Israel Aid Package Exempted From The Across The Board Cuts
By M.J. Rosenberg - January 25, 2010, 8:41PM
I knew, as soon as I heard that President Obama was proposing an across-the-board spending cut, that it would apply exclusively to domestic programs and not to any programs overseas.
That is not only because of the wars we are waging in Iraq or Afghanistan and certainly not because of humanitarian concern for poor Africans or Asians or even Haitians. It is because the biggest foreign aid recipient, by far, is Israel.
The fact is that historically all proposals for across-the-board cuts have carefully exempted the Israel aid package to ensure that that AIPAC will not lobby against them. The pattern is decades old. No matter who (except Ron Paul) proposes the sledgehammer cuts, he is careful to exempt Israel.
It's a pity too. If only the budget cuts included Israel. there would be a strong, intimidating, lobby to oppose them.
Personally, I do not favor cuts in the foreign aid package. America is notoriously stingy when it comes to helping the world's poor and we should be providing more aid, not less. USAID operates on a shoestring and always has. We are not the generous people we think we are, not by a long shot.
As for the Israel aid package, it is the locomotive that pulls the whole foreign aid package to enactment. If the Israel aid was a stand-alone bill, it would pass overwhelmingly (thanks to AIPAC) while aid to the rest of the world would be slashed to nothing.
So I'm not complaining about the Israel aid per se although I sure as heck would put strings on it (like making aid conditional on Israel not telling the United States to drop dead when we ask for something). .
Nonetheless, it is striking that thanks to the lobby, nobody dares suggest that Israelis suffer the budget cuts that Americans will suffer. It only makes one wish that working Americans (and the poor, and the sick. and kids) had a lobby half as overbearing as AIPAC.