Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

The Obameter

Provide $30 billion over 10 years to Israel


"Implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade -- investments to Israel's security that will not be tied to any other nation."


Updates

Administration is keeping to terms of agreement

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to "implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade -- investments to Israel's security that will not be tied to any other nation."

In August 2007, the Bush administration signed a "memorandum of understanding" that outlined a 10-year framework for U.S. military assistance to Israel, according to the Congressional Research Service. It calls for incremental yearly increases in foreign military financing to Israel, with $3 billion allocated by fiscal year 2011.

Funding under the memorandum "has been fully provided in the prior fiscal years and in 2012 appropriations,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of J Street, a liberal group active on issued related to Israel.

Specifically, Congress approved $3.075 billion in security assistance for Israel as part of a larger spending package for fiscal year 2012, according to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. That marks the fourth consecutive year the memorandum"s terms have been met, AIPAC said.

It"s premature to say that the succeeding six years of the memorandum"s terms will be met. But so far, Obama has followed the lead of President George W. Bush and stuck to the terms of the funding agreement. As the 2012 elections approach, there"s no evidence that this is anything but a Promise Kept.

Sources:

Congressional Research Service, "U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel," Sept. 16, 2010

State Department, "Congressional Budget Justification: Foreign Assistance (Summary Tables, fiscal year 2012), accessed Jan. 31, 2012

American Israel Political Action Committee, "Support Security Assistance for Israel,” accessed Jan. 31, 2012

PolitiFact, "Barack Obama campaign says Romney, Perry, Gingrich would cut aid to Israel to zero," Jan. 11, 2012

E-mail interview with Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of J Street, Jan. 31, 2012

E-mail interview with David Streeter, spokesman for the National Jewish Democratic Council, Jan. 31, 2012

Funding on track in Obama's first year

A Memorandum of Understanding to provide $30 billion in security assistance to Israel over a decade was actually signed in 2007 under the Bush administration. The agreement called for a first-year installment of $2.55 billion in fiscal year 2009 (which was met), with aid increasing on a sliding scale for several years, averaging $3 billion a year over the 10-year term.

As a candidate, Barack Obama pledged to honor that commitment. And so far, he has.

The Obama administration's proposed 2010 budget included the $2.78 billion in military aid to Israel that was called for in the second year of the plan.

On July 9, 2009, the House voted 318-106 in favor of the the fiscal year 2010 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, which included $2.22 billion for Israel. Combined with $555 million of a funding from a supplemental appropriations bill to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that brought the total up to the $2.78 billion in the president"s request.

This is a long-term promise, and Obama is just in his first year as president, but he stuck to the pledge even amid tensions over his call earlier this year for the Israeli government to freeze settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a precondition for peace talks, as well as amid protests from some antiwar groups. We move this promise to In the Works.

Sources:

New York Times, "Israel to Get $30 Billion in Military Aid From U.S.," by Steven Erlanger, Aug. 17, 2007

House Committee on Appropriations Web site, Summary: 2010 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations

American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, Boost in U.S. Aid to Israel Vital Amid Increasing Threats

Web site of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

Business Intelligence Middle East Web site, "Nearly 40 US national organisations call for an end to Israel's military aid," June 17, 2009

E-mail interview with Shmuel Rosner, ediktor and columnist for the Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2009