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Opinion » Columnists

How Israel has betrayed America

24.06.2014
 

By Peter Baofu, Ph.D.

How Israel has betrayed America. 53030.jpeg

A recent report by Newsweek magazine that Israel has spied on the United States at "an alarming level" and has done so "more than any other ally does" raises a very serious issue concerning how much Israel has betrayed America, which is something that the American mainstream media have time and again refused to debate in public. For clarification, the word "betrayed" here means something "damaging" to American national interests.

In fact, the case of Israel's espionage on the U.S. is only one among different problems which have damaged American national interests due to the actions of Israel over the last few decades. Consider, for illustration, four major evidences as explained below.

(a) Evidence #1: Israel's Espionage on the U.S.

The first evidence for Israel's betrayal of America has to do with Israel's espionage on the U.S.

On May 7, 2014, AFP published a little known report by Newsweek magazine, which revealed several "classified" briefings in recent months given by "the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, the FBI and the National Counterintelligence Directorate," in which there were shocking findings that "Israel spies on the United States more than any other ally does and these activities have reached an alarming level...The main targets are US industrial and technical secrets."

Israel exploits different ways to spy on the U.S. For instance, Israel sought "legislation" in the U.S. that "would make it easier for Israeli citizens...to enter America" (without restriction), as reported by AFP.  In 2013, the Obama administration and Congress worked out a legislation that "would let Israelis visit the United States without visas but not demand full reciprocal treatment for all Americans wishing to travel to the Jewish state," due to its persistent discrimination against those Americans who are critical to Israel's foreign policy or those who are of Middle Eastern descent -- and the legislation created a new category of U.S. ally known as "major strategic partner" which designates "Israel as the only such nation" with this exceptional privilege, as reported by Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee on July 15, 2013. 

Another common loophole exploited by Israel is to have "industrial espionage folks coming over here on trade missions or with Israeli companies working in collaboration with American companies, [or] intelligence operatives being run directly by the government, which...meant out of the [Israeli] Embassy," as reported by Newsweek.

According to AFP, "a congressional staffer familiar with a briefing last January [in 2013] called the testimony 'very sobering...alarming...even terrifying,' and quoted another as saying the behavior was 'damaging.' 'No other country close to the United States continues to cross the line on espionage like the Israelis do,' said a former congressional staffer who attended another classified briefing in late 2013." 

In fact, "Israel's espionage activities in America are unrivaled and go far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, Britain and Japan, counter-intelligence agents told members of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, Newsweek said. 'I don't think anyone was surprised by these revelations, ' the former aide was quoted as saying. 'But when you step back and hear...that there are no other countries taking advantage of our security relationship the way the Israelis are for espionage purposes, it is quite shocking,'" according to the AFP report.

(2) Evidence #2: Israel's Refusal to Help the U.S. on Budget Cuts at this Most Difficult Time

The second evidence for Israel's betrayal of America has to do with Israel's refusal to help the U.S. on budget cuts at this most difficult time of financial crisis.

It is no secret that Israel has depended on U.S. foreign aid, both military and economic, for decades (not just for years). For instance, Joel Bainerman, himself an Israeli, had long pointed out in the Middle East Quarterly, back in 1995, that, "from 1948 to 1993, U.S. military and economic aid to Israel amounted to approximately $37 billion...In 1994, Israel received $1.8 billion in military credits and $1.2 billion in economic aid, or 26 percent of the $11.5 billion total U.S. foreign aid bill." By the early 2000s, total U.S. aid to Israel already exceeded $100 billion, as Richard H. Curtiss showed in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

In fact, no other country on Earth has year after year received so much more money from the U.S. than Israel, a country with only a few million people, has. In addition, Israel successfully sought the privilege of receiving "all of its annual foreign aid during the first month of each fiscal year, unlike other recipients who receive their aid in quarterly payments. The Israeli government therefore is able to invest its foreign aid in U.S. Treasury notes, thus realizing upwards" of so many more million dollars annually in interest, as Richard H. Curtiss showed.

This parasitic dependence has now reached a critical point when the U.S. has been suffering from the most serious protracted financial crisis in the last few years since the Great Depression and thus has to painfully engage in budgets cuts (including the most important defense cuts). In the first few years of the Obama administration, even Hillary Clinton, the then Secretary of State, asked Israel to voluntarily cut its foreign aid from the U.S. as a way to help the U.S. at this most difficult time of financial crisis in U.S. history, so as to show "gratitude" to America for what the latter has done for its survival over the last decades. But Israel refused to help the U.S. at this most difficult time. Clinton therefore pointedly reminded the Jewish state that even American citizens did not receive money from the U.S. government in the way that Israel has time and again received from the U.S. over the last decades. Instead, Israel even asked for more money from the U.S. for its national missile defense (NMD) systems and socio-economic programs. When the U.S. needs help at this most difficult financial time, Israel is not there to help but makes the problem worse by asking even more money. Is this how Israel shows its "gratitude" to the U.S.?

