By Robert Barsocchini
Surveying Americans about U.S. aid to Israel requires putting it into proper perspective. Given Israel’s position as the leading single U.S. foreign aid recipient (by a wide margin), as in 1989 asking the foreign aid question requires embedding relevant data to obtain a bona fide response. When such data is included, the majority of Americans (60.7 percent) believe U.S. aid to Israel is excessive. The major response, that aid to Israel is “Much too much” is 33.9 percent of Americans. Some 26.8 percent believe it is “too much” while 25.9 percent believe it is “about right.” Only 13.4 percent of Americans believe U.S. aid to Israel is not enough.
The policy and political implications of this finding are stark. Elected officials passing ever larger aid packages and supplemental spending for Israel simply cannot claim they are representing the majority interests of their constituents. American presidents proclaiming the U.S.‐Israel bond is “unbreakable” cannot claim such a bond is willingly underwritten by U.S. taxpayers. The finding also shines yet more light on Israel lobby organizations as the major factor coming between most constituents and their representatives and quietly working to ensure that Israel’s majority share of the U.S. foreign aid budget continues.
The survey also finds that, in particular, younger US citizens are strongly opposed to the amount of US aid that goes to Israel, and, crucially, finds that “Only the Wealthiest Americans believe U.S. aid is ‘about right’”:
The only category of Americans (47.6 percent) who believed U.S. aid for Israel is “about right” is the segment earning $150,000 or more (although even 42.9 percent in that category thought aid was too high). The next lower income category, $100,000‐149,000 is the most vehemently opposed to aid, with 79.5 percent believing it is too high (42.9 percent responding “much too much” and 36.6 percent “too much.”)
While the Google report says the findings are “stark”, they are precisely consistent with the findings of the recent study out of Cornell and Northwestern universities, the largest study of its kind to date, which looked at nearly 1,800 individual US policy issues and found that the average US citizen has zero impact on those policies, while the wealthiest citizens essentially get exactly what they want, meaning they dictate US policy (and they largely comprise the US government).
This Google survey simply singles out one of the policy issues, which together illustrate that the USA is not a democracy, but a society in which people are allowed to choose which of two corporate-backed figureheads they want as the face of an oligarchy that dictates government policy in its own interest.
It is also worth noting here that 1) the top ten recipients of US aid (with Israel as #1) all, like the US itself, have torture regimes, 2) US law “prohibit[s] U.S. foreign aid to nuclear weapons states such as Israel that are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”, and 3) Obama, while repeatedly insisting the US is a “nation of laws”, requested more military aid for Israel than any president ever (among many other blatantly illegal acts).
Robert Barsocchini is a researcher focusing on global force dynamics. He also writes professionally for the film industry. Here is his blog. Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities. Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.