US Aid to Israel, Feeding the Cuckoo

Since Sept. 11, Americans have thought of themselves as the target of terrorists, emanating mainly from the Middle East. It may thus surprise them to learn that their own actions are in large part responsible for their problems and resentment in the Middle East. In particular, we argue that the massive aid flows and armaments transfers to Israel are largely responsible for the problems between Israelis and Palestinians today. The repercussions of this conflict reverberate everywhere in the region to the great detriment of the rights of the people in the area, but remarkably, also to the detriment of the US’s long-term interests.

Americans by nature tend to look closely at their government’s expenditures, to trim the fat wherever they can find it–welfare, social security, health care, education 85 all except when it comes to Israel. A valuable exercise for any American would be to examine the huge handouts given to Israel, which may reveal shocking facts and motivate them to a take closer look at what is done in their name. Here is a quick overview of US aid flows to Israel.

There are open and upfront economic and military handouts, and the table below lists the official numbers. Economists say that in the presence of inflation, a dollar yesterday is worth more than a dollar today, and an adjustment must be made to obtain meaningful comparable figures over time. It is highly desirable to express the aid flows in constant 2001 dollars, so that these figures mean something to us today. Inexplicably, this simple and standard transformation is never done pertaining aid flows to Israel–an omission that understates the aid flows. Now, adjusting the data and expressing it in 2001 constant dollars shows that the visible aid flows to Israel were $35.7bn over the past decade, and $143bn since 1967 [note 1]–the date after which US aid to Israel really took off. The latter stands in stark contrast with the unadjusted $83bn US aid since 1967 that is usually quoted. US aid to Israel: 1992 — 2001, and expressed in constant 2001 USD

USD Billion =




Total BN


Total BN USD


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PAUL de ROOIJ is a writer living in London. He can be reached at proox@hotmail.com (NB: all emails with attachments will be automatically deleted.)

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