Even "within Israel,...a growing number of analysts...recognize[e]...that economic dependence on foreign sources creates problems" (such as the inefficient "government-provided mortgages to homeowners," "government subsidies to politically connected organizations, such as the kibbutzim, the Histadrut,...and the Kupat Cholim sick fund," "politicized, inefficient water-distribution system," and numerous other problems), as Bainerman wrote.

The most telling side of the harmful effect of this parasitic dependence of Israel on the U.S. resources is "Israel's failing welfare system and raging poverty rate" in our time, as Shir Hever in the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem and Beit-Sahour thus explained: "The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes...Israel [as] an image of a prosperous economy, a powerhouse of innovation," but "OECD statistics...show that Israel suffers from extreme level of inequality, its [segregated] education system is among the worst in the OECD, and its poverty is the highest compared to all OECD countries....Israel's overall tax income as a proportion of its GDP is higher than that of Chile, Mexico, and Turkey, for example, and is even higher than the weighted average of all OECD countries, but Israel's poverty rate is the highest compared to all of these countries." 

It is therefore not surprising that "Arnon Gafny, who served as governor of the Bank of Israel in 1976-1981, points out that foreign aid has caused Israel to suffer from what economists call the 'Dutch Disease,' a generous but temporary gift (such as oil or external aid) that brings short-term benefits but impairs a country's long-term competitiveness," as Bainerman wrote. 

(3) Evidence #3: Israel's Colonial Settlement against the U.S. Interests

The third evidence for Israel's betrayal of America has to do with Israel's colonial settlement against the U.S. wish, with damaging consequences to American national interests.

Over the years, the U.S. has time and again asked Israel to stop its colonial settlement in occupied territories that Israel annexed in its wars with the neighboring Arab states in the last few decades, since this has contributed to anti-American sentiment among many in the Arab world (and also in the rest of the world) that the U.S. is partially to blame due to its spoiled support of Israel.

Each time, Israel plays the "money card" by asking the U.S. for more money before it offers "concession" in regard to its colonial settlement in occupied territories, but each time, even after the money is given, Israel goes on to engage in colonial settlement in other parts of the occupied territories, so this long cycle (of a colonial settlement somewhere, a money request for concession, another colonial settlement somewhere else, another money request again for concession, and so on) continues, with no end in sight.

For instance, in 1999, the "newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak" wanted "to collect in advance an additional $1.2 billion in economic assistance promised by President Bill Clinton to former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for carrying out territorial withdrawals specified in the Wye agreement, signed in 1998," but "neither Netanyahu nor Barak had yet carried out the withdrawals," even after the U.S. administration at the time included "the payment in the fiscal year 2000 appropriation," as Richard H. Curtiss explained.

In fact, "even before the extras from the Pentagon and other federal budgets" were included, "the FY 00 appropriation" brought "the total of U.S. government grants and loans to Israel from 1949 through Oct. 31, 1999 to approximately $91,816,507,200....This is more than the total of U.S. aid to all of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean combined. Yet these countries had a combined total population of 1.142 billion people in mid-1999, while Israel claimed a total 1999 population of 6.1 million. This means that Israel, with a population smaller than that of Hong Kong, receives about one-third of U.S bilateral foreign aid world-wide," as Richard H. Curtiss wrote.   

Even John Kerry, the current U.S. Secretary of State, lost its patience and complained a few weeks ago (in 2014) that the colonial settlement by Israel constitutes a new "apartheid," which is simply unacceptable. But Israel, with the support of the Jewish lobby in the U.S., continues its "apartheid" policy.

And this has damaged American national interests abroad, as Richard H. Curtiss thus explained: "During the more than half a century that has elapsed since the creation of Israel on May 15, 1948, the U.S. has lost tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars as a result of the Arab economic boycott, and more as a result of the 1973 Arab political oil boycott that touched off a recession in the U.S. and the industrialized countries. There also are incalculable costs associated with the vastly increased security outlays for U.S. government installations at home and abroad necessitated as a result of U.S. support for Israel in its long-standing disputes with its Arab neighbors," and the current displeasure of the U.S. with Israel's colonial settlement is only another chapter of an endless cycle of the same old problem in the past few decades.

(4) Evidence #4: Israel's Pivot to China  

And the fourth evidence for Israel's betrayal of America has to do with Israel's pivot to China, the main rival to the U.S. dominance in the world.

For decades, Israel has enjoyed the unlimited access to the most advanced U.S. military technology and weapons (often in the form of military aid, which means that Israel often did not pay for them), but Israel has passed U.S. military technology to China.

For instance, only a few months ago, a U.S. investigation discovered that "secret U.S. missile and electro-optics technology was transferred to China...by Israel, prompting anger from the U.S.," and the U.S. investigation "concluded that technology, including a miniature refrigeration system manufactured by Ricor and used for missiles and in electro-optic equipment, was sent to China, according to the Israeli newspaper Maariv. Another Israeli news site, Aretz Sheva, reports the U.S. is concerned the technology could ultimately find its way to Iran, which last year sought to buy military equipment from China for its nuclear program," as reported by Bryant Jordan on December 24, 2013.

