Pages:8 (2543 words)
Document Type:Policy Proposal
Introduction: the Policy Problem under Consideration
When it comes to foreign policy, there are many different issues in foreign policy that the government needs to address—from tensions regarding missile treaties with Russia to wars in the Middle East to money given to the state of Israel, which has been recognized by the United Nations as a violator of human rights for its treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and on the West Bank (Human Rights Watch, 2018). Of these, America’s special relationship with Israel is perhaps the most unsettling. Israel receives more than $3 billion in foreign aid from the U.S. every year, which is one-fifth of the entire foreign aid budget of the U.S., and the U.S. is further committed to giving $38 billion in military financial aid over the next several years (Sharp, 2018). Essentially, the U.S. is helping to fund a human rights violator by continuing to give billions of dollars every year to an apartheid state in the Middle East. A policy change is clearly needed on this issue if America is going to be able to have any moral high ground to condemn other dictators of states where it claims human rights abuses are conducted—like in Syria. If the U.S. is going to condemn human rights violations in one state it should condemn them in all—not look the other way because of a “special relationship” that exists.
The special relationship that exists between the U.S. and Israel has been well documented in the past (Mearsheimer & Walt, 2007). The AIPAC lobby has been identified by Rep. Ilhan Omar as playing a part in corrupting the democratic principles and government of the U.S. by using money and campaign funds to essentially “buy” politicians to vote in favor of legislation that benefits Israel. Omar was censored by her colleagues and peers for making this argument, which shows the extent to which one is not permitted to criticize Israel in the U.S. In some U.S. states, it is even illegal to protest Israel’s actions by boycotting the state while holding a public job. This shows how beholden to a foreign state that engages in human rights violations the U.S. actually has become.
To change the current policy towards issue, a new policy should be established, one that is based on the idea of ending all foreign aid to Israel. This would be a sign that the special relationship between Israel and the U.S. is no longer fundamentally tenable, considering the human rights violations of the former and the intention of the latter to condemn human rights violators, as it has done in Syria and other states. Ending all foreign aid to Israel would also be a good first step in cleaning out the American political spectrum; a second step would be to oblige AIPAC to register as a foreign lobby in order to increase transparency for the lobby, so that it has to show how it actually spends its money.
Underlying Intentions of the Policy
The underlying aim of the policy change is to address the elephant in the room that is America’s special relationship with Israel. The social justice aspect of this policy change is evident in the fact that the United Nations has condemned Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, its blockades, its attacks (the use of white phosphorous on children and the firing of guns on unarmed Palestinians), its bulldozing of Palestinian homes on the West Bank, and the erection of Israel settlements on land that does not legally belong to the state of Israel. By ending foreign aid to Israel, the U.S. would be siding with the UN against these and other human rights violations committed by Israel in the recent past against Palestine.
By continuing to fund Israel’s military expansion, the U.S. is siding with Israel and essentially supporting an apartheid state that engages in ethnic cleansing. It is saying to the world that it will only condemn human rights violators who do not routinely “buy off” its senators and representatives. This message should be stopped because it is opposed to any and all sense of social justice. For the U.S. to be taken seriously on the world stage, it is time to stand up to the state of Israel and condemn it for its treatment of Palestine—and that starts with stopping all foreign aid to the state.
The Suggested Policy Change
The suggested policy change is to end all foreign aid to Israel. The goal is to use that money to protect, support and assist the victims of human rights violations. Instead of that money going to Israel, it should either be used to aid Palestinians or used domestically to support America’s own infrastructure. Currently, the breakdown in spending on Israel looks like this:
· $3.1 billion in Foreign Military Financing, of which $815.3 million is for offshore procurement;
· $705.8 million for joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense projects, including $92 million for Iron Dome, $221.5 million for David's Sling, $310 million for Arrow 3, and $82.3 million for Arrow 2;
· $47.5 million for the U.S.-Israeli anti-tunnel cooperation program;
· $7.5 million in Migration and Refugee Assistance;
· $4 million for the establishment of a U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in energy and water technologies;
· $2 million for the Israel-U.S. Binational Research & Development Foundation (BIRD) Energy program;
· and The reauthorization of War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I) program through fiscal year 2019 (Sharp, 2018).
The policy change would end all of this financial assistance and restore the moral high ground of America with respect to at least this portion of its foreign policy.
Discussion of the Rationale Supporting This Change
As Johnson (2011) notes, there is a need for more peacekeepers in the world. The U.S. is the nation that is in the best position to lead the world in peacekeeping missions. To keep and maintain the peace, however, the U.S. must stop funding states that perpetuate war. The Israel-Palestine conflict has been going on since Israel was founded in 1948. The U.S. has throughout that time always supported Israel. Because Israel can count on America’s support, it continues to abuse the rights of Palestinians. Peace is needed in the Middle East, but it will not come so long as the U.S. continues to fund the state of Israel in its quest to destroy Palestine. Hooks (1999) points out that ethnicity is the spice of life, and that when ethnicity is not respected among all peoples, it creates devastating cultural effects that undermine the humanity of all people. The ethnicity of the Palestinians is not being respected and it should be.
As Verhaeghe (2014) states, “neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us,” because “our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens” (p. 1). The taxpayers of the U.S. are already stretched so thin, as the cost of living rises—health care costs going up, education costs going up, housing costs going up, and so on. To see their tax money going to support an apartheid state that is ethnically cleansing the region is demoralizing to say the least. That money should be used to help people, not hurt them. Ethnicity is indeed the spice of life, and that spice is being thrown out by the collusion between the U.S. and Israel.…
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Hooks, B. (1999). Black looks: Race and representation. South End Press.
Human Rights Watch. (2018). Israel and Palestine. Retrieved from https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/israel/palestine
Johnson, S. A. (2011). Women, Shared Leadership, and Policy: The Mano River Women's Peace Network Case Study. Journal of Pan African Studies, 4(8).
Mearsheimer, J. J., & Walt, S. M. (2007). The Israel lobby and US foreign policy. Macmillan.
Richards, R. (2010). Everyday creativity. The Cambridge handbook of creativity, 189-215.
Sharp, J. (2018). U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel. Retrieved from https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf
Verhaeghe, P. (2014). Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us. The Guardian. Annotated Bibliography
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