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Trump responds to Israeli complaints about US troops exiting Syria: We give Israel $4.5 billion

If Americans Knew | December 28, 2018

Israel and its American partisans have been complaining vociferously about President Trump’s recent decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, a nation that Israel and pro-Israel neocons have long targeted.

When Trump was recently asked at a briefing in Iraq whether the troop withdrawal would leave Israel in jeopardy, Trump responded: “We give Israel $4.5 billion a year. And they’re doing very well defending themselves…”

Trump emphasized: “We’re going to take good care of Israel. Israel is going to be good. But we give Israel $4.5 billion a year.”

He went on: “And we give them, frankly, a lot more money than that, if you look at the books — a lot more money than that.”

While Trump’s statements went virtually unreported in U.S. media, which rarely tell Americans about U.S. money to Israel, Israeli news organizations headlined the statement, some questioning the amount.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had originally demanded that the U.S. give Israel $4.5 billion per year in U.S. military aid, Netanyahu signed a memorandum of understanding with the Obama administration in 2016 that placed the ceiling at $3.8 billion per year for the next 10 years.

New legislation currently before Congress would make the disbursement law rather than a non-binding agreement, and changed the arrangement to make the $3.8 billion a minimum, with the expectation that the aid will increase in future years. (The bill is currently being held up by Senator Rand Paul.)

Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper suggests that the difference between the current allocation of $3.8 billion and the $4.5 billion stated by Trump might be due to additional aid to Israel under other budget items:

Ha’aretz reports that in early 2018 the U.S. allocated “over $700 million to supporting Israel’s various missile defense systems, including the Iron Dome system. This was included in the federal spending bill of 2018, and it was an increase of more than $100 million compared to the amount of money provided for Iron Dome and other missile defense systems in the previous year.

“The missile defense support budget is separate from the $3.8 billion Israel will receive under the 2016 agreement signed by Obama and Netanyahu. When the two support budgets are combined, the math behind Trump’s comment becomes clear: 3.8 plus 0.7 adds up to 4.5.”

Ha’aretz also addresses what Trump might have meant by “And we give them, frankly, a lot more money than that, if you look at the books — a lot more money than that.”

Ha’aretz posits that the President might be referring to American support for the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, “which received tens of millions of dollars this year from his administration. It is a well-known secret in Washington that the strongest advocates for continued American support of the PA’s security forces are Israeli security and intelligence officials, who want to keep in place the successful coordination between the IDF and those forces.”

The website Mondoweiss points out that Trump has complained about U.S. aid to Israel before: “During the 2016 campaign, he said that Israel should pay for American defense, just as he had called on South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia to do. ‘I think Israel will do that also, yeah, I think Israel do—there are many countries that can pay and they [Israel] can pay big league.’”

The difference is that the American lobby for Israel dwarfs the lobbies for other countries.

December 29, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pushback Against Israel Is Beginning

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.11.2018

The Anglophone Israel Lobby benefits from its ability to mold the media narrative while at the same time using financial incentives to corrupt the political class. For those who do not succumb to the corruption, there is always the option of direct pressure, which in the United States and Britain consists of targeted interference in the political system to remove critics either through promotion of scandal or by supporting well-funded alternative candidates in the following election. In the United States, this has led to the removal of a number of congressmen who had dared to criticize the Jewish state, terrifying the remainder into silence. All of this goes on with little or no debate in the media or in congress itself.

There are signs, however, that the general tolerance of Israeli misbehavior might be ending. The election of at least three Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who might be willing to discuss Israel in something less than worshipful ways is a minuscule shift in the alignment of the Democratic party, where Jewish money dominates, but it reflects the views of the party’s grass roots where a recent poll demonstrates that surveyed Democrats favor Israel over Palestine by a margin of only 2%, twenty-seven per cent versus twenty-five per cent with the remainder of responders favoring neither side.

Much more significant is last week’s announcement by Senator Rand Paul that he intends to place a “hold” on the current package of $38 billion in military aid to Israel, which means he can filibuster the issue in the Senate to delay its passage. Paul, who, like his father, is a skeptic regarding foreign aid in general, did not cite any specific issues connected to the aid package, but critics have long noted that Israel is in fact ineligible for any foreign aid from the United States because it has an undeclared nuclear arsenal consisting of at least 200 weapons. For that reason, providing aid to Israel is illegal under the Symington Amendment of 1961 as well as due to the fact that Tel Aviv has rejected signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT.