But this is not an isolated case, as "Israel has a long record of getting U.S. military technology to China. In the early 1990s then-CIA Director James Woolsey told a Senate Government Affairs Committee that Israel had been selling U.S. secrets to China for about a decade. More than 12 years ago the U.S. demanded Israel cancel a contract to supply China with Python III missiles, which included technology developed by the U.S. for its Sidewinder missiles, the Associated Press reported in 2002," as Jordan wrote.

In addition, it is widely known that the U.S. was also angered when "Israel violated agreements by exporting restricted US technology it buys with yearly US subsidies. This was the case with the largely US-funded Lavi fighter-plane program. Israel...passed on technology to Beijing. China's F-10 fighter jet is believed to be almost identical to the Lavi" -- and the reason is that "Israel's military industry is dependent on exports for its survival. And arms sales to China are among its most lucrative businesses,"  in a report by The Insider.

And now the International Comparison Programme in the World Bank had recently announced in 2014 that China is to surpass the U.S. as the world's largest economy by the end of this year (2014), as measured in terms of "the total GDP of the country as reflected in purchasing power parity" (PPP), and "both The Financial Times and The Economist" reported that "China would surpass the United States who has held the spot since 1890, the title being held by China before that," as Armand Holmes wrote on April 30, 2014.

With this strategic shift of the global balance of power in mind, Israel is already steadily changing its foreign policy direction by pivoting to Asia, especially in its relation to China (and to a lesser extent, India), in preparation for the steady decline of America on the world stage.

Already, in April, 2014, "Israeli President Shimon Peres arrived in Beijing...for a three-day state visit to China. Peres' trip was the first visit to China by an Israeli president since 2003, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a trip to China in May 2013. Netanyahu's visit itself was noteworthy, as it was the first such trip by an Israeli Prime Minister since 2007," as reported by Shannon Tiezzi for The Diplomat on April 09, 2014. 

In fact, Israel's Economic Ministry chief scientist, Avi Hasson, confirmed last year that "[China] was second last year after the United States in terms of joint projects between Israel and foreign firms," in a report by Forbes on May 26, 2014. The "$300 million research project focused on nanotechnologies"  between Tel Aviv University and Beijing's Tsinghua University in 2014 is a good example of this increasing trend, as reported by Ariel David for the Register-Guard on May 19, 2014. And "China...has surpassed Europe as the second leading source of high-tech capital [in Israel]. There are also growing calls in Israel to restart the arms trade with China, although currently U.S. pressure has prevented this from happening," as Shannon Tiezzi wrote.

Most importantly, "in an interview with Chinese press, Peres made clear Israel's admiration for China's ability to raise millions out of poverty without relying on foreign aid. Peres said that 'China can do a great service to the Middle East' by showing the region how to 'save itself, with its own hand, their own countries, not by dollars and not by Rubles, but [by] really mobilizing the people to come together.' This sentiment hints at one possible motivating factor in Israel's courting of China: a desire to balance against over-reliance on American aid and support," as Shannon Tiezzi wrote.

In the long haul, Israel aims to establish a sort of "Jewish lobby" in China, so as to maintain some influence on the next superpower -- just as it had done the same vis-a-vis America in the past few decades. To what extent this will be successful remains to be seen in future history, but the Chinese, if they are wise enough, have a lesson to learn from history, in that, if Israel has betrayed America (its main benefactor), it can likewise betray China in the future, when the situation arrives.

Conclusion

These four evidences for Israel's betrayal of America as explained above are illustrative, not exhaustive, of course. The important point to remember here is not that Israel has never done anything which benefits the U.S. (which is absurd, obviously), but that the American mainstream media have, more often than not, portrayed Israel's relation with America in a one-dimensional (propagandistic) perspective in its kowtow to the Jewish lobby. And one main consequence of this one-dimensional perspective is its damage to American national interests in the past few decades, because the American public remains uninformed (or more correctly, misinformed) about it.

As the old saying goes, only a fool will continue to do the same old thing which has damaged his own interests.

Peter Baofu

__________

An early version of this article was published by the Foreign Policy Journal on June 07, 2014. Dr. Peter Baofu is the author of 71 books and 75 new theories, all of which provide a visionary challenge to conventional wisdom in the social sciences, the formal sciences, the natural sciences, and the humanities, with the aim for a "unified theory of everything" -- together with numerous visions of the mind, nature, society, and culture in future history. For more info about his visions on the future of global affairs, see some of his 71 books titled "The Future of Post-Human War and Peace" (2010),  "Beyond the World of Titans, and the Remaking of World Order" (2007), "Beyond Civilization to Post-Civilization" (2006), "Beyond Capitalism to Post-Capitalism" (2005), "Beyond Democracy to Post-Democracy" (2004), "The Future of Capitalism and Democracy" (2002), the 2 volumes of "The Future of Human Civilization" (2000), and so on. 

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