On May 9 the House of Representatives passed a bill that could have a dramatic impact on America’s foreign policy and will certainly cost us a lot of money, but since any news of this legislation was virtually absent from the mainstream media, very few Americans are aware of it existence. H.R. 4133, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, was slipped through the House under a rules suspension that allowed a quick vote with virtually no debate. The bill had bipartisan backing, being introduced by Democrats Howard Berman and Steny Hoyer and two particularly loathsome Republicans, who seem to owe their primary allegiance to Israel, Eric Cantor and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. (Actually, the bill had “tripartisan” backing, since the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Tel Aviv’s powerful instrument in America, helped write it.) The vote was 411-2, only Ron Paul (R) and John Dingell (D) voting against. How odd that our increasingly dysfunctional and divided government could achieve virtually unanimity on a bill, one that most Americans will never hear of.
Anyone with a modicum of intelligence and honesty already knows what actions counter to our interests Israel’s stranglehold on Washington has forced upon us, but this bill represents a mind-numbing escalation of commitment to a state whose foreign and domestic policies are at odds with what this country presumes to stand for. In essence the bill is a blank check from the American taxpayer, who will now be obliged to support Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over all its neighbors combined, of course leaving it to Israel and its Congressional supporters (which is to say, almost all of Congress) to decide exactly what that vague phrase means. Certainly, one thing it means is that we will be sending more of our money out of the country in order to support activities of extremely questionable legality and morality.
The legislation also affirms our commitment to the “security of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.” This is an interesting development in our “passionate attachment” (G. Washington) to Israel. We have of course spent decades squandering our money and international credibility on an “ally” whose value to American security and interests (apart from domestic politics) is not at all clear and which continually violates the international law we are pledged to uphold and the basic values that we trumpet to the world. But now we have pledged (for the first time in our history, I believe) to guarantee the religious/cultural nature of a foreign country.
One might legitimately ask why we should care, unless it was to criticize an oppressive government, which we cannot do anyway in the case of Israel, but more than that, what exactly does this mean? When the Muslim minority in Israel’s citizen body becomes the majority, as it inevitably will, will the US have to intervene? When Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) are formally incorporated into Eretz Yisrael will we have to help enforce apartheid or deport all those Palestinians? If a majority of Israeli citizens voted to declare Israel a secular state, would we have to prop up a minority government? And exactly what is a “Jewish state,” especially when the majority of inhabitants of the state in question do not practice Judaism?
The legislation requires the US to supply all sorts of equipment for the “defense” of Israel. Of course, Israel has always been able to utterly smash its enemies, requiring only resupply from a compliant Uncle Sam, and the only potentially threatening neighbor whose military might be improving is Egypt, whose major supplier, America, is hardly likely to provide her an edge. Included in the list are refueling tankers and bunker-busting bombs, which are obviously offensive weapons, unless of course your definition of defense includes preemptive strikes against other countries, which it does in the eyes of Israel – and increasingly the United States. What are now called “preemptive strikes” were traditionally labeled “wars of aggression.” I wonder if the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor can be called a preemptive strike? After all, American naval power was a threat to the continued existence of the Japanese Empire.
One particularly frightening part of the bill is the expressed desire for Israel to play an increased role in NATO, included a presence at NATO headquarters and involvement in NATO exercises. The clear intention is that Israel ultimately become a member of NATO, thus dragging the entire European alliance into her wars and making it complicit in her continued violation of international law. With that Israel could attack Iran or any other country with impunity, because if the victim dare fight back, the United States and the rest of NATO would be required to come to her aid. This would be placing an assault rifle in the hands of an ill disciplined child. But it is hard to imagine Turkey signing on to this plan, and one hopes the majority of European members would also object. Of course, then Congress would begin looking at an actual treaty with Israel, though given the utter subservience of our politicians to Israeli interests, it would hardly be necessary.
One final slap in our face. Washington has agreed to put up an additional $680 million (beyond the $3.1 billion we pay every year) to help Israel pay for her Iron Dome anti-missile system and the new F-35 fighter. Israel has also requested another $168 million for security measures, while the Obama administration has asked for $99.9 million on top of that. And to make sure poor Israel does not run out of American money the Iron Dome Support Act, introduced by Berman and the ever vigilant Ross-Lehtinen, would require our Treasury to keep shelling out the money. And here is the joke on us: Israel has this year cut its defense budget by 5% and intends to do the same next year! Oh, there is a second joke: the United States has absolutely no rights to the technology being developed for the Iron Dome system, which will be marketed to the world by Israel. Perhaps we can get a special deal.
We have become a silly nation.