Support for Israel and the Military-Industrial Complex

By Powell, Sara | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 30, 2001 | Go to article overview

Support for Israel and the Military-Industrial Complex


Powell, Sara, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL AND THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Professor Stephen Zunes, chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at San Francisco University, addressed an audience at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine regarding U.S. aid to Israel on Jan. 26. He focused on the reasons the U.S. persists in funding Israel despite the latter's status as an "advanced, industrialized, and technologically sophisticated country."

Zunes' primary conclusion was that such funding suited the needs of U.S. arms manufacturers, adding that Israel's role in advancing U.S. strategic aims also affected funding decisions.

Zunes cited some statistical data regarding U.S. aid to Israel, including an estimate of $90 billion in total aid, and the fact that Israel receives more U.S. aid per capita annually than the total per capita GNP of many Arab states, including Egypt (which also receives large amounts of U.S. aid.). Moreover, he continued, 99 percent of American aid came after 1967, and much of it took the form of military loans. All loans have been forgiven, however, and since 1985 they have been replaced by grants. The U.S. currently provides Israel approximately $3 billion a year in direct aid, supplemented by another half-billion from other programs. Zunes further pointed out that Israel is the only country receiving aid from the U.S. since 1971 that does not have a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) presence supervising aid expenditures.

One of the basic tenets of political science, Zunes explained, is that the most stable relationship between two countries is military parity. Israel, however, is dominant over the whole region, thus leading to an unstable situation. If the U.S. really desired stability in the region, he argued, it would strive to achieve military parity. The ever-increasing link between the military-industrial complexes of Israel and the U. …

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