Senate committee approves AIPAC bill to give Israel $38 billion over 10 years, with additional perks

Senate committee approves AIPAC bill to give Israel $38 billion over 10 years, with additional perks

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen speaking at AIPAC panel March 3, 2018. (Video here) Ros-Lehtinen introduced the aid bill.

A bipartisan majority of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the legislation, allowing it to proceed to the full Senate floor. The bill also authorized the president to establish a US-Israeli counter-drone program, expand collaboration on the peaceful exploration of space, extended loan guarantees to Israel, etc. Rand Paul called for phasing out aid to Israel.

BY MICHAEL WILNER, Jerusalem Post

A Senate panel approved a bill on Tuesday endorsing a decade-long aid package to Israel brokered by the Obama administration.

The US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018 [text here] authorizes a memorandum of understanding negotiated in 2016 between the two governments which will provide Israel with $38 billion in military aid between 2019 and 2028.

A bipartisan majority of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the legislation, allowing it to proceed to the full Senate floor. The bill also authorized the president to establish a US-Israeli counter-drone program, expand collaboration on the peaceful exploration of space, and produce an assessment on Israel’s precision-guided defense needs with respect to threats from Hamas in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.  [It also extended loan guarantees to Israel.]

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which pioneered the legislation, applauded its progress in a statement.
The bill “ensures that Israel has the means to defend itself, by itself, against growing and emerging threats – including Iran’s presence close to Israel’s northern border,” AIPAC said. “This bipartisan legislation authorizes agreed-upon increases in Israel’s security assistance and encourages expanding weapons stockpiles.”

The Israel advocacy group also pointedly celebrated the committee’s rejection of an amendment, proposed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, which called for phasing out aid to the Jewish state.


More info:

The House bill has 273 co-sponsors. 

The sponsor of the bill is  Rep. Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL-27].

An AIPAC press release stated: “AIPAC appreciates the leadership of Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) along with the authors of the bill, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE). In May, the House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a version of this measure, H.R. 5141. AIPAC urges the full Senate and House to act on these important measures.”

The membership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is here.  It is not yet known how the individuals voted. This item will be updated when that information is available.

Detailed information on aid to Israel is here.

Assange: Forget Russia,The Real Threat to America comes from Israel and the Israel Lobby

From his refuge in the Ecuador Embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed a press conference of his supporters in Berlin on Tuesday, amid speculation that he planned to reveal potentially threats to America.

But early into his speech, Assange said that while more revelations were to come, he would not be making any major announcements, asserting that there would be no point in dropping making such revelations at a time when most Americans would be sleeping.

“Russian actions on its own doorstep in Eastern Europe do not in fact threaten the United States or any actual vital interest. Nor does Moscow threaten the U.S. through its intervention on behalf of the Syrian government in the Middle East. That Russia is described incessantly as a threat in those areas is largely a contrivance arranged by the media, the Democratic and Republican National Committees and by the White House. Candidate Donald Trump appeared to recognize that fact before he began listening to Michael Flynn, who has a rather different view. Hopefully the old Trump will prevail,there is, however, another country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby that oddly is not subject to the accountability afforded by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 even though it manifestly works on behalf of a foreign government. That country is, of course, Israel” Said Assange.

The assessment of Israel and what damage it does regarding what most Americans would regard as genuine national interests is most definitely not reported, revealing once again that what is not written is every bit as important as what is. I would note how what has recently happened right in front of us relating to Israel is apparently not considered fit to print and will never appear on any disapproving editorial page. Just this week the Senate unanimously passed an Anti-Semitism Awareness bill and also by a 99 to zero vote renewed and strengthened sanctions against Iran, which could wreck the one year old anti-nuclear weapon proliferation agreement with that country.

