Is US support for Israel on the wane? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Is US support for Israel on the wane?

It’s being predicted that the U.S. budget for the year 2022 will be 753 billion dollars under the Joe Biden government. America is the country with the largest defense budget and, at the same time, the world’s biggest weapons exporter. Progressive Democrats however are adamantly demanding that this budget be significantly cut. This wing also objects to arms companies determining the trajectory of American politics. In former U.S. governments, including the Trump administration, many top figures at giant weapons firms were assigned to crucial positions, including at the Secretary of Defense. These giants poured billions into election campaigns, especially candidates whom they were in cahoots with, and also into their lobbying activities.

The Biden Administration is most certainly not exempt from this mechanism that advances the interests of the American Military Industrial Complex and is described as the "revolving door." Mark Esper, who served as Trump's Secretary of Defense, was previously a lobbyist for the arms company Rayhteon. Biden's Secretary of Defense, retired general Lloyd Austin, was also on the board of this company.

The Democratic Progressive wing is demanding that human rights be given maximum significance when U.S. arms are sold to overseas countries. However, the tables turn whenever Israel is in question. Both parties in the U.S. congress are in an alliance that defends Israel should be unconditionally supported. Few remain outside of this alliance. And these figures ipso facto become the target of the Israel Lobby. In recent years, especially new generation Democrats are questioning the “unconditional bi-partisan support for Israel.” The Progressive Democrats represent this faction.

The U.S. funds Israel with 3.8 billion dollars in military aid every year. It has been reported that within the last five decades, the U.S. has funneled about a quarter of a trillion dollars to Israel. Tel Aviv is also the U.S.’ most privileged weapons buyer. A large portion of the weapons Israel used to attack Gaza is U.S. supplied. In the latest attacks 254 Palestinians were killed, including 67 children and 39 women. U.S. President Biden, for his part, approved the sale of 735-million-dollar precision-guided missiles to Israel. Biden's decision on the sale was sent to the U.S. Congress in early May for review. Certain lawmakers of the progressive wing and Bernie Sanders attempted to block the sale on the grounds that these weapons were being used by Israel to attack Gaza.

The Biden cabinet is constantly stuck between the demands of the progressive wing, which is gaining strength, and its unconditional support for Tel Aviv. “Defense expenditures” and the “unconditional support American support for Israel” is the most concrete dispute within the Democrat Party. Analysts are drawing attention that the “Israel rift” within the Party has gained unprecedented significance.

The number of those who believe that the trillions of dollars poured into the hundreds of U.S. bases across the world, the “endless wars,” and Israel should be used for the urgent needs of the American public is skyrocketing. No doubt that this increase will in some way reflect on the U.S.’ foreign policy. In the primary elections, deputies from the Democrat Party’s Progressive wing were elected instead of the hard-boiled politicians who had been in the U.S. Congress for decades. Case in point, in the latest elections, Black American deputy Jamaal Bowman from the Progressive wing knocked out Eliot Engel, the notorious pro-Israeli lawmaker who has been a member of Congress for 32 years. Having served for long years, including chairing the Foreign Affairs Committee, Engel bid farewell to the Congress by describing his services to Israel.

Even though these attempts to block U.S. weapons sales to Israel do not seem feasible under the current conditions, these initiatives point to a strengthening trend. In a poll conducted in May, 53 percent of the electorate voting for Democrats are in favor of conditioning arms sales. On the other hand, 53 percent of Republican voters oppose blocking the sale. Only 51 percent of respondents support unconditional arms sales to Israel. These figures show that the “bipartisan unconditional support for Israel” has atrophied among American voters.



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