Progressives are hailing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for what they are calling his courageous response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to prohibit two U.S. congresswomen, Democrats Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, from visiting the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The reason is because the two congresswomen support the boycott Israel movement, which is designed to pressure the Israeli government into withdrawing from the occupied territories and ending its longtime mistreatment of Palestinians. Netanyahu later changed his mind with respect to Tlaib, agreeing to permit her to visit her 90-year-old mother, who lives in the occupied West Bank.
What did Sanders do to receive effusive accolades from his fellow leftists? Two things. One, he castigated Netanyahu for his decision. And two, he “invited” Netanyahu to reject U.S. foreign aid, given that he’s won’t permit members of the U.S. Congress to enter Israel.
Sanders does deserve credit for his castigation of Netanyahu’s decision. See my blog post today, entitled “Israel and the Destruction of Freedom of Travel, at the website of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
But it’s the second part of Sander’s critique that is weak, weak, weak and oh so typical of both Democrats and Republicans.
Notice, first of all, that Sanders isn’t calling on Congress to suspend, much less cancel, foreign aid to Israel. Instead, he’s simply “inviting” Nentanayu to reject U.S. aid. How likely is that? Not likely at all. Netanyahu is not going to reject the decades-long U.S welfare dole just because Bernie Sanders “invites” him to do so.
But more fundamentally, notice something important here: Sanders, like all of his Democratic cohorts, supports foreign aid to the Israeli government, just as every one of their Republican counterparts do, including, needless to say, President Trump.
What Sanders is trying to do is use foreign aid to the Israeli government as a way to force Netanyahu to bend to Sanders’ will by letting both Omar and Tlaib into the country. The minute that Netanyahu relents, Sanders will be back on board in favor of continuing foreign aid to the Israeli government, just like all of his Republican and Democratic cohorts.
For Sanders and all other Republicans and Democrats, U.S. foreign is a tool to “encourage” foreign regimes to do it “our way” or “the highway.” Sanders’ mindset reveals how he would govern if he were to be elected president. If a foreign regime failed to do what Sanders’ wanted, he would threaten to cancel their dole. If they bent the knee, kissed his ring, and did what he wanted them to do, the dole would continue. That’s the way that Trump governs too. It’s the way any Republican or Democrat would govern as president.
That, in fact, is the reason for U.S. foreign aid. It has nothing to do with helping “the poor, needy, and disadvantaged.” It has everything to do with forcing foreign regimes, through extortion, to do as they are told.
It’s important that we keep in mind how foreign aid to Israel and all other foreign regimes is funded. The money comes from the American people, who have it seized from them by the the Internal Revenue Service. Thus, Americans have their hard-earned money sent to foreign regimes, some of which they might not even like or favor.
Why should hard-pressed American taxpayers be forced to fund any foreign regime, including the dictatorial ones, like Egypt, which is the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid after Israel? Why shouldn’t Americans be free to keep their money and decide for themselves to whom to donate?
Moreover, consider the amount of federal spending and federal debt. The deficit is likely to hit $1 trillion this year. That means the feds are spending $1 trillion more than they are bringing in with taxes. Moreover, the federal debt now exceeds $22 trillion and is climbing. Trump and the Democrats have even struck a deal that lifts the debt ceiling again and are making sure that the issue doesn’t arise again until after the presidential election. Why should there be any foreign aid under these conditions?
How long are the American people going to put up with Republican-Democratic policies that are destroying both their liberty and their economic well-being? I say: Let’s cancel all foreign aid — to the Israeli government, to the Egyptian government, and to everyone else. It is the fiscally response thing to do. It is also the moral thing to do.