Mar 31, 2010

We don't need the US money

Commentators and journalists in the US media regularly comment on how the US has a right to tell Israel what to do, considering how much financial aid the US gives to Israel. Basically, they say, if Israel doesn't want the US to tell them what to do, they should stop taking out money.

Avi Trengo, in a piece published in Ynet, has written a response to Thomas Friedman saying just that.

In a recent interview, Friedman accused Israel of misusing American money precisely when the US needs it more than ever to boost US employment. Many foreign journalists believe that the Jewish People exists here only because of America’s money. When they are told that the Israeli economy’s scope is hundreds of billions of dollars a year and that US aid constitutes a miniscule portion of it, they refuse to believe it.

Of the $3 billion handed over by the US annually, only $690 million are transferred to Israel in practice. The rest – 75% of the aid – remains in the US and constitutes an indirect government subsidy to US arms manufacturers – Boeing, Lockheed, McDonnell Douglas etc. – thereby enhancing US employment.

Israel’s acquisitions in the US are far greater than the American grant. Just recently we read about a $1.8 billion acquisition of Hercules aircraft from Lockheed. Does Friedman think there are no other global cargo plane manufacturers? Moreover, as result of the US grant, Israel has given up on the development of weapons that would compete with America’s military-industrial complex. In addition, Israeli developments were integrated by American manufacturers, thus saving the lives of US troops on the battlefield.

Friedman must also be aware of the tens of thousands of Israeli engineers – the finest scientists, educated through investment of billions – who brought their know-how to Silicon Valley. This constitutes a huge contribution to the US economy. A CEO of a Silicon Valley company who admitted that he seeks Israeli employees told me there is no better background than Israeli education and chutzpah, coupled with a few years in the IDF, in order to produce “Yankee ingenuity.”
Read the full article...

1 comment:

  1. "75% of the aid – remains in the US and constitutes an indirect government subsidy to US arms manufacturers"-
    That's astonishing. I didn't know that, and I'm sure that most Americans don't know that either. There is no doubt that the United States benefits from its relationship with Israel every bit as much as Israel does, and it's very frustrating that this point is not made clear to the American public in the media.


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