A solid majority of Americans would redirect $38 billion the Obama Administration
pledged to Israel toward other priorities.
The Obama administration last week signed an executive agreement with Israel
pledging $38 billion ($3.8 billion per year) in foreign aid for fiscal years
2019- 2028. The majority of the proposed spending is for Foreign
Military Financing to provide Israel advanced and upgraded jet fighters,
to continue developing Israel’s missile defense systems and to purchase other
U.S. weapons. Although the White House has released a Memorandum of Understanding
sheet, the actual MOU has not been made publicly available.
poll fielded by Google Consumer Surveys reveals 80.8 percent of the US adult
Internet user population says they would redirect the proposed spending toward
other priorities. Caring for veterans (20.7 percent) was their top priority,
followed by education spending (20.1 percent) and paying down the national debt
(19.3 percent). Rebuilding US infrastructure was favored by 14.9 percent, while
funding a Middle East peace plan received 5.8 percent of support.
Only 16.8 percent said the $38 billion of pledged foreign aid should be spent
The statistically significant survey of 1,005 adults was fielded September
14-16 and had an RMSE
score of 1.4 percent. The findings reflect other survey data revealing low
US public support for aid published by Antiwar.com
in 2014 and 2016 and May, 2016 polling by Shibley Telhami released by Newsweek
on September 16.
Though non-statistically significant, demographic breakouts of the IRmep survey
suggest differences between younger and older Americans. Among younger Americans
aged 18-44 years an average 11.7 percent said aid to Israel was a priority over
other options, while 25.2 percent of those in the 45- 65+ category chose Israel
as their top spending priority. Despite an appearance of finality, the aid package
may only be a guaranteed “floor” of official US financial commitment
to Israel. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has pledged to legislate more
aid to Israel than negotiated in the expiring fiscal year 2009-2018 MOU as well
as the new MOU. Graham views new MOU restrictions on Israel and its lobby’s
ability to constantly petition congress for additional tranches of ad hoc aid
every year as an infringement on the separation of powers. Israel and its US
lobby appear to be allowed to make special pleadings to Congress for additional
aid as long as it goes into Israeli military industrial projects that are not
related to anti-rocket and tunnel systems. Campaign advisors have already indicated
a Trump administration would not be limited by Obama administration MOU covenants.
A Hillary Clinton administration, heavily influenced at all levels by pro-Israel
donors and campaign officials,…