Paul’s action is extremely courageous as he is the first Senator since William Fulbright to dare to say anything negative about the Jewish state. Fulbright was, of course, punished by the Israel Lobby, which committed major resources to defeating him when he next came up for reelection. Another U.S. Senator Charles Percy was so bold as to maintain that Palestinian Arabs might actually have “rights” also found himself confronted by an extremely well-funded opponent who defeated him for reelection, so Paul’s action is far from risk free. In fact, the Israel Lobby is already reacting hysterically to the “hold,” as is the Israeli government, and one can be sure that all their massive resources will be used to punish the senator.

Another area where one might have expected more pushback from Americans is the lack of any serious resistance from Christian groups to the process whereby the conservative Likud dominated Netanyahu government is seeking to turn Israel into a purely Jewish state. That too is changing due to Israeli behavior. Even though Israel boasts that it provides a safe haven for Christians to practice their religion, reports occasionally surface suggesting something quite different. Jewish Zealots spit on Christian clergy and curse them out in the streets without any fear of repercussions. Some clergy have been harassed and even assaulted by Jewish extremists. Churches and religious foundations are frequently vandalized or defaced with obscene graffiti and the Israeli government has also confiscated or destroyed church property.

America’s Presbyterian Church has led the charge in criticizing Israeli brutality. At its June General Assembly it passed a resolution condemning Israeli apartheid. Its Office of Public Witness has been in the forefront in calling on Israel to cease and desist. An Action Alert issued this summer entitled “Tell Congress: 70 years of suffering is enough! Stop the killing, hold Israel accountable, and support human rights for all” denounced the slaughter of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza by the Israeli Army.

Now it is the turn of the Quakers in Britain, who have banned any investment by the church in companies that exploit the “military occupation of Palestinian territories by the Israeli government.”, prompting a furious response from Jewish leaders. It is the first British Church to do so and leaders of the group have compared their action to taking steps against apartheid and the slave trade.

It is certainly a turnabout to see anyone taking on Israel and its all too often invincible lobby. What is significant is that Christian churches and even some congressmen have begun to speak out in spite of the knowledge that immense Jewish power in the United States and Britain will make them pay a price for doing so. May the realization that Israel’s interference in friendly countries damages their democracy finally reach a point where some people in Congress, the media and even in the White House will begin to listen.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Praise for the Least Popular Guy in Washington

By John V. Walsh | Dissident Voice | June 24, 2015

“I am the least popular guy in Washington.” Thus spoke Rand Paul at a stopover rally in Massachusetts on his way to New Hampshire on June 7. Who can doubt that claim after the events of the last few weeks.

When you have Barack Obama, John McCain, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell all arrayed against you, you are bound to get the award for least popular guy in Empire’s capital city. An accolade of this magnitude also means that you must be doing something right. And that something right was Paul’s filibuster against the PATRIOT Act in the Senate in defiance of his own Party, an act that killed the Section 215 and the other ugly provisions of the PATRIOT Act dead.

Now here is the strange thing about Senator Paul’s acts of courage and defiance. Those who wish to see respect for privacy and the Bill of Rights withhold their praise from Paul! Is that not strange on the face of it? It is great to have sympathizers who are also critical when the occasion demands it — and Paul has these in abundance. But when a political figure like Rand Paul does something right, he also deserves praise. To withhold such praise will in the end weaken an ally and perhaps lead to his political demise.

So let’s get to the overdue praise right now. One loud full-throated cheer for Rand Paul – for his courageous stance opposing the PATRIOT Act and also for opposing Obama’s fake reform USA FREEDOM Act which has replaced it.1 Virtually all the Democratic Senators who stood against PATRIOT embraced the USA FREEDOM Act. Paul opposed both.

