Washington, DC – On May 8, 2017 IRmep (Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy) Director Grant F. Smith filed an emergency motion (PDF) asking the US Court of Appeals for an injunction on the immanent transfer of US foreign military assistance to Israel.
On May 5 President Trump signed into law a temporary spending measure designed to keep the US government running until September. The law included $3.7 billion in foreign aid to Israel.
Appellants argue that Israel’s nuclear weapons program requires either that the aid be withheld, or that long-neglected special procedures under the Arms Export Control Act be followed. The Trump administration has not issued required special waivers, as has been done for Pakistan and other nuclear weapons countries, that would make the aid legal under the Symington & Glenn Amendments.
Senator Stuart Symington (1901-1988), in legislating prohibitions on foreign aid to covert nuclear powers said “if you wish to take the dangerous and costly steps necessary to achieve a nuclear weapons option, you cannot expect the United States to help underwrite that effort indirectly or directly.”
Senator Chuck Schumer recently told reporters at a National Press Club Briefing, “It is a well-known fact that Israel has nuclear weapons, but the Israeli government doesn’t officially talk about what kinds of weapons and where, et cetera.”
Americans favor transparency about Israel’s nuclear weapons. In a major new IRmep survey fielded through Google Analytics Solutions included as evidence to the appeals court, when asked, “Israel & its US lobby want Congress to finance Israel’s ‘Qualitative Military Edge’ over rivals without considering Israel is the region’s sole nuclear power.” 52% of Americans responded that “Congress should consider Israel’s nukes.”
According to the same survey, Americans are also overwhelmingly opposed (60%) giving foreign aid to Israel, which has received at least $254 billion, far more than any other country. The survey also reveals Americans favor renegotiating or canceling Israel’s US trade preferences (78% approve), opposing any US embassy move to Jerusalem (56%), and staying away from a “no-daylight” policy with Israel (56% oppose).
Americans also oppose single-issue lobbying for Israel (71%) and favor regulating Israel lobby groups such as AIPAC as foreign agents (66%).
Information about the lawsuit to block aid is available via the IRmep email list.
IRmep is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit researching US Middle East policy formulation.