President Obama Says It’s Time To Stop Subsidizing Israeli Defense Industry
It’s time for Israel to fund its own military and stop killing American jobs with a “special relationship” subsidizing its defense industry.
America has what are called “special relationships” with a few nations and although that designation typically applies to the United Kingdom, there is another foreign nation that enjoys a “really special relationship” with America. It is fairly well-known that America doles out a significant amount of taxpayer money to many foreign nations in the form of defense aid, but no country enjoys more taxpayer largesse than Israel.
However, unlike every other country reaping hundreds-of-millions, and indeed billions, of taxpayer dollars for defense, only Israel is allowed to spend the billions it receives every year to subsidize its own defense sector. Any and all other governments receiving American aid for defense has to spend it on American-made weapons, but because of the “special relationship” with America, Israel uses American aid to bolster its own defense industry and President Barack Obama wants that atrocity to come to an abrupt end. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is of a different mindset and doesn’t like the idea of America ending its subsidies that create jobs and economic benefit to Israelis at the expense of American jobs and its economy.
As America and Israel are in the process of completing an agreement to continue giving billions of American tax dollars annually to Israel for defense, the last obstacle to a deal extending to 2029 is what is known as the “offshore procurement” provision. It is a provision President Barack Obama says has to end because it is nothing more than American taxpayers subsidizing Israel’s defense sector. As the agreement has been, and is now, Israel gets to spend a whopping 26% of the American “gifts” at home to enrich its defense industry and create Israeli jobs. Israel is the only nation on Earth America has “that” special arrangement with and Benjamin Netanyahu demands that it stays in place.
Under President Obama, U.S. military aid to Israel is more than any other president in U.S. history and still, Republicans scream perpetually that the President “throws Israel under the bus” with every foreign policy decision he makes. Of course what Republicans and Netanyahu really object to is not the President’s generosity to Israel, but his resistance to allowing Israel to set American foreign policy, but that’s another story.
America already gives Israel too much defense money, but the least the ingrates should do is abide by the same conditions as every other military aid recipient and spend those tens-of-billions buying American-made arms. In fact, earlier this month National Security Adviser Susan Rice said, “Even in these days of belt tightening, we are prepared to sign the single largest military assistance package — with any country — in American history.” And she noted that the gifts to Israel’s economy and jobs “comprises more than 50 percent of the total U.S. military aid budget.” It is noteworthy that a little over a fourth of that 50 percent creates jobs and economic growth for Israel at the expense of American defense jobs.
The President’s hard line on ending the taxpayer-funded subsidies for a foreign country’s defense industry is a reflection of the concern among no small number of American defense companies and it is a valid concern. They rightly complain that America is unwittingly or not aiding foreign competitors vying for sales in the international arms market. A former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs during the W. Bush administration (2007-2009), Mary Beth Long, said it was long past time to “rethink Israel’s offshore procurement exception.”
Ms. Long believes:
“America has a strategic and moral obligation to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge,” what she said is a defense concept that requires America to “sell Israel more advanced defense technology than its regional rivals receive. The information sharing, the tactics, techniques and procedures, the things we have learned from the Israelis particularly as to asymmetric confrontation, and their visibility into the region is absolutely critical to our national security.”
But, she also concluded that the special relationship regarding military aid has gone off the rails in recent years. She continued:
“It doesn’t make sense for Israel to come back and ask for supplemental projects if they can’t make the case of why they didn’t spend
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