51. Don't be duped by loan plan

It seems that the campaign for the $10 billion loan guarantee for Israel has started. The September 6 letter [50] by Gisele Weiss and Helena Galperin of the National Council of Jewish Women is a sample of what we will be bombarded with in the weeks to come: half-truths, in other words, half-lies also.

For example, they write: "This year, for the first time in Israeli history, Israel's defense needs will not be her biggest expenditure -- absorption will." But, they failed to mention that the Israeli cabinet "approved a budget for 1992 that would increase defense spending slightly, but cut everything else," according to a dispatch printed in Gannett Suburban Newspapers on September 4.

A little bit further, they write: "Israel may ask the U.S. government to guarantee or co-sign a loan package. This is not a grant or loan from the U.S. Treasury." First, notice the "may ask." Second, readers should not be duped. The guarantor or the co-signer is as responsible for the loan as its recipient. If Israel defaults, the U.S. taxpayers will have to pay principal, interests and administrative costs, the total of which is conservatively estimated at $112 billion. Defaulting is very much in the cards since the Export-Import Bank, which is a U.S. government agency, gives the Israeli economy a "D" rating.

Finally, they write: "The National Council of Jewish Women supports the absorption loan guarantee" to Israel. How about supporting for a change our fellow Americans who are jobless and homeless?

September 13, 1991