At the Massachusetts rally Paul launched into an impressive and detailed defense of the Bill of Rights, a theme this writer heard him pursue last Fall, at the Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC) in Virginia. And this time, as then, there was emphasis on the toll that violations of the Bill of Rights took on Blacks, Latinos and other minorities. He put it this way, that violations of the Bill would most affect the “least among us,” those discriminated against based on the color of their skin or other minority status. Of course that is a phrase echoing Matthew 29:40 which would be convincing to the many Christians in the audience. And Paul reminded the audience that one could take on minority status based on what one thinks or believes, another strong appeal to contrarians and libertarians among the listeners. Paul went on to appeal to the audience to turn the Republican Party into one that represents and recruits Blacks, Latinos and other minorities, adding that this was not only an ethical imperative but also a winning strategy. It is easy to imagine the appeal of the Rand Paul libertarians in those communities that are subjected to the New Jim Crow, victimized in the “war” on drugs, hunted and often killed by brutal, militarized police. Rand Paul has stood against all these things openly and vigorously

It is a pity that only the rare progressive will hear such a speech by Paul. For in these matters he is their ally. Unfortunately, most progressives do not feel a need to do this since, as they will tell you, they “already know” what Rand Paul stands for.

So let a second thunderous cheer go up for Rand Paul’s opposition to the war on drugs with its mandatory minimums, to police militarization and brutality and to other manifestations of the New Jim Crow.

While we are at it, let us look at a stance of Paul’s that has attracted less attention but may be one of the most important. He has called attention to the disaster unfolding as a result of the War on Libya, and quite correctly called it Hillary’s War since she was the driving force for it. It has destroyed Libya, which before the war had the highest rating in all of African on the UN’s Human Development Index. It has launched a wave of immigrants to Europe, many of them perishing at sea along the way. And to get approval for the Western intervention, the US lied to the UN Security council, claiming that there would be no bombing but only a no-fly zone for “humanitarian” reasons. Instead the West became the air force for the opposition to Gaddafi, bombing Libya mercilessly. That lie has had grave consequences for world peace, with Vladimir Putin stating that lie was the last straw in terms of believing or trusting the U.S.

So let us add a third and final rousing cheer for Paul in bringing the War on Libya to the forefront where its ugly significance can be seen by one and all. This conflict was no inheritance from Bush but the Obama administration’s very own war from day one.

To return to the issue of mass surveillance, the cause of the first cheer, and those who regret that Rand Paul was unable to stop the USA FREEDOM Act as he did the PATRIOT Act, they should recognize he did what he could. With a bigger base and some more cheers, there is little doubt that much more could be done to stop the Spy State and the other atrocities Paul has opposed.

~

  1. If you have any doubts that the USA FREEDOM Act is a sham reform, the PATRIOT Act in disguise, here is what the ACLU’s director Jameel Jaffer had to say about the “USA FREEDOM Act”:

    This bill would make only incremental improvements, and at least one provision—the material-support provision—would represent a significant step backwards. The disclosures of the last two years make clear that we need wholesale reform.

    For more detail and a hint of how bad the USA FREEDOM Act really is, read what Jaffer said to Glenn Greenwald here.

    If that does not convince you, think about this. Obama has been making love to the PATRIOT Act since he has been in office, advocating and winning its extension in 2011. But after Snowden’s revelations burst on the scene in 2013, the widespread anger made it impossible for PATRIOT’s ugly provisions like Section 215 to survive. So Obama offered a “reform.” It would have been very surprising, given Obama’s record, if that reform were anything other than the fig leaf it turned out to be. And a pathetic fig leaf it is, woefully inadequate at providing cover for our clothes-less, spying Emperor.

June 25, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Senate Unanimously Passes Resolution Supporting Israeli Assault on Gaza

By Chris Carlson | International Middle East Media Center | July 18, 2014

341142_GrahamFollowing a similar resolution passed last week by the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate voted Thursday night to support Israel’s ongoing invasion of the Gaza Strip.

No dissenting vote was cast, and no mention was made of the hundreds of Palestinian civilians, most of whom are women and children, that have been killed by Israel in the past ten days.

Senate Resolution 498 was authored by Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), with additional support by Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rand Paul (R-KY).

Paul is urging the Senate to pass his own bill, S. 2265, which would end all U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority until Hamas is barred from the new Palestinian unity government, among other stipulations.

The resolution was passed on the very same night Israel launched its current ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.

