The question [of how to “write honestly about the Israel lobby’s power in D.C. without using any anti-Semitic ‘tropes’ at all”], it seems to me, is one of proportion.
Take foreign aid. The U.S. provides the Jewish state with $3.8 billion a year in aid, and has committed to doing so for each of the next ten years. Compare that with what the U.S. gives other allies who are as wealthy as Israel: The U.K. got $150,000 in 2017; South Korea got $775,000. The average aid for high-income countries like Israel, according to USAID, is $79 million a year. Israel gets 48 times more.
Per capita, the disparity is close to absurd. Israel gets $436 in U.S. aid a year; dirt-poor Afghanistan $154; post-war Iraq $91; Egypt $14. By any measure, this is extreme exceptionalism. Yes, Israel faces military threats. But so does South Korea. And, unlike South Korea, Israel has nuclear weapons (illegally acquired) and its enemies don’t. The IDF and the Mossad stride the region with unparalleled military capacity and a vast technological edge. Israel is not David any more. It’s Goliath. And even if you believe the U.S. should somehow be aiding a country as wealthy as Israel, you’ve got to admit the scale of it is off the charts.
You might expect that in return for all that money and military protection, the Israeli government would be eager to please the U.S., help buttress American foreign policy diplomatically, or respond swiftly when the U.S. asks the Jewish state not to violate international law, launch wars that kill a lot of civilians, or construct a brutal and corrosive apartheid state on the West Bank. But after you’ve spent a while in Washington, you begin to realize that’s not exactly how this works. In return for giving Israel $3.8 billion a year … the U.S. is expected to consent to anything and everything Israel wants. When you look at this from a distance, it is really quite amazing. [Continue reading…]