Congress will be busy this week finalizing our nation's fiscal year 2011 funding.
One of the most important pieces of budgetary line items is a request to both houses of Congress from President Obama to approve his asking for $3 billion in security assistance to Israel (first promised by President Bush in the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding) and another $205 million to help Israel continue with its highly successful deployment of a rocket defense initiative, which is sorely needed with the recent uptick of rocket attacks coming from Hizbillah in the north and Hamas from the Gaza.
Running counter to the President's wise request is a naive and fatal amendment in the budget presented by Congressman Ron Paul which, if approved as written, would literally eliminate most of America's aid to Israel, our nation's only true ally and real democracy in the region. Why Rep. Paul of Texas would want to fiscally strangle such an ally is beyond comprehension. I would equate the Congressman's amendment to something equivalent to Roosevelt telling the Brits in WWII that, "Sorry chaps, you may be our friends, but those Nazi's aren't our problem at the moment. Good luck to you though!" Which did kind of happen at the beginning of Hitler's run and look at what it cost this nation, the Jews and the world by that kind of attitude from the leadership of this country then.
While the recent news out of Egypt appears, on the surface, to be a wonderful shot in the arm for democracy in the Arab Middle East that nation is still a big question mark where its future form of government is concerned. It is in the vested interest of the United States, and entire free world in general, to ensure a strong defensive Israel. That nation is still surrounded by millions and millions of enemies in Gaza, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iran, not to mention terrorist elements in all those countries that surround Israel, as well as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, the Sudan, Ethiopia and many more.
It is unconscionable for someone of Paul's stature to promote such a dangerous idea for un-funding Israel particularly at this time of continued instability in the Middle and Near East. It is more than unconscionable, it is utterly reckless. Now it is especially important that the United States and other democratic countries in the world continue living up to their commitments to Israel, not start cutting back. If anything, those nations should increase their financial and other support. To do so works for their own best interest, Israel's and ensures a better stability in the region by causing those who would wish to attack Israel to take a step back and reassess the wisdom of such an action.
It is true that these are fiscally tough times for almost every nation on Earth and the United States has not been immune to the economical down-turn that has been occurring since 2007. Asking the American people to shell out $3.25 billion to a tiny nation half a globe away may seem ludicrous, as it evidently does to those who think like Rep. Paul, however, to not stand by the nation of Israel, our one true ally and the only real successful democracy in the region, speaks volumes to the type of character we exhibit in the United States. To allow Israel to go un-aided in its own protection sends a message to those other allies of ours and particularly to the fledgling Arab countries flirting with the whole idea of a democracy, that the one nation in the world that was built from its foundation up on the concept and cornerstone of freedom and a democratic way of life is a sham, cannot be counted upon when the chips are down because its inhabitants value the almighty dollar more than being that shinning city on the hill, that beacon of hope, freedom and democracy for the rest of the world.
To quote a famous Star Trek fictional character, "the universe is replete with turning points" and we are once again faced with another turning point and it could mean the difference, over the next 5 years, what the world will look like. If Congress, and thereby the American people, support our commitment to Israel's security then the world in 5 years will be a safer place. If we follow Rep. Paul's lead in this matter and choose to ignore our friend and ally Israel, cut off the funds needed to help guarantee their security, then I fear what the world will be like in 5 years. I have no doubt that Israel will survive, but if we forget Israel, I'm yet to be convinced that the United States can survive intact as the great nation it was founded to be.