Support for Israel is not good for America

Recently Iran attacked Israel with missiles and drones. President Biden pledged full U.S. support to defend Israel. But is it really in the national interests of the United States to unconditionally support and defend Israel?

Israel and Iran have been engaged in low level conflict for decades. The latest incident began when Israel bombed the Iranian embassy in Damascus on April 1, 2024. Iran responded on April 13th with a drone and missile attack on Israel. U.S. military forces in the region were ordered to defend Israel and helped shoot down most of the Iranian drones and missiles.

Mahatma Gandhi, the great advocate for non-violent conflict resolution, once said “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” This is exactly what is happening between Iran and Israel.

Despite being heavily involved in a war in Ukraine and in supplying Israel’s war on Palestinians in Gaza, our country immediately jumped into the military confrontation between Israel and Iran. This conflict could easily escalate into a broader war including Russia and the United States. Is defending Israel worth the risk of a war? Are we blind to what is really important for our people and for the people of the world?

There is little economic or demographic evidence that Israel is important to our nation or most Americans. Israel a small country about the size of New Jersey. Its population is only 9.8 million people and 21% of those people are Arabs and another 5.7% are of other ethnicity.

Only 2.4 % of the U.S. population is Jewish. Two thirds of U.S. Jews have European heritage. Immigration between Israel and the U.S. (both directions) is small and suggests there are few family connections between the two countries.

In 2022, exports to Israel were only 0.7% of total U.S. exports. Imports were also only 0.7% of the U.S. total.

For decades Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S military aid ($3 billion a year). The U.S. is Israel’s biggest source of military equipment and weapons. Between 2019 and 2023 the U.S supplied 69% or Israeli military imports.

The economic details suggest Israel is not important to the U.S. economy. But it is important to the economic interests of a few high-tech companies, Wall Street trading firms and the military industrial complex profiteers.

Support for Israel does not enhance our national security. In fact our support in the past has created problems and threatened our safety. Our support for Israel led to the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. Multiple times during the Cold War U.S. and Russian nuclear forces went on alert in response to Arab/Israeli wars. The 9/11 terrorist attacks were, in part, a result of U.S. support for Israel.

Today support for Israel’s war on Palestinians makes the U.S. less respected and more likely to be a target of terrorists. International polls say the U.S. is considered the greatest threat to world peace. Worldwide protests against our support for Israel show our “leadership” of the world is unpopular.

Former President Jimmy Carter has written, “The United States is squandering international prestige and goodwill and intensifying global anti-American terrorism by unofficially condoning or abetting the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories.”

Clearly unqualified support for Israel is not in our national interests nor is it important for our national security. Why do we ignore this obvious reality?