Major establishment pro-Israel organizations have mobilized to target Sen. Paul for reportedly using his Senate privilege to block foreign aid funds to Israel.
Over at the Washington Free Beacon, Adam Kredo reports that the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Christians United for Israel (CUFI) are running ads attacking Sen. Paul for this decision to hold up aid funds.
The Kentucky senator later clarified his position on holding back aid to Israel. “I’m not for foreign aid in general, if we are going to send aid to Israel it should be limited in time and scope so we aren’t doing it forever, and it should be paid for by cutting the aid to people who hate Israel and America. This is a stance I’ve taken for many years,” Sen. Paul said in a statement that is going to be released shortly, according to Jewish Insider.
While foreign aid can acquire soft power influence for U.S. interests, that has not been the rationale, nor the purpose, for U.S. aid abroad in the 21st century. For example, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan receive around $11 billion dollars in combined U.S. aid every year, yet the aid dollars have largely failed to improve America’s standing — or increase goodwill — with those countries.
The United States sends just under $4 billion to Israel every year for defense aid. Unlike the foreign aid dollars doled out to other countries, virtually every cent has to be used on defense products from American companies, creating a major incentive for U.S. defense giants to support their guaranteed revenue stream.
Rand Paul’s Senate measure touches on a heated debate over whether U.S. aid to Israel is a force for good, is simply unnecessary, or is a negative force for the U.S.-Israel bond. One thing is for sure: The annual aid package is not at all the black-and-white issue that some are making it out to be.
In the pro-Israel world, most pro-Israel groups remain staunchly committed to defense aid to Israel. AIPAC, the pro-Israel behemoth (which has frustrated conservatives due to its soft handling of the Obama administration’s anti-Israel policies), has dedicated most of its resources to securing aid for Israel.
However, plenty of prominent scholars and organizations have argued that the aid package should be immediately or eventually reduced.
The Middle East Forum’s Daniel Pipes writes: “Just as individuals are best off when self-reliant, so too are countries.” He cites Israel’s increasing GDP and flourishing economy. “The U.S. government will have a better ally by intelligently closing down the aid relationship.”
Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick has likened the aid package to a “poison pill.” She notes that the aid package enabled the Obama administration and other liberal administrations to act with extreme hostility against Israel and then save face by dangling foreign aid for a state that is forced to become “psychologically dependent on the good will of strangers.”
Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz, along with your humble correspondent, believes that the aid package creates an unhealthy dependency. It sets up Israel as if it operates in serfdom, instead of the U.S. and Israel together advancing our thriving, mutually beneficial alliance on equal terms.
Additionally, the aid package creates leverage for anti-Israel administrations such as the Obama administration to force Israel into making major, dangerous concessions to the Palestinian entities in the terrorist group Hamas and the terrorist-sponsoring Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Israel is continuing on a healthy trajectory towards becoming an economic, technological, and military powerhouse. With every day that passes, Israel’s need for U.S. aid — other than in the event that a major war breaks out between Israel and one of its terrorist neighbors, or Iran or Syria — continues to decrease. Israel’s full independence from American aid dollars will allow the Jewish state to flourish and further expand its independence in defense and other industries. It will also allow Israel the space it needs to make decisions that preserve its national interests, while sustaining and improving the mutually beneficial relationship with its closest ally.