Israel, Politics

GOP Rejects $2.4B for Israel to Prevent Africa from Getting Condoms

The NJDC today was apoplectic at the GOP’s partisan rejection of a foreign aid bill yesterday that would have provided Israel with $2.4 billion in funding.
“After all their rhetoric about supporting Israel, Republicans yesterday placed politics above the U.S.-Israel relationship,” wrote NJDC Executive Director Ira N. Forman in a press release issued this morning. “By claiming to support Israel from one corner of their mouths, while telling Members to vote against billions in aid from the other corner, the Republican leaders have engaged in a sad, cynical act of political hypocrisy. For years, support for the foreign aid bill has been a top priority of the pro-Israel community. This vote was a real blow to the bipartisan consensus that we’ve worked so hard to develop on Israel.”
In toll, 164 out of 195 Republicans voted against the bill, which passed 241-178 in the House.
The JTA reported today on the GOP’s position:

Republicans opposed the overall bill because it restores some funding for contraception aid to overseas groups that provide abortions. Rejecting such funding has been a Republican red line for over two decades.
The Senate has yet to consider its own version of the bill. If the amendment restoring the funding survives the Senate-House conference, President Bush is sworn to vetoing it.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbied hard for the inclusion in the bill of $2.4 billion in defense assistance for Israel and another $40 million in refugee assistance.
In a P.S. attached to a memo to all Republicans instructing them to vote “no,” minority leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio.) adds: “Members are advised that the Leadership has drafted a letter to AIPAC affirming Republican support for Israel funding, not withstanding final passage of this bill. This letter will be available for Members to sign at the Leadership Desk on the floor tonight. A copy of that letter is attached.”

The NJDC, as usual, seems to have jumped the gun and made themselves, and Democrats in general, look ridiculous by engaging in the same sort of excessive hyperbole for which most Jewish liberals denounce Republicans. I mean, come on– The GOP “placed politics above the U.S.-Israel relationship?” What an absurd contention. The U.S.-Israel relationship is politics. “G-d forbid our politicians should be playing politics!” What the hell are we paying them for? To play pinochle?
I think the more fascinating issue here is that of the GOP’s hierarchy of priorities, of which the NJDC made no mention.
This incident evidences the fact that pandering to Christian fundamentalists (by denying contraception to AIDS-stricken nations, thus causing millions to die annually — how Christ-like!) is a greater priority than bolstering Israel, America’s most committed ally in the War on Terror™. According to the GOP’s own talking points, without the U.S.’s ardent support of Israel, the fate of Western civilization in-and-of-itself lies at risk. Yet nonetheless, in this case, Christian “sexual ethics” have trumped our national security interests. More fascinating than even this fact, though, is that Christian groups that are likewise committed to Israel’s defense for theological reasons here have put “sexual ethics” before even fulfilling the criteria of the Second Coming.
Now’s a great opportunity for Israel’s Jewish swing-voting supporters to ask themselves some serious questions, like:
Are Republicans really better for Israel if their bizarre need to impose conservative Christian values on third-world nations is allowed to stand in the way of supporting Israel?
And likewise, is getting GOP support for Israel really worth the cost of, in this case, millions of AIDS victims lives? Should we support the GOP’s decision to push for a separate bill just to suit Israel’s needs, while davka, leaving the poor and the sick behind?
And finally, if you’re a God-fearing Christian fundamentalist who believes in the Second Coming and the defense of Israel as an a priori of that event, is the prohibition of sex that’s not intended for procreation really more important than saving lives, both in AIDS-stricken nations and in terror-threatened ones?
It’s something to think on…

20 thoughts on “GOP Rejects $2.4B for Israel to Prevent Africa from Getting Condoms

  1. My, my. If that’s what they do over condoms to Africa, what will they do about the gay pride parade in Jerusalem?

  2. If israel spent less money on promoting Jerusalem (of all places) as the next gay city and getting naked women in maxim, and instead focused on economics it might not need those 2.4 billions.
    In this case, because of my unwavering support of Israel, I’m in favor of some “though love”. Cut of the money flow so that Israel is forced to put it’s economics house in order.
    As for the condoms. Millions of africans see thousands of africans die of aids around them and fail to learn the right lesson from it. Oh yeah, sending some rubber over there will do the trick.

