I received an email from Rep. Mike Garcia touting his backing of a bill supporting Israel. In that message he states, “The emergency aid package we passed this week is fully paid for, and it’s designed to win the war — not tie.”
On its face, that sentence makes no sense.
First, the aid package is not fully paid for. Instead Garcia and his fellow House Republicans picked on their favorite bogeyman, the IRS. The bill would provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel to be funded by cutting the IRS budget by an offsetting amount.
What Garcia fails to consider is that reducing the IRS funding by $14.3 billion will result in fewer tax collections. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the resulting tax revenue loss to be $26.8 billion. So, instead of paying for the Israeli aid as Garcia states, the Republican plan nearly doubles the cost of providing such aid when the revenue loss is considered.
Second, Garcia claims the aid is “designed to win the war — not tie.” How does he define victory? The warfare in Gaza is yet another battle in a decades-long conflict that has no apparent resolution. Two million people are crammed into the tiny Gaza Strip. In reality, Gaza residents are placed in danger by Hamas, but local Palestinian social media persuasively blames their plight on Israel. This war is fertile ground for creating yet another generation of insurgent Palestinians who hate Israel and will do anything, even unspeakable acts of horror, to attack the Jewish state. Given that half the Palestinian population in Gaza is under the age of 20, that population is likely to double in the not so distant future, possibly rendering Israel’s current policies unsustainable. This does not look like a war that can be easily won by Israel — even with U.S. aid.
To be clear, Israel deserves the $14.3 billion of financial support, but we must find a cost-effective, transparent way of providing it. At some point, narratives that are not factually based begin to sound like propaganda, which the Oxford Dictionary defines as information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
Jim de Bree