|This report was produced by If Americans Knew analysts, particularly Pamela Olson, a President’s Scholar at Stanford University 1998-2002 with a major in physics, a minor in political science, and author of a book based on her three years in the West Bank. Olson previously worked as a research analyst at the Institute for Defense Analysis. The report updates the 1998 work by Richard Curtiss, “The Cost of Israel to U.S. Taxpayers,” published in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Mr. Curtiss, following military service in World War II, served for 30 years as a career Foreign Service Officer. He received the U.S. Information Agency’s Superior Honor Award and the Edward R. Murrow award for excellence in Public Diplomacy, USIA’s highest professional recognition.|
Israel has a population of approximately 7.8 million, or a million fewer than the state of New Jersey. It is among the world’s most affluent nations, with a per capita income similar to that of the European Union. Israel’s unemployment rate of 5.6% is much better than America’s 9.1%, and Israel’s net trade, earnings, and payments is ranked 48th in the world while the US sits at a dismal 198th.
Yet Israel receives approximately 10% of America’s foreign aid budget every year. The US has, in fact, given more aid to Israel than it has to all the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean combined—which have a total population of over a billion people. And foreign aid is just one component of the staggering cost of our alliance with Israel.
Given the tremendous costs, it is critical to examine why we lavish so much aid on Israel, and whether it is worth Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars. But first, let’s take a look at what our alliance with Israel truly costs.