  3. My my, guys, please do not get carried away. This is the way politics in Washington works, one party attaches an amendment to a bill, which they know will cause the the other party to veto it, this way they can score points. Just because the GOP is against family planning in Africa, doesn’t mean they hate Israel. While i know thi sis the way politics works, I never liked it. I’d much rather have people vote on one bill at a time, this way we can have an honest debate rather then a constant set of image debates. While, I am for both israel aid, and family planning in Africa, and I think the GOP is wrong, let’s stick to what actually happenned, and not let ourselves become pawns in what is this time a Democratic propoganda game.

  4. Millions of africans see thousands of africans die of aids around them and fail to learn the right lesson from it. Oh yeah, sending some rubber over there will do the trick.
    Formermuslim speaks for religious fanatics of all stripes across the globe. The wrong lesson, of course, is that the use of condoms is a cheap, simple way to largely eradicate a plague that causes the agonizing deaths of millions throughout Africa. The right lesson, on the other hand, is clear: If you fuck, you deserve to die. It should be noted, though, that said lesson is hardly restricted to Africa, and that “religious conservatives” are equally hopeful that people who fuck in the U.S. die as well, particularly women. Thus, their opposition to not only to condom distribution, but to a vaccine that threatens to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.

  5. I wish the bill would not have passed and that Israel would have to fend for itself, not because I hate Israel – but because I love it!
    Israel needs to stop taking US money. We are a rich country and we need independence more than cash. Israeli’s need to get some Israeli pride back and cast off the purse that come with strings. American Jews think they are being helpful to Israel by procuring US money. Better they give that money themselves then have Israel be indebted to a foreign power.
    With much respect for the US, we need to be independent. “Be cautious with authorities, for they offer service only for their own purpose, appearing as friends when they stand to profit, but not standing by one at his time of need.” Ethics of the Fathers, 2:3
    It’s time to say: “No thank you, its time for us to make it on our own.”

  6. Thank you Yishai for saying what I think… Israel is capable of surviving without the US, and it would probably be better off without our (US) influence. I see Israel becoming more and more similar to the US, and it saddens me.

  7. david smith, it’s obvious you’ve been thinking about this issue for a long time and been waiting for the right time to vent.
    Feel better now?

  8. Some of you rely way to much on “what’s good for Israel” in your voting patterns. C’mon, both parties are owned and operated by the Zionist lobbies, relax!

  9. david smith, it’s obvious you’ve been thinking about this issue for a long time and been waiting for the right time to vent.
    Feel better now?

    Yes, thanks very much, formermuslim. I’ve been planning it for many years, and it really is an enormous relief to finally get this off my chest. Whew!!

  10. “The NJDC, as usual, seems to have jumped the gun and made themselves, and Democrats in general, look ridiculous by engaging in the same sort of excessive hyperbole for which most Jewish liberals denounce Republicans.”
    NJDC must be messing up pretty badly when Mobius and I AGREE on something! 🙂
    The GOP’s objection to foreign aid spending that includes contraceptions is a subject that is certainly open for debate, but the NJDC lied (as usual) when it said the Republicans opposed aid to Israel. Josh Frankel has it exactly right: “This is the way politics in Washington works, one party attaches an amendment to a bill, which they know will cause the the other party to veto it, this way they can score points. Just because the GOP is against family planning in Africa, doesn’t mean they hate Israel.”
    I think Jspot is also getting tired of NJDC, which is pretty much making itself into a Republican asset. A lot of what it has done in the past couple of years will come back to haunt the current Democratic contenders (Clinton, Obama, Edwards). I suggest talking to Joe Lieberman, who seems to command respect even from people who disagree with his specific policies. He could win next year. The others can’t.

  11. Please, as far as Israel goes it would do well to forgo the $2.4 billion altogether.
    Second it sounds like the issue wasn’t contraception per se, but rather the provision of aid to overseas groups promoting abortions. As a general rule I think it might be appropriate to question the wisdom of aborting unborn children in countries where the population is supposedly being decimated by out-of-control AIDS infection. How many hits can a declining country take if it can’t even repopulate itself? Should the last AIDS-free retiree out of Mozambique turn out the lights?
    Check out some links on the much-studied experience of Uganda’s “ABC” program to reduce HIV infection: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/ib2004no2.html , http://pmj.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/81/960/625 , http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/aids/News/abcfactsheet.html
    Uganada took a comprehensive approach to both common sense and sexual health that went way beyond the (delightfully named) “condom airlift” model that some people instinctively cling to as some kind of cheap, quick, idyllic solution to HIV infection that requires no fundamental change in thinking or behavior. Please: does it really make sense to bet your life on a condom when you’re betting against AIDS? The Ugandans realized that it didn’t.

