Archive for February, 2009

The Cost of Israeli Friendship

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

From Michael Hoffman’s and Moshe Lieberman’s book The Israeli Holocaust Against the Palestinians

How expensive is the US’s relationship with Israel for the US taxpayer? Speaking at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine (CPAP) briefing, Thomas Stauffer analyzed the overwhelming costs and organized them into six distinct categories. An exact total is very difficult to calculate given most the cost are considered consequential, or indirect; however, the explicit cost alone is approximately $5.5 billion per year. This cost is foreign aid sent directly to Egypt, Jordan and Israel and known as the “simplest and smallest” cost.

Additional costs are indirect costs, a result of our association with Israel. Stauffer argues that billions of dollars in aid sent to Turkey annually as well as billions sent to central Asian countries are directly connected to our support of Israel. The aid received by Turkey is a reward for it’s diplomatic relations which Israel. In central Asia, the aid is distributed under the guise of promoting democracy but is certainly an attempt contain Iran’s regional influence. Stauffer also notes that private contributions from US citizens to Israel (totaling between $1 and $1.5 billion) are tax deductible and therefore must be included in the costs of supporting Israel. Also subsidized is 60-100 million in funds for relocation of Jews from Russia to Israel.

US banking has been another large source of funds for the Israeli government. This includes a bailout of the Israeli banking system at a cost between 10-12 billion in the 1980’s. (Actually a relatively low figure when compared to the current bailout costs)  Additionally, the Israel has initialized $7 billion of a maximum $10 billion in loan guarantees, which Stauffer refers to as “contingent liability.”

However, trade discrepancies are responsible for the largest lost of revenue in the US’s relationship with Israel. In terms of military expenditures, Israel enjoys a discount on all “surplus” military equipment. In fact, for every dollar of military equipment given to Israeli, the United States buys back another 60 cents. Not to mention the US has agreed to provide oil to Israel in the event of an embargo. As Stauffer points out, this responsibility may potentially cost up to 30 billion dollars for the US.

Trade (rather lack of trade) with countries hostile to Israel as well as non-military trade with Israel must also be factored into the losses of the US. Stauffer’s data reveals that the United States experiences a trade deficit with Israel amounting to $5 to $5.5 billion. Trade imbalance, a result of our special relationship is the main reason behind the losses.

Israel does not pay “real money” for its imports from the United States. This results in an annual trade imbalance of just under $10 billion, easily translating into about a quarter of a million American jobs lost.

Stauffer argues U.S. sanctions on Libya, Syria, Iran all of which have links to Israeli politics costs the U.S. economy about $14 billion annually in potential trade and translate into 500,000 to 600,000 in lost jobs. The inability to make major trade contracts with Arab and Muslim countries, the 1980s aircraft sales contract with Saudi Arabia for example, cost the U.S. economy between $20-25 billion annually.

If the relationship between Israel and the United States is so costly, why does it exist? Stauffer blames the “public’s naiveté.” towards the U.S. government but surely someone must benefit from the relationship. Stauffer describes how Congress and presidential candidates make out “handsomely” from Zionist contributors. In total, about 20-40% of campaign contributions (equaling tens of billions of dollars) are donated by the Jewish community in the United States and directly benefit U.S. leaders.  Stauffer claims other benefits are “hard to find.”

Imran Malik
Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (2/20/09)

Friday, February 20th, 2009

While fears the agreement could radicalize India’s Muslim population are “unwarranted”, the move could embolden India’s Hindu nationalist parties and trigger extremist copying Taliban tactics:

The increase of 17,000 troops brings into question the $60m expansion and its purpose of the prison:

In an incident broadcast live, former soccer player Faisal Abu Thnain did not allow an insult by a Saudi prince to go unmatched:

Believed to be a conciliatory gesture in advance of any diplomatic overtures by the Obama administration:

In a letter to the editor, Steve York challenges the idea that America’s estrangement from the Muslim world is an image or public relations problem, “Does she[Hillary Clinton] not understand that the problem is not ‘who we are’ but what we do?”:

“A British man who fooled the media into believing he was an al-Qaida insider has admitted in court that he made up the claims”:

News and Analysis (2/19/09)

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Reversing Judge Urbina’s decision on the grounds that only Congress and the executive branch have the authority to allow people to enter the United States…

…Obama stands poised to demonstrate his break with the policies of the Bush administration:

Highlighting the widespread corruption devastating Afghanistan’s infrastructure:

Although the release of Ayman Nour is a positive step forward, Egyptian elections are hardly representative of democracy with groups like the Muslim Brotherhood banned from participating:

Distrust emerges from both sides as the agreement has yet to be formalized:

Facing charges of assaulting a foreign leader, Al-Zeidi’s lawyers plan to argue “Bush was visiting an occupied country and al-Zeidi was trying to express his personal rejection [of] that occupation“:

The decision to shut down the US base is approved after $2 billion package of aid and credit was received from Russia:

A rare glimpse into the world of espionage, Ali al-Jarrah is accused of being an Israeli spy for over 25 years:

News and Analysis (2/18/09)

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll indicates only 34% of Americans believe the number of troops should be increased, with 29% wanting a decrease and 32% for no change at all:

As a Geneva based panel declares the “war on terror” has “‘undermined [the] cherished values’ of civil rights in the United States, Britain and other countries”…

… the Obama administration is retaining many Bush’s policies, including renditions, indefinite detentions, and using “state secrets” doctrine to shut down lawsuits:

A major Muslim community leader reminds us that domestic violence occurs in every community and urges the Muslim community to support the victims and condemn those who engage in the violence:

Fed up with the stereotypes about being repressed, Shelina Zahra Janmohamed chronicles her own journey as a British Muslim in her book Love in a Headscarf:

The charges signify the larger issue of distrust between Iran and members of the Bahai faith, an offshoot of Islam that originated in 19th-century Persia:

China continues to place pressure any country that might agree to offer asylum to the Muslims:

Israel, continuing to hold 1400 Palestinians, refuses to negotiate opening the Gaza crossings or rebuilding the Gaza Strip until the release of Shalit is secured:

News and Analysis (2/17/09)

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Livni claims “the majority of Israelis understand that if Israel wants to remain an independent Jewish state, in the end the territory will have to be divided”…

… Yet, a new plan to annex 423 acres, the first step to enlarge the settlement from 9,000 to 30,000 residents, suggests just how evenly Israelis want to divide the land:

Is Israel sabotaging Iran’s nuclear ambitions through a number of methods that may include assassinations …?

… or is it  “psychological warfare campaign to unsettle Iran?”

Guantánamo critics believe the opposition argument that the US criminal justice system cannot securely handle the suspected terrorists is a proxy for flat opposition to the closure:

Sending aid workers could be met with hostility and backfire in improving US relations with Indonesia:

Civilian deaths increased by 40% to 2,118 people with Afghan, US and Nato forces responsible for 45% of the total deaths:

Indications are that the Egyptian checkpoints that “prevent merchandise from reaching the tunnel zone” in Rafah are much more successful in choking off Gaza than the Israeli air strikes:

News and Analysis (2/16/09)

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Varying degrees of fraud indicated in every province, but not significant enough to alter results:

The overall unemployment rate is 18% with additional 10% underemployed including an unemployment rate of 28% for males age 15-29:

“Once Islamic law is imposed there will be no problems in Swat. The Taliban will lay down their arms.”

Among the changes, Norah al-Fayez was named deputy education minister for women, the most senior job ever granted a woman in Saudi Arabia:

The US could learn a lesson from Russian experience, “Nothing can be done in Afghanistan using military means… If the Americans go on with the policy they have now, it will be useless.”

Appeals court upholds 20 years sentence for translating the Quran in Afghanistan:

With Hosni Mubarak visiting while Egypt persecutes both secular and Muslim bloggers, Obama is warmed:

Fareed Zakriya says the loyalty of Israel’s Muslim and Christian citizens is waning; they are 20% of the population now and will be 25% in 2025:

