Stop All Military Aid

Israel is now dictating conditions to the United States and upbraiding President Obama for having the nerve to suggest finally following UN Resolution 242, which has long called for a return to the 1967 borders of Israel. Obama says the border from that era should now be the border between Israel and Palestine. It is long past time to end all military aid to Israel.

When I was growing up in the 1950s, Israel was seen in my Minnesota community as a brave outpost of kibbutzim egalitarianism amidst a harsh Arab environment of hatred and bloodlust. Jews had traded European persecution for Arab persecution. The cold war exacerbated this situation, as the hatred for Jews in Russia and throughout the Soviet Union in general led to USSR sponsorship of Arab arms pointed at the head and body of the tiny Jewish state. It was the right thing to do, to support Israel.

It was not until many years later that the story of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians came to light in much of the United States. The assumption had been – and this was buttressed by the ongoing image of Israel as a social experiment in justice and equality – that Israel was founded upon the most modern principles that were meant to produce justice for all. Even Nazis who went on trial there for slaughtering countless innocent Jews in Europe were let free if the cases did not meet good judicial standards of evidentiary robustness.

The late 1960s produced big cracks in that image, as the antiwar movement in the United States generally aligned itself with Palestinian aspirations, but the development of the peace wing of the antiwar movement questioned the left/right acceptance of violence and the cold war frame around the struggle. This ambivalence continued until the fall of the Soviet empire in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The violence of the left and the violence of the right were alienating to peace people. Most of us put our energies into disarmament and into struggles in which one side could be identified as a nonviolent party. Asymmetry of violence is still violence.

Certainly it has been the general position of the peace movement to cut off military aid to everyone, including Israel. That is still the case. But the talking points in favor are now stronger and have more political cache. It is time to press the point, to stop the horrific enabling of apartheid in Israel and the subjugation and occupation of Palestine. It is long past time to let Israel survive with some humility, to take its place as a nation-state that was founded on someone else's land during a period of extreme duress. The sight of an arrogant Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu proclaiming derisively that Obama is out of touch with reality and marching into the Oval Office to dictate to the United States should help Americans realize it's time to pull the military plug on Israel.

From Pakistan to Israel, and moving around the world from there, the US taxpayer continues to hemorrhage vast amounts of money on governments that despise us. This practice alienates people from us and impoverishes the US taxpayer even as it erodes the US infrastructure. The only ones who gain in the United States are the war profiteers.

End this now. As the Republicans are so fond of saying whenever a social safety net is discussed, “No. We're broke.” The reason we are broke is the war system, and we should begin our conversion now. Save many billions of dollars right away by ceasing all military aid to Israel and all our other clients.