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'Israel: Economic Ward of U.S.'

August 04, 1987

After avidly reading Gibson's lengthy piece, I am left with the feeling that the writer sat down with a premise in mind, and then manipulated the facts to support the premise. I have every confidence that the bare statistics Gibson cites can be verified. However, the conclusion reached by the use of the statistics is so biased, that the numbers become irrelevant.

Gibson states that "Jerusalem is far and away the world's leading recipient of American assistance." How does he square this statement with the hundreds of billions of dollars in American aid given to Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Greece, Spain, Turkey, etc., buried in the Pentagon's annual defense budget? The American taxpayer pays billions of dollars annually to these host countries for the privilege of building and maintaining, at our expense, entire cities, (euphemistically referred to as military bases), to protect these countries. These dollars, together with the fact that the U.S. underwrites significant amounts of the defense costs for these countries, has enabled Germany and Japan especially, to utilize money which they would otherwise need to spend on their own defenses, to develop high technology industries which compete with American industries. If the U.S. were to build military bases in Israel, comparable to the bases in Germany and Japan, and pay for the bases and services as we do in other countries, all neatly buried in the defense budget, the amount of aid to Israel, which Gibson decries, would become infinitesimal!

As always in newspaper articles berating Israel, Gibson drags out the old canard about Jewish organizations lobbying on Israel's behalf, as if there were something sinister in such support. Apparently Gibson forgets that as Americans, we Jews are constitutionally entitled to present our views to our elected representatives, as do other groups. From Gibson's article, it would appear that only Israel has a lobby working on her behalf. I urge Gibson to also critically review the equally legitimate efforts of the Saudi Arabian lobby, the Japanese automobile lobby, the Greek-American lobby, the Turkish lobby, the German lobby, the Irish lobby, etc.

Finally, the most important justification for continuing America's generous aid to Israel, even ignoring the fact that Israel is the only country in the entire Middle East which shares our democratic values and ethics, is the pragmatic statement, attributed by Gibson to a Pentagon spokesman, that "Israel provides a place in the Middle East where we can fly our planes in, on overnight notice if we have to, and have a safe base to operate from."

ALBERT SAFIANOFF

Rancho Palos Verdes

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