Place conditions on annual gift of $3.8 billion in U.S. aid to Israel

Letter

~ The following letter was sent to U.S. Rep. Ben Cline (R-6th Dist.) and then submitted to PVN for publication

Dear Representative Cline,

I write to you as the congressional representative for Page County.

In my letter asking you NOT to vote for S. 3176 — the US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020 — you responded: Israel is one of our greatest allies, and because it is the sole democracy in the Middle East, our friendship with the nation is of great strategic importance.”

I beg to differ.

First of all, Israel is not the only “democracy” in the Middle East. Tunisia, which forms part of the Middle East, is also a democracy. And, your suggestion that Israel is a strategic U.S. asset is not a serious argument.

Second, I believe that Israel is not a “democracy” that has similar values with those of the U.S. In 2018, Israel passed the undemocratic “nation-state law that stipulates “the right to exercise national self-determination is unique to the Jewish people.” Said in another way, Israel is a Jewish state that privileges only Jews. 

Third, Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is sharply at odds with U.S. values.  Israel commits human rights abuses against Palestinians living under its 50-plus year military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. These include injuring and killing Palestinians, detaining and abusing children, demolishing homes, uprooting agriculture, and denying freedom of movement and expression.

Finally, which brings me to the point of this letter, U.S. taxpayers give Israel $3.8 billion in military aid each year — of which Virginia taxpayers contribute $107,232,005. And, of that amount, taxpayers in Page County contribute $103,897. With that money, we could have funded one elementary teacher, provided 69 children with food assistance programs, awarded 18 students Pell Grants, provided healthcare for 44 children, and funded one clean energy job.

In order to make things right, I urge you to support legislation that places conditions on aid to Israel to ensure that the taxpayers are on the right side of history.

Jeanne Trabulsi ~ Front Royal, Va.

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