Freedom of Expression in Egypt, the Fountainhead of Reform

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

<meta content=" 2.0 (Win32)" name="GENERATOR" /><meta content="Kasia" name="AUTHOR" /><meta content="20090213;7490000" name="CREATED" /><meta content="Kasia" name="CHANGEDBY" /><meta content="20090213;7490000" name="CHANGED" /></p> <style> <!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } A:link { color: #0000ff } --> </style> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">After moving to a new, more modern campus (plastered with USAID stickers and heavily gated), the American University in Cairo (AUC) held its inauguration ceremony last Saturday. In keeping with the grandeur expected of such Egyptian ceremonies, the First Lady made an appearance. ‘Mama Suzanne,’ as she is fondly called, lathered on the requisite public praise for education and progress.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Meanwhile, professors whom had been invited to this extra-exclusive ceremony stood not with the Mother of the Nation on this glorious day, but rather in front of riot police at the General Prosecutor’s Headquarters. They were protesting for the release of one of AUC’s own, arrested only the day before. Philip Rizk is a graduate student here, a German-Egyptian, a Christian, an activist for the people of Gaza, a filmmaker, a blogger, a freelance journalist. For four days he was also a <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="">political detainee</a></u></font> held without charge, as is customary in this country of “progress.”</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">The AUC strategy for recovering its kidnapped minds, however, is making progress.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">In January 2007, another graduate student and Arabic language instructor, Ihab Atta was taken by the State Security and held without a trail. Atta is a soft-spoken man, one with a genuine smile. It’s hard to believe anyone like him could be suspected of activities against the government, even one as frustrating as this one. Perhaps it was because no one could even comprehend why Atta was taken that the resistance to his imprisonment was <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="">slow to mobilize</a></u></font>. It took nearly two years to accumulate enough momentum, to determine the right amount – and the right kind—of pressure against the Interior Minister. Finally, Atta was released in the end of last November after local newspapers announced the coming of a media-saturated demonstration to be held at the shiny, new, and progressive campus.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">These two cases illustrate the power of media and awareness. For Ihab, a cautious campaign that tried first to use <em>wusta</em> (political connections, the language of Egyptian bureaucracy), and succeeded years later only after finally turning to the papers. For Philip, a pointed and publicized operation that claimed success in less than a week.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">It’s effectiveness is precisely why the freedom of expression is recurrently under attack by State Security. The 2005 presidential election, the first multiparty contest ever, sparked an explosion of blogs in particular to meet the demand for <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="">alternative reporting</a></u></font> left unfulfilled by state and official media. Of course after the fact, Mubarak’s leading opponent Aymen Nour is still in jail, and authorities now keep tabs on blogs with political and religious content.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">The weakness of the Egyptian government is in its appearance, and state authorities know this. This is why <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="">criticizing the President</a></u></font> and his family is a punishable offense; why state police are camped out on every corner of downtown Cairo; why the country will have been living under “<font color="#0000ff"><u><a href=",3241">emergency law</a></u></font>” for the past 30 years after its supposed expiration next May; and why the country <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="">fights Islamists</a></u></font> with one hand and <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="">secularists</a></u></font> with the other. Despite the state’s widespread <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="">incapacity</a></u></font>, the game is maintaining the appearance of strength and to proactively squash any voice that suggests otherwise.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Philip’s freedom is a small victory in the scheme of things, but a very meaningful one. People like him are the fountainhead of reform, the ones who make it their job to fight the big issues that still exist: Thousands of the political opposition are still behind bars, the state still remains impotent, Egypt’s Rafah border with Gaza is <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="">still blocked</a></u></font>, other pro-Palestinian bloggers are <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="">still in captivity</a></u></font>.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">And the fear still lingers that tomorrow someone else will be snatched up and taken away for merely speaking his mind. “I don’t want there to be another Ihab or another Philip,” explained a member of the AUC faculty who was involved in campaigning for both of their releases. “Never again.”