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by BAR staff

Letters to the editor

Applauds Omar's stance
Letter-writer Joseph Barrett calls Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) a "fraud and a hypocrite" for not condemning the Palestine Authority's ban on some LGBT activities, and "hold[s] her accountable for her myopic fixation on Israel at the expense of all other human rights violators across the world" [Mailstrom, August 22]. But Israel is very much her business, in a way the Palestinian Authority and most other countries aren't. Israel, with per capita income of over $41,000, is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, over $3 billion a year, and holds another $3.8 billion in U.S. loan guarantees (promises to repay debt if Israel defaults). The next largest aid recipient, Egypt, with per capita income of $2,573, receives $1.4 billion, less than half what Israel does. "Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel receiving benefits not readily available to other countries," states Wikipedia.

This U.S. aid is almost all used for military purposes, including policing and assaulting Palestinians; it also goes toward juicy contracts with U.S. firms like Boeing. In return, Israel has served not only as America's off-shore base in the Middle East, but also as its deputy around the globe in projects with which the U.S. didn't want to be identified, like training Guatemalan death squads or developing nukes for apartheid South Africa. Israel carries clout in domestic politics, too, through the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and other lobbying groups, which squelch criticism and oust former representatives like Paul Findley or Cynthia McKinney who criticize. I applaud Omar's brave stand. Not she but Israel needs to be held accountable, since, as she once said, it's all about the Benjamins, and Israel gets more of ours than any other land.

Jay Lyon
San Francisco

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