Biden and Congress – Ask the American People Before You Impose a Genocide Tax for Prosperous Israel
By Ralph Nader
November 1, 2023
Dear Congressional Leaders Sen. Schumer, Rep. Johnson, Sen. McConnell and Rep. Jeffries:
We strongly urge Congress to hold public hearings, with testimony from a broad range of witnesses, before voting on President Biden’s request for an additional $14.3 billion in military funding to further subsidize Israel’s overwhelming military superiority over Hamas in the war that erupted on October 7, 2023.
We believe these questions, among others, should be examined:
1. Why should American taxpayers pay for Israeli military spending incurred because of its stupendous intelligence failure and ongoing genocidal war?
2. Does Israel need the additional aid since the United States already provides Israel $3-4 billion annually and statutorily guarantees it “a qualitative military advantage” over its neighbors?
3. Can the United States afford the $14.3 billion in additional spending with a national debt soaring past $33 trillion, and annual trillion-dollar budget deficits?
4. Israel is among the top 20 global economies in terms of GDP per capita. Could the $14.3 billion be better spent on assisting the world’s 71 million impoverished internally displaced refugees, many created by undeclared, lawless, U.S. wars?
5. Would the military subsidies make the United States even more of a co-belligerent with Israel in a war against Hamas and, under international law, legally responsible for war crimes or genocide?
6. Should the additional $14.3 billion in deficit or unpaid-for funding be conditioned on Israel’s compliance with the laws of war and the Genocide Convention as certified under oath by the President, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense with an accompanying written explanation? All of these officials have urged the Israeli government to “comply with the laws of war.”
7. How did the Biden Administration come up with the outsized figure of $14.3 billion for a prosperous economic, technological, and military superpower having a greater social safety net for its people than the United States?
Asking the American people for their advice on sending $14.3 billion to Israel for its acknowledged, defense blunders is not difficult. Conservative Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie polled 49,000 people from his impoverished state. They registered overwhelming opposition to sending these billions of dollars for Israel’s daily slaughter of the civilians in Gaza, nearly half of whom are children.
Disaster is courted when the United States races to begin or join military conflicts without measured, sober second thoughts born of hearings and debates that entertain diverse views. The House held no hearings on the ill-fated Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964 which expanded the Vietnam War. The Resolution passed unanimously with but 40 minutes of debate. Senate action was only modestly less rash in voting 98-2 to open the gates to a trillion-dollar military disaster.
Congress never inquired whether the Executive Branch’s dubious Domino Theory was fantasy. Indeed, Vietnam today is an ally of the United States.
Congress held no hearings before approving the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) with but one dissenting vote, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). After spending more than $2 trillion fighting the Taliban over 20 years, the United States de facto conceded defeat in 2021 with an even more militant version of the Taliban now in power in Afghanistan.
Such hearings will not place Israel in jeopardy. Hamas is no existential threat. And all the world can see Israel pulverizing Gaza daily, including its civilian population, half of whom are children, with brutal air and land attacks on critical civilian infrastructure.
Ralph Nader, Esq.
Bruce Fein, Esq.