Caroline Glick, one of the most staunch pro-Israel voices in the media, has written a column arguing that Israel should stop taking U.S. military aid because it has corrupted the leadership and policy choices of her country.
U.S. aid to Israel is about roughly $3 billion per year, as part of security guarantees made by President Jimmy Carter to Israel in return for its withdrawal from the Sinai Desert as part of the peace process with Egypt.
Much of that aid is actually spent in the United States, on procurement from U.S. defense contractors. While anti-Israel voices routinely argue that aid should be cut, pro-Israel advocates defend it as part of the alliance.
Glick, writing in the Jewish online magazine Tablet, lays out a series of arguments in favor of dropping the aid, which she says that Israel can do without, and which she argues is distorting the priorities of Israel’s military.
But there are good reasons for the IDF to oppose U.S. aid. The first is the uncertainty of procurement. When Israel jointly developed its Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems with the U.S., Washington insisted the missile production lines be located in the U.S., not Israel. The position raised few concerns at the time. But during Israel’s miniwar with Hamas in 2021, anti-Israel, progressive lawmakers sought to block supplemental orders.
There is also the problem of U.S. weapons themselves. While the U.S. remains the most powerful force in the world, its technological advantage over Russia and China is no longer as clear-cut today as it was in the past. With both countries increasingly active in the Middle East arms sales market, their rising prowess casts a pall on the U.S.’s ability to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge. Israel has little interest or ability to purchase Russian or Chinese systems. But Israel has a profound interest in developing its own systems and expanding its productive capacity in partnership with outside partners including but not limited to the U.S., India, South Korea, and Japan.
Another reason the IDF might have been expected to question the desirability of continued dependence on U.S. aid is because it comes attached to strategic goals which, while perhaps reasonable for the U.S., are often bad for Israel. The U.S.’s strategic goal in the Middle East is to avoid a war. Israel’s goal is to achieve security.
In expanding on the latter point, Glick writes that while last year’s gas deal with Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon was bad for Israel, it was pushed by President Joe Biden’s administration, leading Israel’s military to acquiesce.
Likewise, she writes, the Israeli military leadership is uneasy about opposing Biden’s push for a new Iran deal, even though it threatens Israel’s existence, because of a that Israel relies heavily on U.S. military assistance.
She also points out that Israel’s reliance on the U.S. for weapons gives unfriendly governments undue leverage, as when the Obama administration tried to stop selling Israel missiles during the 2014 war against Hamas.
Glick notes important examples of U.S.-Israel defense cooperation, such as the Iron Dome missile defense system. But by accepting U.S. aid, she notes, Israel agreed to depend on production in the U.S., limiting itself.
Her arguments emerge at a time when the Biden administration has sought to marginalize Israel and intervene in its domestic politics — something that would be less of a factor without Israel’s reliance on U.S. military aid.
Glick’s arguments parallel those of pro-Israel libertarians in the U.S. who argue that military aid tends to support defense industry interests that lobby to retain it, regardless of whether it makes sense for Israel.
Instead of being a client state vulnerable to changes in U.S. leadership, Glick writes, Israel needs to move the relationship to that of a “strategic partnership” that preserves the alliance and boosts Israeli independence.
Read Glick’s full article, “Time to Stop Toeing the Line,” at Tablet, here.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.