$500m to Israel in midst of Covid relief bill sparks ire
JARED KUSHNER GETS HIS NAME ON PLAZA AT US EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM. DEC. 21, 2020. DAVID FRIEDMAN IS AT LEFT.
We regularly try to say it’s controversial that Israel receives nearly $4 billion in military aid from the United States every year. Well when the Covid relief bill in the Congress began circulating today, many commentators including in the mainstream have jumped on the fact that the massive legislation is bundled alongside other appropriations that include $500 million in military aid to Israel.
The Israel funds are evidently routine portions of a foreign aid bill that was linked to the Covid relief funds, but Israel aid began trending on Twitter and many expressed shock over it.
“$600 for you, $500,000,000 to Israel,” Sven Henrich, a trader, writes. A Democratic activist, Amanda Siebe, writes:
$500,000,000 could restore the at-home caregiver program that got cut under Trump and the GOP. . . It could be used so schools have funds for distance learning. . . It could be used to get the 32,000,000 uninsured people healthcare for 2021. . . But nope. It’s going to Israel.
“$500,000,000 for Israel whilst the citizens of Flint still have poisoned water,” says another commenter.
Glenn Greenwald addresses the power of the Israel lobby: “Israel has universal health care while Americans — transferring yet more of your money to that foreign country — do not: (they also have an excellent Lobby that wields more power than you do in the halls of Congress).”
Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report noted reports that the actual Covid relief funds aren’t going to Israel.
So Israel didn’t get COVID money. They still got our money just the same. And yes it is $500 million. They couldn’t maintain their apartheid state without your cash and mine.
Another tweeter asks, Why are people so surprised that this money is going to Israel when Israel named a neighborhood after Trump in the occupied Golan?
The news earlier today —
The US Embassy courtyard in Jerusalem has been named in Jared Kushner’s honor. The US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman unveiled the plaque. Kushner was in attendance for the ceremony.
caused Andrea Harrison to respond on twitter:
So is this why we are including $500 million of our #stimuluspackage to Israel @SpeakerPelosi@SenSchumer@senatemajldr get this crap out of our stimulus bill!!
Josh Ruebner explains on Facebook that the funds for Israel are not actually part of the Covid relief funds:
The idea floating around social media that Israel got $500 million in COVID stimulus funds for weapons is not accurate and it’s not helpful to the cause of Palestinian rights to spread inaccurate information. Along with the COVID reliefs funds, the House yesterday also passed an omnibus appropriations bill (the regular budget with all the appropriations bills smushed into one big bill b/c as usual Congress couldn’t get their act together to pass a normal budget in time), which included all the standard weapons giveaways for Israel ($3.8 billion actually, not $500 million) plus a new $50 million program to fund Israeli-Palestinian people-to-people programs.
Israel is hardly the only beneficiary of foreign aid in the bill. There’s $453 million for the Ukraine in there, too. $130 million for Nepal. $1.65 billion to Jordan.
Nonetheless, the proximity of the budget votes has caused defensiveness in the pro-Israel community. Even AIPAC rushed in in defense of the funding to Israel.
The bill also contains $2 billion in Air Force missile systems. $4 billion for Navy weapons procurement. $2 billion for Space Force.
Walker Bragman of Jacobin explains:
It should be noted this is all part of a consolidated appropriations package — COVID relief was tied into the continuing resolution. But these figures are still useful to see what our government’s priorities are.