The United States and Israel, this past week, signed an agreement under which $429 million of American taxpayers’ money “will be transferred immediately to Israel” to further fund the Iron Dome missile system, which has recently come under scrutiny by prize winning Israeli defense and aerospace engineering expert Dr. Moti Shefer.

July 18, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 4 Comments

Senate panel approves aid to military governments

Press TV – December 19, 2013

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a bill facilitating the provision of aid to countries ruled by post-coup military governments.

The bill would require the US government to determine when a democratically-elected government has been removed by force, Foreign Policy reported on Wednesday.

The Senate Committee passed the Egypt Assistance Reform Act by a 16-1 vote on Wednesday and the key supporters of the bill, Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), say the congressional legislation would authorize the US administration to maintain ties with strategically important countries like Egypt even after military forces overthrow a democratically-elected government.

“This legislation reaffirms the enduring U.S. commitment to our partnership with the Egyptian government by authorizing continued assistance and endorsing the importance of ongoing cooperation,” said Menendez, the chairman of the Committee.

On July 3, Egypt’s powerful military ousted former Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi who was the country’s first democratically-elected head of state.

The administration of US President Barack Obama refused to call the military-led ouster of Morsi a coup because such acknowledgement would trigger an automatic congressional ban on the US aid to the Egyptian military.

Section 7008 of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Law prohibits aid to countries run by post-coup military governments.

Nevertheless, if the new bill makes it into law, the US government would not find itself in the same situation in the future because it is tasked with making a coup determination.

The bill, which was drafted in consultation with the White House, was criticized by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who said, “Instead of holding the Egyptians accountable, this bill will make it easier for the US to send tanks and F-16 fighter jets to a country that suffers endemic violence against political opponents and religious minorities.”

December 19, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Despite Talk of Drones, 3/4 of U.S. Missiles in Afghanistan are Fired by Piloted Airplanes

By Matt Bewig | AllGov | March 26, 2013

(photo: U.S. Air Force)

Apparently stung by mounting criticism of its remote control assassination program, the Obama administration early this month secretly reneged on an Air Force promise to “provide more detailed information on [drone operations] in Afghanistan” by failing to provide data on drone strikes for February. And in an Orwellian twist, the Air Force removed the previously released data on drone strikes from the reports for October 2012 to January 2013.

According to the data, the Air Force actually relies more heavily on piloted aircraft to conduct airstrikes, with drones responsible for only about one-quarter of missiles fired. The data shows that the Air Force conducted 1,366 drone strikes in Afghanistan between 2009 and January 2013. Although casualty figures were omitted, it is known that the U.S. has killed between 3,049 and 4,376 civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia during about 500 “covert” drone strikes, including at least 179 children—the equivalent of 9 Newtown child massacres.

Indeed, parents who have seen their children killed by U.S. bombs don’t care if the person who pushed the button that released the bomb was inside an airplane or in a control room thousands of miles away.

The “sanitized” reports without the drone strike data were created on February 22, just two days after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) threatened to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan to be CIA Director over Paul’s concerns that the Obama administration believed it had the authority to use drone strikes inside the U.S. Joined by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Paul filibustered for almost 13 hours, finally getting a denial from Attorney General Eric Holder that this administration believes it has such authority.

Although the Defense Department released a statement claiming the data was removed to make the reports more accurate in light of the unsupported assertion that most drone operations do not include strikes, the Pentagon also took pains to state that it was not involved in the decision to hide the data. That can only mean that the decision came straight from the White House—almost certainly from President Obama himself, who, ironically, promised in 2008 to run the federal government in a more open and transparent manner.

March 26, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Despite Talk of Drones, 3/4 of U.S. Missiles in Afghanistan are Fired by Piloted Airplanes

AIPAC Resolution Demanding War With Iran On House Floor Tomorrow

M J Rosenburg | May 14 2012

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives is slated to vote on a resolution designed to tie the president’s hands on Iran policy. The resolution, which is coming up under an expedited House procedure, was the centerpiece of AIPAC’s recent conference. In fact, 13,000 AIPAC delegates were dispatched to Capitol Hill, on the last day of the conference, with instructions to tell the senators and representatives whom they met that supporting this resolution was #1 on AIPAC’s election year agenda.

