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Sol Stern

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Michael Santomauro February 28, 2011 at 8:36 AM
Dear Mr. Sol Stern:

Israel has been the BIGGEST welfare state in the history of humanity!

Using the year 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $3 trillion in 2002 dollars (PRESENT VALUE SCALE). If divided by today's population, that is more than $11,400 per American citizen that has sent his money to Israel in taxes. This is an amount almost four times greater than the cost of the Vietnam war, also in 2002 dollars.

Israel has never been self-supporting. It has always required massive subsidies from the outside - above all from the United States. In addition, Germany and other European states and companies have paid out many billions in "restitution," and wealthy Jewish communities, especially in the US, have provided tax-deductable substantial financial assistance-"a net drain" on the USA economy.

--US Jewish charities and organizations have remitted grants or bought Israel bonds worth $60 billion. Though private in origin, the money is "a net drain" on the United States economy.

--US help, financial and technical, has enabled Israel to become a major weapons supplier. Weapons make up almost half of Israel's manufactured exports. US defense contractors often resent the buy-Israel requirements and the extra competition subsidized by US taxpayers.

-- US policy and trade sanctions reduce US exports to the Middle East about $5 billion a year, costing 70,000 or so American jobs. Not requiring Israel to use its US aid to buy American goods, as is usual in foreign aid, costs another 125,000 jobs.

Israel was founded on terrorism, massacres, ethnic cleansing and the dispossession of its native Palestinian population. Even now it violates international law, inflicts a harsh collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza, and continues to deny Palestinians their human and national rights. In accord with its Jewish supremacist ideology, Israel's discrimination against non-Jews is systematic and institutional. It is the only country in the region that occupies territory of its neighbors, that refuses to define its borders, and which possesses a large and illegal arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Even as a Jewish sanctuary, Israel cannot be regarded as a success. Jews are less safe and secure in Israel than almost anywhere else in the world. The great majority of Jews in the world have preferred not to live in "their" country.

Around the world, including the United States, loathing of Israel is widespread and steadily mounting. In Asia and Europe, political and business leaders increasingly regard Israel and its policies as harmful to global order and stability.

Regional demographic trends are also important. In Israel and its occupied territories, the Arab population is growing at a faster rate than the Jewish population, and within 20 years non-Jews will almost certainly be the majority.

Very few persons in 1985 foresaw the collapse six years later of the mighty and seemingly solid Soviet Union. But its end was predictable because it was an essentially artificial entity based on an inhumane and impractical ideology. Although Israel is a formidable military power, it is an aberrant, crisis-prone state, artificially kept alive with outside support, and based on an unworkable ideology.

Given its artificial character and built-in problems, as well as global political-economic and regional demographic trends, Israel's future in the next 60 years is not bright.

Michael Santomauro
Great article. Thanks

Sol: This, and the piece reviling Remnick, are as good as it gets.

Happy New Year.
The Jews should have never left Gaza, nor should the Jews be forced to leave the West Bank. Many Gazan Jews were prepared to live under a democratic, tolerant Palestinian regime. And there is no reason why West Bank Jewish communities cannot become part of a democratic, tolerant Palestinian state. A million arabs live in Israel. So why can't Jews live in "Palestine" with dual citizenship? If Jews were permitted to live in Palestine, they would contribute greatly to that state's prosperity and growth.
you realize this is rife with falsehoods, right?

for example, is actually a law that bans smoking, its not an "unwritten rule". and israelis regularly violate that law and the police send pakachim around and fine restaurants and people who violate that law. there are even restuarants in tel aviv that have had so many violations they almost closed.

also, the calorie labels has to do with healthcare costs. americans dont take care of themselves and then the state has to pay their bills bc they dont have insurance or they are on medicare. in israel, all the insurance companies are government-backed and health care costs are much lower because of strict price controls. ever compare drug prices in US to Israel. in israel they are pennies in comparison bc of the government regulation (not libertarianism), so it doesnt cost the gvt that much if you have a heartattack and you can go eat 7 cheeseburgers with tahini on them without seeing the calorie count.

also, the obesity epidemic in america is a huge problem. israelis are much more fit. we need to help americans get control of their eating habits because it is costing lives and hurting the economy.

to say there is more libertarianism in tel aviv versus the US is pure nonsense. israel is a semi-socialist state and has been since its founding.
The Hebrew culture lives on thanks to Tel Aviv. This is the greatest achievement of this GREAT city, a shiny white city on a hill.
sorry - no matter where in the world they live.
Yikes, why the name calling "Denise"? I found the article great and a nice answer balancing the Time article. Anti-Israel sentiments really verge on being emotionally unbalanced. Not being Jewish or Arab myself - I hope Israel can survive. Look at a map, one tiny Jewish nation surrounded by a continent of Islamic countries, why is that so intolerable? Yes, Michael, I hope Israel prospers for the future of our daughters no matter where in the world they lived.
Thank you so much for this article.
An honorary Jew:
Dorothy Johnson
i enjoyed this. great article.
Tel Aviv is far from a Zionist stronghold these days. According to a recently released study, it ranks 53rd out of 67 Israeli cities in terms of army recruits, well below the national average. The Times article got it only partially right - it's not that Tel Avivians don't care about Palestinians, they don't care too much about their fellow Israelis, either.
Oops. "Convoluted," not "convuluted."
Excellent article. Tel Aviv is a shining example of the hope, freedom, and opportunity of Israel. Whenever I run into westerners with anti-Israel sentiments, I usually listen to their convuluted political arguments (to a point) and then break it down into one simple question: "Of all the countries in the Middle East, where would you want your DAUGHTER to live?" Their eyes and facial expressions always tell the answer, no matter what they say.
Hmmm, affluent, cultural Tel Aviv, next to Arab Jaffa (even thought Jews live in Jaffa, as well). But where's the poorer, Mizrachi South Side in Sol Stern' Tel Aviv, and the foreign workers? In Israeli parlance, this is typical Ashkenazi blindness.