Israel Will Survive Without U.S. Aid

[Some things never change. This commentary, originally written in 1983, is as applicable today as it was then. Nothing in it has changed except for a few names, e.g., Biden in place of Reagan]

The long article by Robert W. Gibson. "Israel: An Economic Ward of the U.S." (Los Angeles Times, July 24), highlights the main thrust of the anti-Israel elements in the United States who, quite correctly, understand that the most direct and easiest way to fuel anti-Israel feeling is to dramatize the amount of economic aid the Jewish state receives from Washington. Not only does this tactic play on the economic resentment of Americans in financial straits but it incites, too, the very strong, though latent, feeling within many, many Americans that "Israel and the Jews" run the policies of the United States. And so it is time, long overdue in fact, to lay down a clear political axiom: If the citizens of the United States do not feel that their interests are being served by Israel then their obligation is to stop this economic aid. If, on the other hand, they believe that Israel serves a vital interest of the US they should then put an end to their whining and deal with Israel as one would an equal partner who gives as much as he gets.

Of course, the nonsense about helping Israel because it is "the only democracy in the Middle East" has to be stopped. Nations do not help other states because they are "democracies" or "progressive" states, or "good." Nations have self-interests that lead them to ally themselves with other states. Those self-interests, and not the "morality" of the state, are what determine foreign policy decisions. That is why "socialist" China sells weapons to Khomeinlist Iran and why the Soviet Union, not to mention various African states, do business with South Africa. That is why the US had military and/or economic ties with such "democracies" as Franco's Spain, the colonels of Greece, and a whole host of other "worthies." And that is the reason, the only reason, why the United States should have an alliance with Israel — and then pay for what it is getting.

The most urgent US interest in the Middle East is a strong and reliable anti-Soviet ally. It has a wide range of choices. If not Israel, it can always choose from such reliable powers as Oman, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Jordan, or Lebanon ...

It is Israel alone that gives the United States a guaranteed and safe base whenever needed. It is the Haifa naval harbor that is open to the US Sixth Fleet regularly. It is in the Negev that the US stores tons of military equipment for use when needed. It is Israel that provides the Voice of America an area in which to build new, powerful transmitters. It is Israel that works hand in hand with the US to actively crush terrorism. It is Israel that flies US F-16 planes, in real combat, to tell the Americans what defects exist. It is Israel that puts Soviet missiles given to the Syrians out of commission and then explains to Washington how it was done. It is Israel that captures a Soviet T-72 tank and shows it to the CIA for the first time. It is Israel whose Jericho missiles makes Moscow nervous enough to protest a weapon that can reach its territory. It is Israel that has the brains, the technology, the ability to create; things that no nation in the region has. And it is Israel that has the innate common hostility to the Soviets and other anti-Western totalitarian states, shared by America.

[All US assistance to Israel, as of 2008, is military in nature. Over 75% of the aid Israel receives must be spent in the United States, essentially making the money a government subsidy to the US military industrial complex. U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, Congressional Research Service, Washington, D.C., March 2012, pg. 7. As a result, Israeli companies lose their own military as a client and the Israel Defense Force is forced to purchase US products that are often more expensive and qualitatively inferior to Israeli products. Economic & Strategic Ramifications of American Assistance to Israel*, Jerusalem Institute of Market Studies (JIMS), January 2011, pp. 3-4. —ed*]

If all that is not worth the money — then by all means stop it. Indeed, the Administration has an obligation to stop "wasting" American money. But if all that adds up to a priceless asset, then let the weepers and wailers shut up and pay for what they are getting and count themselves fortunate.

And know that the State of Israel's survival is in no way dependent on the United States or any other human agency. The incredible saga of the Jewish return to the Holy Land is, of course, preceded by the miraculous survival of that Jewish people through 1,900 years of persecution, wanderings, and Holocaust. How? Why, because they are, indeed, the Chosen People [Deuteronomy 7.6-8; Jeremiah 31.35-37]. They are, indeed, capable of suffering terribly but never being destroyed. They are, indeed, the people of G‑d who, just as Divinely promised, have come home, never again to be exiled. That is the immutable fact of history, whether one cares to believe or not. Not by American bread does the Jewish state live but by the word of G‑d. Let that be clear.

And a final world. The Kach Movement is committed to putting an end to US economic aid. Not only does it not help us, it perpetuates the economic basket case that Israel is today — a state that, like some beggar, lives off Washington and German reparations and the United Jewish Appeals or Israel Bonds. Normal countries do not survive on charity, which only petrifies economic initiative and intensifies possible political pressure on the part of the donor nation. And Israel, which is a pathetic victim of its own bureaucratic and socialist system that strangles free enterprise and initiative, receives US economic aid as some drug addict needing his annual "fix." That "fix" does not aid Israel, it keeps it from taking the difficult, painful steps needed to achieve economic independence. Let the aid be gradually stopped and let the bureaucrats be thrown out and let free enterprise and economic initiative rule. Then, Israel will grow and thrive — without US or any other human assistance. Then Israel will be able to respond to intolerable American pressure and interference in internal affairs with a clear and respectable: No. Israel and the US must be partners. Equal partners. If there are Americans who do not want this — fine. Stop giving; but then accept the consequences of not receiving.

The awesome fly in this Jewish ointment is, of course, that the people in the world who will most strenuously object to all the above will be Jews. The People of the Book, who cast it aside for Philip Roth and other moral-cultural-secular pornography, is also the people of ultimate faith that cast that away to suckle at the breasts of the nations. The Jew of our times simply does not believe in G‑d, despite all the piously fraudulent protestations. Too lacking in courage to admit his lack of belief and preferring to create a G‑d that is safe and in his own image, the Jew will build his temples and hire (at munificent costs) his priests and priestesses (aka rabbis), paying expensive lip service to Divinity. But that Divinity is most limited by the new Creator-Man. He has His place, but He had better well know it.

The Jew absolutely rejects the idea of a G‑d who is stronger than Caspar Weinberger or Ronald Reagan [or John Kerry or Barak Obama or Joe Biden]. He may pray to G‑d, but he quakes before Washington. Israel can certainly survive in his pragmatic little mind without the G‑d of Israel, but it can never last a week without the American savior. That is the result of the centuries of Jewish religious corruption, the decadence of Western Hellenization and secularism. We have evolved from a holy nation that once worshiped at the footstool of G‑d to one that prays at the armpit of the American president.

And the Orthodox Jew is not a whit better. The Orthodox Jew, he who evolved from the religious one. From a Jew who once fearlessly proclaimed, "these may come with horses and these with chariots, but we shall call in the name of the L‑rd" (Psalms 20:8), we have emerged a people who, following the morning prayer when we mouth that very verse, remove the tallit and teflin, gulp down a bit of schnapps, and speaking "politics," venture: "Of course we believe in G‑d, but be practical. If Israel does not compromise, Reagan [or Biden] will not give us horses and chariots."

We pray and hear nothing of what we say. We swiftly mumble and slur not only the words, but, far worse, the very thoughts. We are not a religious people, and two yarmulkes and all the kaftans in the world can never cover the nakedness of the Jew who has lost his real faith in the G‑d of Israel — who simply does not believe that the All Mighty is stronger than Ronald Reagan [and Joe Biden].

[This commentary, written by Rabbi Meir Kahane and published on October 2, 1987, is taken from Beyond Words: Selected Writings 1960-1990 Vol. 5 1985-1988. Barbara Ginsberg maintains a weekly mailing list of the writings of Rabbi Kahane. If you would like to receive these weekly mailings, you can join the list by contacting her at:—ed]

[ Rabbi Meir Kahane ]