103. Aid to Israel costly

If I say that Arthur Canal's letter of June 30 [102] is full of half-truths I would be doing him a favor. His letter is an example of how disinformation works, a technique that Israel's supporters regularly use after having developed it to near perfection.

Arthur Canal claims that 80 percent of American aid, $2.4 out of $3 billion, "is spent in the United States. That means jobs for Americans." The real story is this. On-budget aid to Israel is made up of two parts: $1.2 billion in economic grants, mainly used to pay what Israel owes uncle Sam. That means no job for Americans; and $1.8 billion of military grants, 25 percent of which, according to the General Accounting Office, is spent in Israel, which means that Israel is using only $1.35 billion of the total grants, or just 45 percent (not 80 percent), to buy essentially American weapons. Furthermore, Mr. Canal seems to assume that since Israel is spending American money in America the cost to the U.S. taxpayer is nothing. This is absurd. It is like saying a merchant loses nothing by giving away the store's merchandise rather than selling it to his customers. If Mr. Canal thinks that American aid to Israel means jobs for Americans, instead of $3 billion a year, Israel should be given $3 billion a month.

This is just the story of the American aid incorporated in the budget. Off-budget aid to Israel is another story altogether

July 15, 1993