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An Update from CUFI Action Fund













One of the cornerstones of the US-Israel relationship is that with American support, Israel can acquire the most advanced means in which to defend itself. American aid enables Israel to maintain a qualitative military edge in a turbulent region. While not all American politicians agree with all Israeli actions all of the time, outside of the most fringe elected officials, there is widespread consensus that it is in America’s interest to ensure Israel has the ability to keep enemies like Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran at bay. In addition to being in our national security interest, standing with the leading democracy in the Middle East is the right thing to do.

The Fringe
Sadly, far-left anti-Israel detractors and extreme-right isolationists do not support aid to the Jewish state. Even when you combine these fringe elements in Congress, they are far from the majority, but they are very vocal, and for whatever reason, Israel seems to draw their ire more than other foreign policy issues. They claim humanist morality (far left) and pure American self-interest (far right) are their guiding principles. That’s ok. We too have a moral compass, and we too believe America should act in our interests.

Aid to Israel is Morally Justified
Freedom House categorizes Israel as a “free” country. Israel is a democracy that extends civil rights to all citizens. This should be a mundane statement; such should be the status quo throughout the world. But it is not. And in the Middle East, Israel is unique. The Palestinian controlled territories are not free – but to blame this on Israel is patently dishonest.

The Palestinians are ruled by Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. Perennial Palestinian rejectionism – most recently put on display when the PA completely rejected the Trump Peace proposal – is the reason there exists no state of Palestine. And lest one be inclined to blame the Trump administration’s proposed parameters, it’s worth remembering that Palestinian leaders have rejected every peace proposal ever offered them.

Both Hamas and the PA are fundamentally anti-democratic. And the rest of the region is sadly no different. The Middle East is better today than it once was, but save Israel, it remains ruled largely by dictators and theocrats.

So we are left with an island of freedom that is founded upon core democratic values in a sea of authoritarianism. Leaving such a country to suffer war and annihilation at the hands of the despots, tyrants and terrorists that surround it is morally reprehensible. Thus, the classical-liberal response to whether or not one supports US aid to Israel should be emphatically and unequivocally, “yes.”

Aid to Israel is in America’s Self Interest
Sadly, for some, “morally reprehensible” is a perfectly acceptable description of their foreign policy approach. And they don’t seek to simply put America first, rather, for the American isolationist, America first means America alone.

We are people of faith, so we disagree with taking morality out of the American policy discussion. Nonetheless, we think even the most amoral foreign policy approach still justifies US support for the Jewish state. 

First, we get a lot in return. For an investment of less than one percent of the US federal budget, US security assistance to the Jewish state returns significant intelligence, military advancements (e.g. Iron Dome and the Israeli battlefield bandage) and a large port of safe harbor in the Mediterranean (both literally and figuratively).

Second, US aid to Israel boosts the US economy, as more than three quarters of the aid is spent here in the US. This creates American jobs, but more importantly, ensures America maintains our quantitative and qualitative military manufacturing superiority in an uncertain world.

Finally, the terrorists on Israel’s doorstep have made clear that they would love to be on ours. Israel fights the same enemies who find the American way of life to be a sinful abomination. And Israel’s existence acts as a force multiplier for US interests, which thus has a direct impact on keeping every American safe.

Isolationists may wish for a world where vast oceans are all we need to protect our shores, but we know all too well that such is not the case. One cannot reasonably apply an 18th century foreign policy approach to a world with 21st century weapons and technology.

When you tune in to the CUFI Virtual Summit (June 28-30), you’ll be once again reminded that we cannot take this cornerstone of the relationship for granted. When it comes to ensuring that Israel has the tools it needs to defend itself our work is never finished.

Sincerely,


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