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May 11, 2001
An incredible editorial: Help Israel Grow Up



The following incredible editorial appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune on May 6. Letters to the Editor can be emailed to letters@sltrib.com

Don't forget to include your full name, address and phone number if you send a letter.

Thanks to Hussein Ibish for bringing this to my attention.

Ali Abunimah

The Salt Lake Tribune
Help Israel Grow Up


Sunday, May 6, 2001

Israel and the United States have a relationship that is familiar to many dysfunctional families. America assumes a paternal air, and Israel is happy to take on the role of child once a year when Dad pulls out his wallet. Once the kid socks away a few billion in foreign aid, however, he has little patience for Dad's advice. "Don't tell me who to associate with," the kid demands when U.S. officials try to dissuade Israel from selling missiles to China. "I'm an independent nation." What's a parent to do? For starters, Dad should cut off the allowance. It makes no more sense to hand over greenbacks to an ungrateful nation than it does to support an incorrigible 18-year-old. A capable offspring who continually makes decisions than run contrary to the best interests of the family should be out on his own. America should have shown Israel the door years ago. It isn't as if Israel really needed America's money. The country has a well-developed defense industry, and its arms are in high demand around the world. And it isn't as if U.S. aid has purchased much in the way of Israeli cooperation. In direct opposition to the wishes of U.S. leaders, Israel sold China the Python-4 missiles that are used by Chinese fighter jets -- including the one that collided with a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft last month. What's worse, the Israeli weapons industry that America indirectly supports with its annual multibillion-dollar gifts is in direct competition with U.S. suppliers. Israel's new Derby air-to-air missile, which it will showcase next month at the Paris Air Show, is aimed at the same market courted by U.S. manufacturers of the AIM-20 missile. The two countries are also competing for a $250 million contract to sell anti-tank missiles to the Netherlands, which could determine who wins multimillion-dollar deals with the other NATO countries. No country really has a right to tell an independent nation not to shop its arms to dictators, bulldoze Palestinian houses or expand Jewish settlements on disputed land. But a nation so firmly attached to the great udder in Washington is not really independent, and it should listen to the people controlling the tap. Since Israel won't, Washington should cut off the money. It's what any good parent would do.