Tuesday June 18, 2013
Will Congress Fund Iron Dome Over Head Start?Dr. James M. Wall Salem-News.com
The Iron Dome is a military project designed to make Israel invulnerable to air attacks.
(CHICAGO) - More than 13,000 delegates to the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) descended on Washington this week.
AIPAC, a lobby organization with no equal in American politics, had assembled its usual list of high-profile political leaders to address the delegates.
US President Barak Obama was not among the speakers. He had a good excuse. The president is up to his neck in what Washington calls,”sequestration”, a federal budget agreement that will bring pain to American citizens.
AIPAC does not want that pain to involve anything related to Israel’s “security”.
And so it came to pass that two pro-Israel Florida lawmakers — Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (shown above), a Republican, and Ted Deutch, a Democrat–introduced a bill in the House of Representatives just in time for delegates to deliver copies of the bill to congressional offices during AIPAC’s Washington lobby week.
The Ros-Lehtnen/Deutch bill, if passed, would designate Israel as a “major strategic ally,” a one-of-a-kind label. JTC, a Jewish news agency, explains:
AIPAC lobbyists were not the only messengers visiting congressional offices this week. Advocates for US groups certain to feel the pain of the spending cuts were described by Anna Simonton in a blog posting for Waging Non-Violence:
Head Start is “a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development”. It has a proven track record of support for preschool children.
The Iron Dome is a military project designed to make Israel invulnerable to air attacks. It is touted as highly successful. Richard Silverstein begs to differ in his posting, ”Iron Dome System Failed Miserably”.
Anna Simonton writes that the Ros-Lehtinen/Deutch bill, which names Israel as a “major strategic ally” of the United States, would be “a designation bereft of actual legal meaning, but powerful in that it could distinguish Israel from all other recipients of foreign aid and thereby spare it the chopping block. Israel receives upwards of $3 billion of American taxpayers’ money every year, more than any other country except Afghanistan.”
End the Occupation and CodePink are part of a coalition of groups that organized Expose AIPAC, an umbrella organization which conducted a series of events, prior to, and during, the AIPAC conference, starting with a day of workshops on Saturday which concluded with a keynote address by Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and writer for The Nation.
Other speakers at Expose AIPAC included Palestinian human-rights lawyer Jonathan Kuttab and Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy.
Josh Ruebner, writing for The Hill web site, quotes a NAACP estimate that predicts some of the specific impacts on government programs designed to benefit Americans who are most in need:
Across-the-board sequestration cuts, according to NAACP predictions,
The Jerusalem Post describes how the sequestration budget cuts are seen from Tel Aviv:
AIPAC’s message to Congress, according to the Post, includes “a push to provide Israel with its full $3.1 billion in military aid for 2013 and 2014, as well as $211m. in additional funding for the Iron Dome missile-defense system.”
The proposed House bill which would designate Israel as a “major strategic ally”, elevates the “new alliance” to a status intended to help Israel retain its promised financial aid.
AIPAC’s campaign in Congress calls for:
The Post acknowledges that there may be consequences within the American public “that attempts to exempt Israel from painful budget cuts while the rest of the US was forced to absorb them would cause a political backlash.”
In his examination of how the cuts on each side of the Atlantic will impact American voters, Josh Reubnen adds:
But will it?
Is the US Congress so beholden to AIPAC and so insensitive to the impact on programs like Head Start for children, that it will give Israel’s self-designated “defensive needs” priority over US domestic needs?
Thanks to End the Occupation and Code Pink, the American voters have an easy-to-understand marching order for their congressional representatives: “If you aren’t saving Head Start, don’t save Iron Dome.”
Please visit James Wall's Website, Wall Writings
Journalism was Jim Wall’s undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. An ordained United Methodist clergy person; he and his wife, Mary Eleanor, are the parents of three sons, and the grandparents of four grandchildren. They live in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. While serving with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years, starting in 1972. Time magazine wrote about the new editor, who arrived at the Christian Century determined to turn the magazine into a hard-hitting news publication. The inspiration for Wall Writings comes from that mindset and from many other sources that have influenced Jim’s writings over the years, including politics, cinema, media, American culture, and the political struggles in the Middle East. Jim has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. You can write to Jim Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Jim's Website: Wall Writings
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