Some hypocritical posturing over Israel aid


Now that’s some chutzpah. Two House Republicans who voted against the foreign aid bill earlier this month are now circulating a letter to President Obama expresing "deep concerns in light of recent press accounts suggesting that foreign assistance to Israel may be in danger."

The National Jewish Democratic Council has posted the letter to Obama (and an accompanying "Dear Colleague" letter) from Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), two of 97 Republicans who voted against the foreign aid bill — which included $2.2 billion of the total of $2.775 billion in military aid that Israel will receive in the 2010 fiscal year.

In addition to the hypocrisy, though, the letter also incorrectly cites a Jerusalem Post article as claiming that "in a meeting between defense officials and the Israeli government, Pentagon officials reportedly ‘discussed the possibility that the U.S. would cut the FMF (foreign military financing) due to the political tension between the countries or because of the global financial crisis.’ "

The article doesn’t say that at all. Here’s what the article actually says:

On Tuesday night, senior Defense Ministry and IDF officers gathered in Tel Aviv for a discussion on US-Israeli relations, during which they discussed new Pentagon regulations regarding the way Israel can use the almost $3 billion in military aid it receives from the US.

According to defense officials, the Pentagon informed the Defense Ministry that the foreign military financing (FMF) needed to be used strictly for weaponry and defense-related projects. In past years the Pentagon had made exceptions and allowed the IDF to purchase nonessential items such as covers for trucks, uniforms and even food for soldiers.

During the discussion, the officials also discussed the possibility that the US would cut the FMF due to the political tension between the countries or because of the global financial crisis.

The Post is actually reporting that Israeli Defense Ministry and IDF officials discussed amongst themselves the possibility of an aid cut. All the Pentagon did was tell Israel that there was a change in how it could use the aid it was getting, and never mentioned any possibility of a cut.

Oh, and the letter also notes a statement last Tuesday by a State Department spokesman that talk of possible financial sanctions on Israel was "premature." That is a correct quote, but the following day another spokesman clarified that remark, stating that "we are not contemplating such action."

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