It’s time to end America’s blank check military aid to Israel

Graphic: Avi Katz / Forward
Ensuring that the United States does not help Israel arrest a child, demolish a home or imprison a people is just about the most Jewish thing we can possibly do.

By Peter Beinart | Forward | May 20, 2019

Israelis re-elected Netanyahu because he showed them he could undermine the two-state solution with international impunity. Indeed, he made that accomplishment a central theme of his campaign.

Last month, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared that American aid to Israel is “something that can be discussed” in Washington. Her comments made news precisely because America’s policy of giving Israel billions in aid without expecting any policy changes in return hasn’t actually been discussed — or at least questioned — in either party in more than a quarter-century. That needs to change.

To understand why, ask yourself this question: Why did Israelis last month re-elect a prime minister who opposes a Palestinian state and — by championing settlement growth and vowing to annex parts of the West Bank — is working to make one impossible?

There are several common answers. One is historical: Over the last two decades the second intifada and rocket fire from the Gaza Strip have created an enduring right-wing majority among Israeli Jews. A second answer is demographic: Netanyahu’s center-left rivals lean heavily on the votes of secular Ashkenazi Jews, whose share of the Israeli population is shrinking. Netanyahu relies more on Orthodox Jews, whose share is rising.

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