</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Kasia Rada, former MFI intern</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><em>Cairo, Egypt</em></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="" rel="category">Guest blog</a> | <a href="">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post-933 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-news-and-analysis"> <h3 id="post-933"><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to News and Analysis (2/14-15/09)">News and Analysis (2/14-15/09)</a></h3> <small>Sunday, February 15th, 2009</small> <div class="entry"> <p>As the US agrees to include an Afghan delegation in the <span class="DetaildSuammary" id="Span1">strategic review of policy conducted by Holbrooke</span> …</p> <ul> <li><a href="">US Pact ‘to Reduce Afghan Deaths’</a> (Al Jazeera)</li> </ul> <p>… while some conclude that as far as the cycle of violence is concerned:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Not Even the Afghans Know How to Fix It</a> (Washington Post)</li> </ul> <p>The strained relations between the two governments could compromise commercial trade which amounts to nearly $3.5 billion a year:</p> <ul> <li><a href=",0,247366.story">Chill Settles into Turkey-Israel Relations</a> (LA Times)</li> </ul> <p>As both the Likud party and Kadima party have to court right wing parties to build a coalition…</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Israeli Election Reflects Resurgence of the Right</a> (Washington Post)</li> </ul> <p>Ali Abunimah reminds us that “whatever government emerges is certain to preside over more settlement-building, racial discrimination and escalating violence”:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">No Peace for Israel</a> (Guardian)</li> </ul> <p>Valentine’s day protests highlight how prohibition of secular marriages impedes cross-religious unions:</p> <ul> <li><a href=",0,4786570.story">Lebanese Campaign for Civil Weddings</a> (LA Times)</li> </ul> <p>“The soldiers, many of them still in their teens, had no detailed standard operating procedures and were taught hardly anything about the Geneva Conventions…though some learned about them on their own initiative”</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Former Gitmo Guard Recalls Abuse, Climate of Fear</a> (AP / Washington Post)</li> </ul> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="" rel="category">news and analysis</a> | <a href="">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post-932 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-news-and-analysis"> <h3 id="post-932"><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to News and Analysis (2/13/09)">News and Analysis (2/13/09)</a></h3> <small>Friday, February 13th, 2009</small> <div class="entry"> <p>The Senator’s comments suggest Pakistan has a deeper involvement with US drone attacks than publicly admitted, “As I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base”:</p> <ul> <li><a href=",0,4776260.story">Feinstein Comment on U.S. Drones Likely to Embarrass Pakistan</a> (LA Times)</li> </ul> <p>Could it be the Court has made a decision but still has yet to issue the warrant?</p> <ul> <li><span id="DetailedTitle"><a href="">ICC: No Warrant Issued for Bashir</a> (Al Jazeera)</span></li> </ul> <p><a href="">Reversing course</a>, the US now seems committed to protecting the identity of interpreters:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Iraqi Interpreters May Wear Masks</a> (Washington Post)</li> </ul> <p>Recent improvements in women’s education combine with remaining legal inequalities to set the stage for a “sexual revolution”:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Starting at Home, Iran’s Women Fight for Rights</a> (NY Times)</li> </ul> <p>Despite all Israel’s military might, they remain unable to bully Hezbollah into compliance:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Israel, Hezbollah: Has Deterrence Worked?</a> (CS Monitor)</li> </ul> <p>Discounted rooms and airfare among the many gimmicks designed to lure consumers as shopkeepers face a sales decreased between 20% and 50%:</p> <ul> <li><a href=",0,4384160.story">Even Dubai Shopping Festival is Feeling Effects of Economic Slump</a> (LA Times)</li> </ul> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="" rel="category">news and analysis</a> | <a href="">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post-930 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-news-and-analysis"> <h3 id="post-930"><a href="" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to News and Analysis (2/12/09)">News and Analysis (2/12/09)</a></h3> <small>Thursday, February 12th, 2009</small> <div class="entry"> <p>Over 1/3 of the 242,000 light weapons funded by US tax payers remain unaccounted for and are “at serious risk of theft or loss”:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Lost U.S. Weapons May Be Going to Taliban, GAO Says</a> (Washington Post)</li> </ul> <p>Opponents of the decision believe it will further hinder a compromise for peace and encourage reprisal attacks:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Judges Approve Warrant for Sudan’s President</a> (NY Times)</li> </ul> <p>What does an “Iraqi Ministry of Women’s Affairs” do? Nothing. Nawal Samarai resigns, calling the ministry a “fake office” created to meet quotas:</p> <ul> <li><a href=",0,627897.story">Iraq Cabinet Member’s Exit Raises Gender, Sectarian Issues</a> (LA Times)</li> </ul> <p>So is there anything Israel will allow Gazans to export? Flowers to Holland for Valentine’s Day! <a href="">What would the head of the Fiqh Dept. at al-Azhar say?</a></p> <ul> <li><a href="">Gaza to Export Valentine’s Blooms</a> (BBC News)</li> </ul> <p><span id="Span1" class="DetaildSuammary">Haroun Mir, a political analyst for the Afghanistan Centre for Research and Policy Studies believes the atypical attack aimed at taking </span><span id="Span1" class="DetaildSuammary">hostages </span><span id="Span1" class="DetaildSuammary">and paralyzing Kabul as in Mumbai</span>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Pakistan Links to Kabul Raid Probed</a> (Al Jazeera)</li> </ul> <p>Previous trauma, lack of security, and inefficiency in distributing compensation and providing access to property are among the many reasons 1.1 million Iraqis remain in Syria:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Iraqi Refugees in Syria Reluctant to Return</a> (Reuters)</li> </ul> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="" rel="category">news and analysis</a> | <a href="">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="navigation"> <div class="alignleft"><a href="" >« Older Entries</a></div> <div class="alignright"><a href="" >Newer Entries »</a></div> </div> </div> <div id="sidebar" role="complementary"> <ul> <li> <form role="search" method="get" id="searchform" class="searchform" action=""> <div> <label class="screen-reader-text" for="s">Search for:</label> <input type="text" value="" name="s" id="s" /> <input type="submit" id="searchsubmit" value="Search" /> </div> </form> </li> <!-- Author information is disabled per default. 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