Friday, April 16, 2021

  • Friday, April 16, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

JTA reports:
 Two liberal pro-Israel US groups, J Street and Americans for Peace Now, are backing a House bill to be presented this week that would list actions Israel may not fund with US money.

The measure, which will be introduced by Democratic Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota and was first reported by The Intercept, would restrict Israel from using US funds to detain Palestinian minors, appropriate or destroy Palestinian property or forcibly move Palestinians, or annex Palestinian areas.

The endorsement by two groups that describe themselves as pro-Israel and McCollum’s new seniority as the chairwoman of the defense subcommittee of the powerful Appropriations Committee suggest that the bill could attract broader Democratic support than previous attempts to restrict how Israel spends US assistance. Americans for Peace Now is a member of the umbrella Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Aid from the US already has strings attached - and it explicitly bars using the aid for anything but defensive purposes.

From the current Congressional Research Service report on Foreign Aid to Israel:

The 1952 Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement and subsequent arms agreements between Israel and the United States limit Israel’s use of U.S. military equipment to defensive purposes. The Arms Export Control Act (AECA, 22 U.S.C. §2754) authorizes the sale of U.S. defense articles and services for specific purposes, including “legitimate self-defense.”  The AECA (22 U.S.C. §2753) states that recipients may not use such articles “for purposes other than those for which [they have been] furnished” without prior presidential consent. The Act stipulates that sale agreements entered into after November 29, 1999, must grant the U.S. government the right to verify “credible reports” that articles have been used for unauthorized purposes. The Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961, as amended, also contains general provisions on the use of U.S.- supplied military equipment.

 It is the statutory responsibility of the Departments of State and Defense, pursuant to the AECA, to conduct end-use monitoring (EUM) to ensure that recipients of U.S. defense articles use such items solely for their intended purposes. The AECA also provides authority to the President (through a presidential determination) and Congress (joint resolution) to prohibit the sale or delivery of U.S.-origin defense articles to a recipient country if it has used such articles “for a purpose not authorized” by the AECA or the FAA.

And there is more:

Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), as amended, prohibits the furnishing of assistance authorized by the FAA and the AECA to any foreign security force unit where there is credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. The State Department and U.S. embassies overseas implement Leahy vetting to determine which foreign security individuals and units are eligible to receive U.S. assistance or training.

There are already multiple mechanisms in place to do exactly what the critics of Israel are insisting on. In fact, some of the same people sponsoring this bill wrote a letter to previous Secretary of State Pompeo asking him to look into this very issue. It is unclear if he ever answered,  but in 2016 Israel critics in Congress demanded answers from a State Department that was decidedly more hostile to Israel about how the US aid was being used, the answer was that Israel was doing nothing wrong. 

If there are already rules in place prohibiting Israel from misusing American funds, and there are already audit mechanisms, as well as a methodology to formally request audits on specific issues, then what does a new Congressional bill accomplish?

The bill is meant to do only one thing: to demonize Israel.

The bill will never pass just as previous versions didn't. It is a PR move to get headlines in newspapers that indicate that Israel is an untrustworthy partner, that it is an enemy and not an ally.  The very existence of the bill is meant to create a slander amongst Americans that Israel is scheming to steal US tax dollars, that Israelis are taking money from poor Americans, and that they are lying to the US government. It sure isn't doing anything to either save Americans money nor to save Palestinian lives. 

The rationale behind the bill is not too different from what Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said recently: "The Jews in [pre-war Europe] took over the economy and politics and exploited the resources of these peoples for their own benefit." That's what McCollum is saying Israeli Jews are doing to Americans.

That is why this bill is antisemitic. 

The antisemitism doesn't even end there.  McCollum told The Intercept, “I don’t want $1 of U.S. aid to Israel paying for the military detention and abuse of Palestinian children.” But her earlier bill H.R. 2407 demanded that the US give $19 million annually to NGOs that supposedly protect Palestinian children. 

Which NGOs? McCollum has been working closely with Defense for Children International - Palestine, which is linked to the PFLP terror group. She took text from lying DCI-P reports in drafting her anti-Israel bills - reports that included 17 year old members of terror groups as innocent child victims of Israeli aggression.

So while she self-righteously says she doesn't want $1 of US aid to go towards hurting Palestinian children, she demands $19 million of US aid to go to a group whose members have been  leaders in the PFLP which is responsible for the murder of Israeli children - including Rina Shnerb.

This is cynical. It is outrageous. It is motivated purely by hate for the Jewish state. Yet it is being supported by self-declared "liberal Zionists."

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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