Powered by WebAds

Monday, October 25, 2010

Republicans to separate aid to Israel from other foreign aid

Well here's an interesting idea. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va) says that if the Republicans win control of the House next week, they will move to make foreign aid to Israel a separate bill from the overall foreign aid bill.
U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican whip and the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives, told JTA that a GOP-led House would seek to defund nations that do not share U.S. interests, even if it meant rejecting the president's foreign operations budget.

Cantor, of Virginia, said he wants to protect funding for Israel should that situation arise.

"Part of the dilemma is that Israel has been put in the overall foreign aid looping," he said when asked about the increasing tendency of Republicans in recent years to vote against foreign operations appropriations. "I'm hoping we can see some kind of separation in terms of tax dollars going to Israel."

Cantor's statement was a sign that the Republican leadership was ready to defer to the party's right wing on this matter. Some on the GOP right have suggested including Israel aid in the defense budget, and a number of Tea Party-backed candidates have said they would vote against what is known in Congress as "foreign ops."

However, until now at least, the GOP leadership has backed deferring to the executive branch when it comes to foreign spending, albeit after it has completed budgetary negotiations with the Congress.

The GOP looks set to win at least the House in the upcoming Nov. 2 elections, partly because of the recent surge in conservative activism.

The pro-Israel community has always backed the president's final foreign aid budget as a whole and strongly resisted proposals to separate funding for Israel for a number of reasons.

Among them, pro-Israel activists see aid for Israel as inextricably bound with the broader interest of countering isolationism; elevating Israel above other nations might be counterproductive in an American electorate still made up of diverse ethnic groups; and such a designation would make Israel more beholden to U.S. policy and erode its independence.

Pro-Israel officials before the interview with Cantor had told JTA that the priority in January would be making the case to newly elected Republicans for backing a holistic foreign assistance package.
On the other hand, separating Israel would take away all excuses for voting against foreign aid to Israel, especially "I didn't like the rest of the bill." It would also allow Congress to reduce aid to countries like Egypt and Lebanon, and to the 'Palestinian Authority,' without affecting aid to Israel. Bundling aid to bad countries with aid to Israel makes it easier for the White House to get aid to the bad guys through. And aid to Israel may be the item in the foreign aid bill about which there is the greatest consensus.

Laura Rozen adds:
While Cantor's intent seems to be to exempt from future partisan budget battles the $30 billion in U.S. foreign and security assistance the Obama administration has pledged to Israel over the next ten years, some pro-Israel advocates are getting increasingly nervous about the coming Congress.

"This gimmick doesn't bode well for keeping aid to Israel the uncontroversial proposition it is in Congress today," one Democratic Hill staffer said. "Unfortunately, in reality, this measure would endanger aid to Israel and put partisan Republican interests over the interests of the U.S.-Israel relationship."
I'm not convinced this measure would endanger aid to Israel - at least not with the incoming Congress. And I wouldn't dismiss it as a 'gimmick.' The bigger problem is that this is a structural change that might not always be to our benefit. For example, suppose foreign aid to Iasrael were a separate item in the '70's and had to be reported out by a committee headed by JW Fulbright, who was notoriously anti-Israel. But I wouldn't reject the idea out of hand.


At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a U.S. citizen I don't understand why we cant cut the aid we give to our enemies, while at the same time continue to aid our friends to the fullest extent. I am sick of giving aid to people that not only hate us but given the chance would destroy us.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Alexander Maccabee said...

Like the great Rabbi Kahane [may his blood be avenged]said, "US economic aid turns Israel into a junkie looking for her fix". It is time for Israel to stand on her own two legs and shuck off American control.


Post a Comment

<< Home