US Pledges $3.3 Billion in Military Aid to Israel, but Cuts Humanitarian Aid to Palestinians

(MEMO— The US House of Representatives passed two separate Israel related bills this week, endorsing what is being described as the largest aid package in American history and the appointment of an international tsar to monitor anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel worldwide.

The military aid package of $3.3 billion will be delivered to Israel over the next year. This figure is likely to increase by an additional $550 million as a result of Congress passing a $716 billion defence bill. A further $1 billion has been set aside for the US weapons stockpiles in Israel, which Israel taps into during escalations of violence against the Palestinians and Lebanon. In 2016, the US agreed to give Israel $38 billion in military aid over 10 years.

The bill passed under the cover of a media blackout and at the same time that President Donald Trump pulled humanitarian aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which provides basic provisions for over five million Palestinian refugees.

In August, the bill officially called the “United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018” passed a Senate vote. Representing what is believed to be the single largest military aid package in American history, according to Mintpress the astronomical sum translates into $23,000 for every Jewish family living in Israel.

In addition to the massive amount that the new legislation promises to the Israeli military, the bill will also mandate NASA to cooperate closely with the Israel Space Agency. The decision has been described as very unusual in light of the Israel’s history of espionage targeting NASA.

The second bill passed by Congress has also been largely overlooked by the media. It calls for a special government envoy to be tasked with monitoring anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel worldwide.

According to the text of the bill –the “Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2017” – the postholder would “serve as the primary advisor to, and coordinate efforts across, the United States government relating to monitoring and combating anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement that occur in foreign countries.” The envoy is expected to be given the rank of an ambassador.

Opponents of the bill have pointed to the problematic nature of it citing the Congress adoption of a definition of anti-Semitism that equates criticism of Israel with racism. It’s feared that the new appointee will clamp down on domestic and international criticism of the Israeli government in a clear attack on free speech.

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This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.

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  • David Pellham

    In June, 1967, jet aircraft and motor torpedo boats of Israel brutally assaulted an American naval vessel, USS Liberty, in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea. The attack was preceded by more than six hours of intense low-level surveillance by Israeli photo-reconnaissance aircraft, which buzzed the intelligence ship thirteen times, sometimes flying as low as 200 feet directly overhead. The reconnaissance pilots were heard by intercept operators in Germany and by American airborne intercept operators reporting to their headquarters that they could see an American flag and men sunbathing on deck.

    The carefully orchestrated assault that followed was initiated by high-performance jet aircraft, was followed up by slower and more maneuverable jets carrying napalm, and was finally turned over to lethal torpedo boats which fired five torpedoes. Four missed. The one torpedo that hit the ship blasted a forty-foot hole in the ship’s side.

    The attack lasted more than two hours — killing 34 Americans and wounding 174 others — and inflicted 821 rocket and machine-gun holes. And when the Liberty stubbornly remained afloat despite her damage, Israeli forces machine-gunned her life rafts and sent troop-carrying helicopters in to finish the job. US Air Force intercept operators heard Israeli jets being vectored to “the American ship” which they were ordered to sink quickly. Those who have seen these transcripts insist that they leave no doubt that the Israelis knew they were attacking an American ship.

    Before USS Liberty arrived in the area, U.S. Sixth Fleet Commander Admiral William Martin promised to provide air support within ten minutes if an emergency arose. Yet when the ship did come under attack, the White House blocked any air rescue for more than 90 minutes. Officers on the bridge of the aircraft carrier Saratoga heard Liberty’s radio operators calling for help while bombs burst in the background, but were forbidden to help. When Navy jet aircraft were finally authorized to come to the ship’s aid, the Israeli government suddenly ended the attack and withdrew, claiming that they had mistaken the ship for an Egyptian horse transport named El Quseir. Only then did the identity of the assailants become known.

    Details of the attack were hushed up in both countries. Israel claimed that her forces mistook USS Liberty for an Egyptian ship, and our government publicly accepted that excuse despite evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, in top secret diplomatic mail, US Secretary of State Dean Rusk accused the Israelis of demonstrating “blatant disregard for human life” and said that the attack was no accident. Then our government downplayed the intensity of the surveillance and the severity of the attack and imposed a news blackout to keep the official story under control. The official version is that the Liberty was reconnoitered only three times and then only from great distance. The American people were told that the air attack lasted only five minutes and that it was followed by a single torpedo and an immediate apology and offer of assistance.

    The story has continued to fester for forty years. During that time numerous senior members of the Lyndon Johnson administration, in office at the time, have come forward to say that they attack was no accident. These include former Secretary of State Dean Rusk; former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Tom Moorer; former NSA chief General Marshall Carter and his deputy, Dr. Lou Tordella; former White House Press Secretary George Christian; former US Ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter who heard some of the radio conversations at the time, and others. Two former Israeli military officers have come forward to tell their inside stories confirming survivors’ charges that the attack was no accident. Despite these reports, and despite charges by survivors that the official Israeli story is untrue, Congress refuses to conduct a public investigation. The attack on the USS Liberty remains the only major maritime incident in all US history that has not been publicly investigated by the United States Congress.

    Assault on the Liberty was published in six hard cover editions by Random House, in one paperback edition by the Ivy Books division of Ballantine, and in one overseas Arabic language edition by the Language Management Corporation of Nicosia, Cyprus. More than 100,000 copies have been sold. It has been reprinted three times by Signature Book Printing Company of Gaithersburg, Maryland, for Reintree Press with a new addendum that updates the story. War Crimes Committed Against U.S. Military Personnel, June 8, 1967