A relationship beyond Obama and Netanyahu

March 2, 2015

It is safe to say that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrival in the U.S. has met with a mixed reaction.

In the country at House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation, Netanyahu is scheduled to give a speech to Congress on Tuesday addressing his concerns about the nuclear threat that Iran poses to the world in general, and to Israel in particular. Since Netanyahu and Boehner neglected to ask—or even inform—the White House of the speech, the administration and a number of Congressional Democrats are less than thrilled with the visit. Obama objects on policy and tactical grounds as well as those of protocol. Netanyahu is expected to use his speech to urge Congress to approve new sanctions against Iran despite Obama’s pledge to veto such legislation because it would jeopardize nuclear talks.

In a piece in The Atlantic titled “A Partial Accounting of the Damage Netanyahu Is Doing to Israel,” Jeffrey Goldberg writes, “Make no mistake: Netanyahu sees Obama as an actual adversary.” A Google search for “Netanyahu Obama hate each other” yields 2,860,000 results, including a number that refer to an October article from The Atlantic’s Goldberg in which he quotes an senior administration official as calling Netanyahu “chicken***t.”

Where does that leave the economic ties between the two allies? As this Reuters graphic shows, data compiled by the Congressional Research Service  Israel remains the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. In addition to receiving U.S. State Department-administered foreign assistance, notes the Congressional Research Service, Israel also receives funds from annual defense appropriations bills for rocket and missile defense programs. Israel pursues some of those programs jointly with the United States.

In 2007, the Bush administration and the Israeli government agreed to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package for the period from FY2009 to FY2018. During his March 2013 visit to Israel, President Obama pledged that the United States would continue to provide Israel with multi-year commitments of military aid subject to the approval of Congress. That means that economic and military aid has grown under President Obama, with a 2014 estimated package and a 2015 requested package each seeking better than $3.1 billion. For all of the personal rancor, it’s still business as usual.



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Add in the aid to Egypt and other Arab states, then you have the true cost of this folly.

Posted by aeci | Report as abusive