
It would be
interesting to know how many of those American taxpayers believe they and
their families have received as much from the U.S. Treasury as has everyone
who has chosen to become a citizen of Israel. But it's a question that
will never occur to the American public because, so long as America's mainstream media, Congress and
president maintain their pact of silence, few Americans will ever know the
true cost of Israel to U.S.
a retired U.S. foreign
service officer, is the executive editor of the Washington
Report on Middle East Affairs