Here’s What Israel Is Really Costing American Taxpayers
By John Tiffany
IT IS OFTEN REPORTED THAT ISRAEL receives about $9.2 billion every year in the form of economic aid from the U.S. government, but there are many billions of dollars more in hidden costs and economic losses lurking beneath the surface. A recently published economic analysis concluded that U.S. support for the state of Israel has cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $3 trillion. About 60 percent of those costs (about $1.7 trillion) arose from the U.S. defense of the ever-expanding Israeli empire.
Support for the empire comes to $1.8 trillion, including special trade advantages, preferential contracts, or aid buried in other accounts.
In addition to the financial outlay, U.S. aid to Israel costs some 275,000 American jobs each year. The trade-aid imbalance with Israel is between $6 billion and $10 billion. The largest single element in the costs has been the series of oil-supply crises that have accompanied the Israeli-Arab wars and the construction of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. These have cost the U.S. $1.5 trillion, excluding the additional costs incurred since 2001.
The cost of supporting Israel increased drastically after the 1973 Israeli-Arab war. U.S. support for Israel during that war resulted in additional costs for the American taxpayer of between $750 billion and $1 trillion. When Israel was losing the war, President Richard Nixon stepped in to supply the Jewish
state with U.S. weapons. Nixon’s intervention triggered the Arab oil embargo, which cost the U.S. as much as $600 billion in lost GDP and another $450 billion in higher oil import costs.
The 1973 oil crisis cost the U.S. economy no less than $900 billion, and probably as much as $1.2 trillion. As a result of the oil embargo the U.S. government created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to “insulate Israel and the U.S. against the wielding of a future Arab “oil weapon.”
The billion-barrel SPR has cost taxpayers more than $134 billion so far. Making things worse, Israel gets “first call” on any oil available to the U.S. if Israel’s oil supply is stopped, according to an oil supply guarantee, which former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger provided Israel in 1975. The $3 trillion figure is actually too low, as it does not include the increased costs incurred during the year-long buildup to the ongoing wars against Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, in which Israel plays a significant covert role.
The higher oil prices incurred as a result of the Anglo-American campaign against Iraq were absorbed by taxpayers. Israel also has many hidden costs to the taxpayer. “Loans” made to Israel by the U.S. government invariably wind up being paid by the American taxpayer as does the interest on the money to Israel. Thus, it is reasonable to consider all government loans to Israel the same as grants. Israel has received over $42 billion in waived loans.
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(Issue # 37, September 14, 2009)