  12. “the use of condoms is a cheap, simple way to largely eradicate a plague that causes the agonizing deaths of millions throughout Africa.”
    Lots could be said on the issue of aid to Israel and on US funding to overseas, but I wanted to respond to the above statement since I thought it expressed well one really problematic idea. Listen, if you think that there is any “cheap, simple way” to eradicate a plague that’s affecting millions of people, then, well, you’re going to be really disappointed. I’m not against teaching contraceptive methods in AIDS-ravaged nations, but the notion that handing a billion condoms to an entire continent and saying “here, use these” is enough to stem the AIDS epidemic is just naive.

  13. >It should be noted, though, that said lesson is hardly restricted to Africa, and that “religious conservatives” are equally hopeful that people who fuck in the U.S. die as well, particularly women.
    Do you actually believe that “religious conservatives” want people who have sex to perish?
    >Thus, their opposition to not only to condom distribution, but to a vaccine that threatens to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.
    Actually the objection as I heard it was against government bureaucrats requiring parents to vaccinate their daughters with a new vaccine against a non-communicable disease. Anyway I thought the government was supposed to be keeping its laws off our (their) bodies…

  14. I’m not against teaching contraceptive methods in AIDS-ravaged nations, but the notion that handing a billion condoms to an entire continent and saying “here, use these” is enough to stem the AIDS epidemic is just naive.
    Eli, that is an entirely fair point, and I was too casual in my use of the phrase “largely eradicate.” That would, indeed, be naive and I don’t imagine that such a program would constitute any kind of permanent structural solution. On the other hand, how many lives does such a response need to save in order to be justified? Frankly, I tend to suspect disingenuousness among those who object to condoms because they’re an insufficiently comprehensive solution; it reminds me of those who object to condom education in public schools because, after all, they’re only 99% effective.
    Eric, your objection has two components:
    the objection as I heard it was against government bureaucrats requiring parents to vaccinate their daughters with a new vaccine against a non-communicable disease.
    Yes, I heard that too. And that would be an airtight position if true, and categorically invalidate my claim that conservatives objecting to the vaccine want women to develop cancer. There are a couple of problems, though. (BTW, I don’t understand your use of “non-communicable” in this context. To my understanding the disease is non-infectious, but the whole point of the dispute is that it is, indeed, communicable through repeated sexual contact.) If we’re talking about a back-to-the-land, survivalist, get-the-government-off-our-backs kind of ethos, then I guess we can safely assume that such parents have expressed comparable objections to the standard regimen of vaccinations to which their children are typically subjected as a precondition of school enrollment. The argument is essentially the same if their objection is ostensibly based on safety grounds. For example, the issue of thimerasol contamination as a cause of widespread autism is being litigated right now; have these parents embraced those arguments and supported said litigation? If this particular vaccine is the only one to which religious conservatives have ever objected, then I think it’s abundantly justified to conclude that their real motivation is precisely as it was identified to be before the convenient pretext of safety came along. To wit, said initial objection by religious conservatives was that the HPV vaccine would undermine abstinence education and encourage promiscuity.
    Do you actually believe that “religious conservatives” want people who have sex to perish?
    Yes; perhaps you can explain the flaw in that conclusion. As noted, the initial objection to the vaccine among conservatives was that it undermines abstinence and encourages promiscuity. Of course, the only way the vaccine “promotes promiscuity” is that it reduces the number of women who develop cervical cancer. Accordingly, opposing the vaccine on such grounds is precisely the same as saying that you don’t want to reduce the incidence of such cancers, since such reduction is the necessary consequence of giving the vaccine. Since this claim seems to strike you as so untenable, perhaps you can parse the difference between not wanting to cause a reduction in such cancers, and – what to me is indistinguishable – the affirmative goal of wanting their increase.

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