From Evan Johnson
Libertarians have long criticized not just aid to Israel, but any type of intervention into the political policies of all nations, believing that 1, It is not in our national interest; 2, it invites consequences never envisioned; and 3, there are better ways of creating friendly relationships with the world’s nations.
The complications of intervention were of concern to early political thinkers who formed this country. In his first inaugural address,Thomas Jefferson set out to define what he thought were the essential principles of government. The words most often quoted from the list are, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.” Our alliance with Israel is a perfect example of the kind of entanglement Jefferson warned against.
What does a policy of non-intervention do for us and can it be justified morally? Far from abandoning our friends, trade, commerce and friendship, are powerful forces of good will. Direct financial aid to other nations, rarely goes where it is most needed, often buying arms or lining the pockets of the country’s rulers. But honest and fair practices of commerce and trade devoid of import taxes, price supports or blockades create an even playing field in which pure trade – value for value – a fair exchange of goods and services, enrich all parties concerned. We should be open to trade with, and be free to visit all countries including Cuba and all other “axis of evil” countries. One of the worst aspects of the Israeli conflict in Gaza is the forced closure of Gaza’s borders which stops any chance for trade with the rest of the world – a requirement for any new or established country for stability and growth.
In his January 7th post, Watching the torching of Gaza, Jim Houle properly asked if the majority of Americans feel we have an obligation to support Israel in their battles with Hamas, or, in parallel, Hezbullah. A good question indeed. One might also ask if Americans knowingly support the “entanglement” of our military presence in 135 countries, or 70% of the worlds countries, not counting territories. How can this huge military presence in the rest of the world be tolerated by the American public?
Disengaging from the quagmire of political alliances, by ending all financial and military aid to Israel and others would create real change in U.S. policy for the better. Tourism, trade, and commerce, with bias to none, supports Jefferson view of “honest friendship,” and removes the threat to all. By doing this, we do not turn our back on the rest of the world, but instead, encourage prosperity and stability. This change would serve us in the long run and help bring back the respect we once deserved.
As I watch the Israeli onslaught in Gaza, I must ask who really controls American Middle East policy. Our strategic interests in the region are clear:
1st: We have much to gain through peaceful relations with the oil producing nations of the Middle East. Israel produces no oil or gas.
2nd : The major petroleum producers in the Arab nations buy our shaky treasury bills and keep much of their cash in our bank vaults. Israel by contrast receives $3 billion per year in economic aid to keep their economy afloat and another $3 billion to keep their military machine well oiled.
3th : We supply the F-16 jets, the anti personnel mines, and the missile systems Israel employs to keep their neighbors at bay.
4th : Without America’s weapons and money, Israel would have had to come to a lasting peace with its neighbors after the 1967 War, in accord with UN Resolutions.
So, do the majority of Americans feel we have some sort of obligation to support Israel in their battles with the Hamas, their continual suppression of the Palestinians in the West Bank, and with the Hezbullah in Lebanon? Is there any logic in our encouraging Israel to operating outside of the Nuclear Proliferation Agreement?
The answer is no: The American Jewish Lobby, representing no more than 2.2% of Americans, has managed to take control over what we can read in the press, what we can hear on our main stream broadcast media, and what our elected politicians in Washington can safely say on the subject of Israel. No politician, no television news show host, and no newspaper editorialist will dare to question the pro-Israel position. The power of the American Jewish lobby, working through the American-Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) and similar groups, has effectively stifled all dissent.
You will find far more dissent with Israeli policies in the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz than ever makes its way into print in the U.S.