Accordingly, it is not particularly surprising that the resolution is being rushed to the House floor for a vote, nor that it is expected to pass with very little opposition. Those voting “no” on this one will pay a price in campaign contributions (the ones they won’t receive) and, very likely, will be smeared as “anti-Israel.” That is how it works.

Most of the language in H. Res.568 is unremarkable, the usual boilerplate (some of it factual) denouncing the Islamic Republic of Iran as a “state sponsor of terrorism” that is on the road to nuclear weapons capability.

The resolution’s overarching message is that Iran must be deterred from developing weapons, a position the White House (and our allies share). That is why the sanctions regime is in place and also why negotiations with Iran have resumed (the next session is May 23).

But the resolution does not stop with urging the president to use his authority to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. If it did, the resolution would be uncontroversial.

But there is also this: The House “urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and opposition to any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.”

Think about that.

The resolution, which almost surely will pass on Tuesday, is telling the president that he may not “rely on containment” in response to “the Iranian nuclear threat.”

Since the resolution, and U.S. policy itself defines Iranian possession of nuclear weapons as, ipso facto, a threat, Congress would be telling the president that any U.S. response to that threat other than war is unacceptable. In fact, it goes farther than that, not only ruling out containment of a nuclear armed Iran but also containment of an Iran that has a “nuclear weapons capability.”

That means that the only acceptable response to a nuclear armed or nuclear capable Iran is not containment but its opposite: war.

Any doubt that this is the intention of the backers of this approach was removed back in March, when the Senate was considering new Iran sanctions. Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Bob Casey (D-PA) offered their own “no containment” language to the sanctions bill and the Senate moved to quickly to accept it.

However, amending a bill once it is already on the Senate floor requires unanimous consent and one, and only one, senator objected. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that he would oppose the containment clause unless a provision was added specifying that “nothing in the Act shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force against Iran…”

That did it.

Neither the Democratic or Republican leadership would accept that (knowing that AIPAC wouldn’t) and Paul’s objection killed the bill, for the time being. In other words, the purpose of “no containment” language is precisely to make war virtually automatic. Because Paul’s provision would thwart that goal, it was unacceptable.

So now it’s the House’s turn.

On the substance, the “no containment” idea is absurd and reckless.

Imagine if President Kennedy had been told by the Congress back in 1962 that if the Soviet Union placed missiles in Cuba, he would have no choice but to attack Cuba or the USSR. If it had, it is likely none of us would be around today.

Presidents need latitude to make decisions affecting matters of national security and, until now, all presidents have been afforded it, as provided for in the United States Constitution. But, in the case of Iran, the cheerleaders for war are trying to change the rules. They are doing that because they understand that after almost a decade of war, the last thing Americans want is another one.

No president is going to ask Congress to declare war, or even to authorize it. Making war against Iran automatic would eliminate that problem. (That is precisely Sen. Paul’s objection; he believes that backing into war is unconstitutional. He recalls the Gulf of Tonkin resolution of 1964 which led to ten years of war in Vietnam and 50,000 American dead without a declaration of war or even a specific authorization for war).

So why would the House vote for a resolution like this? The main reason is AIPAC. It may be the only lobby pushing for war with Iran but it also, by far, the most powerful foreign policy lobby and also the one that sees to it that those who play ball with it are rewarded and those who don’t are punished. AIPAC has been pushing war with Iran for a decade; it won’t stop until the missiles fly. 

The other reason is that the resolution is non-binding. Voting for it is good politics but does not affect policy.

Believing that is a mistake. An overwhelming vote for “no containment” may not tie the president’s hands legally, but it does go a long way to tying his hands politically. After all, Congress will be expressing its clear (bipartisan) intent. A president cannot easily ignore that.

Moreover, the lobby is unlikely to stop with a non-binding resolution. Once the House and Senate have passed that, the lobby will look for an opportunity to make it binding. The goal is to take the president’s discretion away from him because this president is unlikely to choose war when there are other options available.

It is those options that the lobby is determined to block. It remains hell-bent for war.

POSTSCRIPT: It can’t hurt to call your House member at 202 225 3131 to tell him that you know about the vote on the AIPAC resolution and will be watching.

May 14, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 4 Comments