Speaking on February 13, 2012 to students at Northern Virginia Community College to unveil his FY 2013 budget, President Barack Obama was in his best cinch-the-belt, austerity mode. He told the students that he had to make “some difficult cuts that, frankly, I wouldn’t normally make if they weren’t absolutely necessary. But they are.” He added that “the truth is that we’re going to have to make some tough choices in order to get this country back on a more sustainable fiscal course.”
As it turns out. Israel is exempted from this austerity straight jacket, even though according to the International Monetary Fund, Israel is the 28th. wealthiest country in the world. Obama proposes to increase military aid to Israel from the $3.075 billion in FY 2012 to $3.1 billion in FY 2013. From 2000 to 2009, the United States provided Israel with $24 billion of military aid. Israel has made use of these weapons, in violation of U.S. law, to commit grave and systematic human rights abuses against Palestinians. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem says that from 2000 to 2009, Israel killed 2,969 Palestinians “who did not take part in the hostilities and were killed by Israeli security forces (not including the objects of targeted killings).”
While continuing to send billions of dollars to Israel, President Obama has made many cuts in domestic programming, highlighted by the proposed cuts of $360 billion to Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs over the next ten years. Not that we are among the world’s leaders in health care: the World Health Organization rates the United States’ health care system 37th. in performance.
It seems that if President Obama has had to make cuts that he wouldn’t “normally” make, but that were “absolutely necessary,” he should at least have put Israel on a lighter military diet.