The Anti-Semitism bill makes Jews and Jewish interests a legally protected class, immune from any criticism. “Free speech” means in practice that you can burn an American flag, sell pornography, attack Christianity in the vilest terms or castigate the government in Washington all you want but criticizing Israel is off limits if you want to avoid falling into the clutches of the legal system. The Act is a major step forward in effectively making any expressed opposition to Israeli actions a hate crime.
And it is similar to punitive legislation that has been enacted in twenty-two states as well as in Canada. It is strongly supported by the Israel Lobby, which quite likely drafted it, and is seeking to use legal challenges to delegitimize and eliminate any opposition to the policies of the state of Israel.

As the Act is clearly intended to restrict First Amendment rights if they are perceived as impacting on broadly defined Jewish sensitivities, it should be opposed on that basis alone, but it is very popular in Congress, which is de facto owned by the Israel Lobby. That the legislation is not being condemned or even discussed in the generally liberal media tells you everything you need to know about the amazing power of one particular unelected and unaccountable lobby in the U.S.


Whose Wars?

Whose Wars?

“A perfectly executed strike,” President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday, April 14, 2018, in the aftermath of his second decision in two years to fire missiles against Syria. “Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”

The US has surrendered its sovereignty to a tiny client state, and now our foreign policy is not even remotely connected to actual U.S. interests. This refleects Jewish power in the US and powerful Israel-centric lobbies and media outlets. Israel is not just getting the US to do its bidding in Syria, but also using Syria as a stepping stone to Iran itself. Whatever is best for Israel.

by Philip Giraldi, The Unz Report

In March 2003, Pat Buchanan wrote a groundbreaking article entitled “Whose War?” in opposition to the Bush Administration fueled growing hysteria over Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction which was producing demands for an armed intervention to disarm him. Buchanan rightly identified a number of prominent Jewish officials and journalists closely tied to the Israel Lobby as the principal driving force behind the rush to go to war.

Buchanan is still a powerful voice arguing against the war fever in its 2018 manifestation, which is all too similar to the hysteria prevailing in 2003. But if he were writing his article today, even though those demanding war are pretty much the same people with the same names including Podhoretz, Krauthammer, Kristol, Kagan, Brooks and Boot, he would have to broaden his purview to ask “Whose Wars?” as it is no longer a simple case of going after one third-world autocrat and overthrowing him, we are now instead being urged to attack Syria, Iran and even nuclear superpower Russia due to Moscow’s support of Damascus and its friendship with Tehran.

Lest there be any confusion, the same country keeps surfacing as a central player in the lead-up to America’s regime-change wars, which now have included an illegal attack on Syria, the second such intervention in the past year. That nation is Israel.

Israel’s fingerprints are all over American interventionism, reflecting Jewish power in the United States and the presence of a plethora of well-funded Israel-centric lobbies, think tanks and media outlets. Just last week, the only persistent voice in the mainstream media who, prior to Trump’s cruise missile attack, asked why on earth the United States should be contemplating a major power confrontation that could end life on this planet as we know it over Syria, where Washington has no vital interests, was Tucker Carlson of Fox News. His memorable monologue blasting the “talk show generals” who have “no idea of what is really happening” skewered the pretexts for war being bandied about in spite of the lack of any actual threat directed against the United States or a vital national interest is a model for what the Fourth Estate should be doing but isn’t. Carlson later followed up with an interview of Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi. He asked what might be an American national interest that would mandate military involvement in Syria. Wicker hardly hesitated before responding, “If you care about Israel, you have to be interested in what’s going on in Syria.”

Israel indeed. And Israel is not at all shy about what it wants to happen, namely a war in Syria targeting both Damascus and Tehran, leading to a much bigger war with the Iranians. Fought by Uncle Sam, to be sure, as Jewish lives are far too precious to waste.

Tel Aviv has long been feeding the propaganda line relating to why war with Syria and Iran are desirable. Gilad Erdan, who is Netanyahu’s deputy in Likud and serves as Public Security Minister, addressed the latest alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma, saying “The shocking attack shows the incredible international hypocrisy of the international community focusing on Israel confronting the terrorist organization Hamas that is sending civilians to our [border] fence, when dozens are being killed in Syria every day. It shows the need for strengthening the presence of Americans and other international forces, because without them the genocide we are seeing will only intensify.”

Construction Minister Yoav Galant, a former IDF major-general and a security figure close to Netanyahu, also called for military action against the Syrian leader. “Assad is the angel of death, and the world would be better without him.”

The compassion for Syrian civilians, being expressed both in Washington and in Tel Aviv, is, of course, a joke. Donald Trump and John Bolton couldn’t care less about Syrian babies and if Trump were genuinely concerned about civilian deaths due to war crimes by governments the first country he would attack would be Israel. Erdan and Galant, meanwhile, serve in a government that has recently shot and killed or injured 2,000 unarmed demonstrators in Gaza, in some cases involving snipers having fun by shooting boys running away and cheering when they were successful, so their hypocrisy is evident.

Eye on Iran

Israel has also been busy at creating a pretext for using Syria as a stepping stone to Iran itself. The Associated Press is reporting comments by Yossi Cohen, head of Mossad, who claims to be “100 percent certain” that Iran remains committed to developing a nuclear bomb, which is the old “weapons of mass destruction” ploy used to jumpstart the Iraq War. Israel’s bombing attack on Syria that took place one day after the reports of the alleged chemical weapon incident, deliberately targeted Iranians, killing 7 at a military base near Damascus. Iran has promised to respond, guaranteeing that the conflict will expand and draw in both regional and foreign players, definitely including the United States.

More recently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the U.S., the U.K, and France for bombing Syria, an operation that was coordinated in advance with Israel by National Security Advisor John Bolton. Netanyahu went on to assert that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad must understand that “his provision of a forward base for Iran and its proxies endangers Syria,” an analysis of the situation which is, of course, self-serving bullshit.

Unfortunately, Israel has a receptive quasi-American audience in the team that Donald Trump has pulled together under his son in law Jared Kushner to deal with the Middle East. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who is supposed to represent U.S. interests, has become adept at repeating Israeli Foreign Ministry talking points as if they were American policy, while Chief Negotiator Jason Greenblatt has warned demonstrating Gazans to avoid provoking Israel while also failing to advise the Israeli Army that shooting unarmed protesters just might be considered unacceptable.

Kushner-Friedman-Greenblatt is an Israeli dream team in place, backed up by as subservient Congress that reflexively does whatever Israel wishes. One wonders why Congressmen and the media are not screaming about the slaughter in Gaza and pondering how and why the United States has surrendered its sovereignty to a tiny client state in the Middle East, but never fear, Jewish power backed by lots of money is firmly in control of any entity that might challenge bad Israeli behavior. On top of Friedman, Greenblatt and Kushner, one might also add National Security Adviser John Bolton, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And Trump himself? Who knows what he actually thinks if he bothers to think at all. He has just announced that it is “mission accomplished” in Syria, suggesting that he is delusional as well as ignorant.

Media coverage of Syria, apart from Carlson, scrupulously avoids the issue that the United States is in Syria completely illegally and has been cynically supporting terrorist groups in spite of its pledge that it is in the country to get rid of such vermin. It is a measure of how divorced from actual U.S. security America’s Syria policy has become that the White House has not hesitated to launch a second illegal cruise missile barrage against a government that hasn’t attacked the U.S. and doesn’t threaten Americans. Bombing the Syrian government hasn’t made the U.S. or any other country more secure, and it will likely weaken President Bashar al-Assad just enough to prolong Syria’s civil war and add to the suffering of the civilian population. It is a perfect example of a military intervention that is being done for political reasons with no connection to any discernible interests or overall strategy.

Syria is only part of a much larger problem. It is remarkable the extent to which Israeli concerns dominate those of the United States, which now has a foreign policy that often is not even remotely connected to actual U.S. interests. Congress and the Special Counsel are investigating Russia’s alleged interference in America’s political system while looking the other way when Israel operates aggressively in the open and does much more damage. Netanyahu and his crew of unsavory cutthroats are hardly ever cited for their malignant influence over America’s political class and media. Bomb Syria? Sure. After all, it’s good for Israel.


Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

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