Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), and Reps Ilhan Omar (D-Min), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), Ayanna Pressley (D- Mass.), and half a dozen more members of Congress, on Tuesday sent secretary of state mike Pompeo a letter threatening to condition the $3.8 billion annual US military aid to Israel on whether or not it annexes a portion of Judea and Samaria, Politico reported.
“Should the Israeli government continue down this path, we will work to ensure non-recognition of annexed territories as well as pursue legislation that conditions the $3.8 billion in U.S. military funding to Israel to ensure that U.S. taxpayers are not supporting annexation in any way. We will include human rights conditions and the withholding of funds for the offshore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the policies and practices that sustain and enable them,” Ocasio-Cortez’s letter reads.
As we mention whenever someone on the crazy left or the crazy right comes up with the notion of leveraging US aid to force Israel to kneel down and do what it’s told, here’s the reality of the thing: in 2016, the Obama administration and Israel signed a defense aid agreement that promised Israel $38 billion over 10 years, from 2019 through 2028. Two years later, Congress passed the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018. It determines that the $38 billion in military aid over 10 years spelled out under the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding would be funded through a special mechanism that would be kept separate from the annual budget.
The law ensured that US aid would not be cut once the aid memorandum comes into effect starting in 2019, ensuring that the funds would not be influenced by the budget negotiations between Congress and the President. It also means that presidents would not be able to suspend US aid as a means of pressuring Israel.
So, whatever AOC and her band of merry anti-Semites are saying, before they can attach conditions to the aid to Israel, they would have to overturn the lovely USIAAA of 2018, and good luck with that…
AIPAC issued a statement saying Ocasio-Cortez’s letter “rejects President Obama’s security assistance commitment to Israel” and that “Congress must continue to fully implement the Obama-Joe Biden” pledge.
One sour note: the AOC letter was also signed by Rep Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) who represents the Lower East Side of NY. Velázquez’s district is made up of Hispanics, Chinese, African Americans and Jews, and the Congresswoman used to be very good at providing good representation to all of them. The fact that she is risking her Jewish support could only mean bad things: either she feels she must collaborate with AOC or risk attacks against her from her Hispanic base; or even worse: as the Jewish constituency is dwindling on the Lower East Side, they just don’t count any longer.
We heartily recommend they pack up and come home, where they could possibly benefit from that US military aid.
Incidentally – as we also mention whenever the leverage-the-aid silly stuff comes up – the Obama aid package stipulates that as the deal matures, more and more of the money stay in the US, paying for contracts with American manufacturers, until by the aid package’s sunset, all of it stays in America.
Which means that should Congress take away the aid from Israel, this would result in an annual loss of $3.8 billion worth of American jobs – many of them in AOC’s home state of NY.
Ah, facts are such a refreshing thing…