Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) on Monday told J Street’s national conference that the Biden administration must curtail US military aid to Israel, conditioning it on Israeli policies in Judea and Samaria, particularly in light of the damage these policies do to the two-state solution.
“We should talk about the elephant in the room—America’s military assistance to Israel,” Warren said, although when it comes to J Street, this is not an elephant, it’s a three-ring circus packed with Pachydermata.
The fact is that the left-wing of the Democratic party is using this two-part mantra of cut aid/2-state as a means of gaining influence over the White House. They can’t push Biden on the infrastructure, financial aid, or the vaccines – he has outpaced them to the tune of trillions of dollars. The cause of defunding the police has turned out to be scaring away suburban voters. Iran? Joe is so gung-ho on renewing the nuclear deal, he’s practically floating on a Persian rug. What’s left? Cut aid/2-state.
Over at the House, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn) has taken over the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Defense, with the endorsement of a friend of Israel, Appropriations chairman Henry Waxman (D-Ca). In her new, powerful role, McCollum has created the “Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act,” which “prohibits Israel from using US taxpayer dollars in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem for the military detention, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention; to support the seizure and destruction of Palestinian property and homes in violation of international humanitarian law; or, to extend any assistance or support for Israel’s unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory in violation of international humanitarian law.”
Now the progressives in the Senate, Warren and Sanders, are pushing for some power over Biden with their own cut aid/2-state. It’s almost a risk-free move that galvanizes the left behind a “good” cause, and positions these two Senators as brave peace warriors (the other day I sprayed my coffee, hearing Bill Maher saying how glad he was that Biden has re-hired John Kerry because the administration needs “smart people.” He really said that).
Warren told J Street that “if we’re serious about arresting settlement expansion and helping move the parties toward a two-state solution, then it would be irresponsible not to consider all of the tools we have at our disposal.”
The scary thing is that Warren is so detached from facts on the ground, she simply doesn’t know that the only expansion in Area C of Judea and Samaria, under full Israeli control, is the massive Arab encroachment with lavish funding from the EU and other European entities. The settlements are not expanding, we wish they were, but they aren’t.
“One of those is restricting military aid from being used in the occupied territories,” Warren stated. “By continuing to provide military aid without restriction, we provide no incentive for Israel to adjust course.”
At which point I always provide some crucial information regarding a US law called 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 between the Obama administration and Israel would be funded through a special mechanism that’s separate from the annual budget.
The law ensures that US aid would not be cut once the aid memorandum comes into effect starting in 2019, guaranteeing 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.
As then-House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) put it at the time: “With this measure, we are codifying the assistance levels in the latest 10-year US-Israel memorandum of understanding, which aims to strengthen our already robust relationship, especially on defense matters. This bill also works to build on the United States and Israel’s successful history of cooperation on technology development.”
So, you can’t cut aid to Israel until 2029. But there’s still the other half of the progressive mantra. “I believe in the worth and value of every human being—and that means every Israeli and every Palestinian,” Warren said. And I believe that a two-state solution is the path to respect for every human being.”
Can’t argue with belief. Never mind that the two-state solution has been rejected by the Arabs on many different occasions, starting in 1936 and that every single time it appeared as if the 2-state solution was going to be applied, throngs of Arab murderers went about spilling Jewish blood. Check it out, it’s in the history books, it’s not a matter of “faith.” Don’t democrats worship science?
Senator Sanders told J Street: “In terms of aid to Israel, the American people don’t want to see that money being used to support policies that violate human rights & treat the Palestinian people as 2nd class human beings… American aid should work to advance American values, not undermine them.”
I’m not saying this progressive cabal against Israeli interests is not worrisome, but there’s a reason the story is being pushed mostly by Jewish newspapers: it’s not serious. If you want to get a grip on the reality of things, go into the NY Times website and plug in their search function the names Warren, Sanders, and J Street. You’ll get crickets. Because the marginal leftist Democrats pushing to cut US aid to Israel is not a story. Go home, eat something healthy, read a book – there’s nothing here to see.