The single biggest source of Middle East and Muslim resentment over American foreign policy is certainly aid to Israel, but it is a sacred cow to the major parties. As long as America gives unconditional foreign aid to the apartheid state it will never have an incentive to treat the Palestinians justly or to negotiate in good faith for a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. The Libertarian Party’s blanket opposition to all foreign aid could be a source of attraction not only to the rising number of American Muslim voters but to young American Jews increasingly unhappy with Israeli policies, but when their current Presidential ticket appeared on John Stossel’s recent Libertarian Town Hall meeting, VP candidate William Weld wandered off the farm to kow-tow to the Israeli lobby.
Here is a transcript of the relevant segment:
Questioner (wearing a T-shirt saying “Don’t steal. The government hates the competition): My question is will you cut all foreign aid including aid to Israel and treat everyone equally and fairly around the world. [Light applause.]
Gary Johnson: I think that, yes, we philosophically–Why are we building roads, bridges, schools and hospitals in other parts of the world when we have those same needs here today? [Light applause]
William Weld: Having said that; you mentioned Israel. I have a long record with Israel. They are a vibrant democracy in a very politically sensitive part of the world. So it would be a cold day in July before I would totally freeze them out. [Light applause.]
John Stossel. So you guys don’t agree on this.
Johnson. No. I think that we have come to believe that foreign aid is about food and medicine when foreign aid is really–for the most part–just props up dictatorships and ends up being anything but. [Applause.]
Johnson is right. Weld is wrong. When there are real humanitarian crises Americans donate generously out of their own pockets. The government, on the other hand, spends $35 billion dollars in economic aid to subsidize the bad behavior of a long list of governments topped by Israel and Egypt.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute