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About one third of the entire US foreign aid budget is spent assisting Israel, to the tune of at least $7 billion a year. In the past ten years, direct military aid alone amounted to $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be $30 billion. Unlike aid given to other nations, aid to Israel is unrestricted by human rights conditions and paid in an annual lump sum.
More than $1.5 billion in private US funds also go to Israel every year, comprising some $1 billion in tax-deductible donations and around $500 million invested in Israeli bonds. The US treatment of Israel as a charity of tax-deductible status is not granted to any other state.
Among the major donors to the Israeli cause are US trade unions. Some 1,500 US labour bodies have ploughed at least $5 billion of union pension funds into Israeli bonds. The AFL-CIO affiliate pension funds alone have more than $300 million invested.
In their staunch support for Israel, US unions are now anomalous in the global labour movement. This is a product of the shameful history of US labour leaders walking lock step with the State Department, the Pentagon and US imperialism. In July 2007, top officials of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win issued a statement condemning British unions for even considering the nonviolent campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
Although US union activism for Palestine is increasing, as yet no labour bodies have opposed the Gaza massacres. This delights Jewish Labor Committee president Stuart Appelbaum, who recently boasted that ‘American [union] leadership is fundamental to challenging Israel bashing within the labour movement globally.’
It was not always this way. The US did not begin selling arms to Israel until 1962. The big shift came with Israel’s demonstration of military capacity – and the ability to tame Arab nationalism – in the 1967 war. Thereafter, aid increased by leaps and bounds.
Zionist hegemony in US politics has been forged by the intersection of various forces. Among them is an American-Israeli ideological affinity, including similar origin myths: ‘A land without people for a people without land.’ The pro-Israel lobby could never have succeeded if their lies about Palestine had not sounded so comforting to so many Americans.
Mike Marqusee is the author of If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew
Grace Blakeley investigates the curious case of Carillion: how the company’s slow decline and abrupt liquidation reveals the nature of modern capitalism.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns