We established last week that the desire to cut foreign aid to Israel is limited to a very small fringe in the Republican Party. However, as part of a broader plan to lower deficits by cutting federal spending, the GOP has proposed altering President Obama’s budget to cut foreign assistance spending. And even that has been opposed from a coalition that includes AIPAC and that warns, “The proposed cut would gut our embassies and consulates, and hurt our commitment to key allies in the Middle East.” The GOP claims the proposal would cut this budget by four percent, while the coalition claims it is more like 13 percent.
The larger principle that obtains, according to AIPAC and its allies, is that U.S. international engagement generally is good for U.S. support for Israel, and a pullback from that engagement is bad (we saw this also when AIPAC came down against Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s since-retracted suggestion to separate Israeli foreign aid from other foreign aid; “a robust foreign aid budget is a strong signal of U.S. leadership around the globe,” AIPAC said at the time).
According to JTA, AIPAC has been even more direct in private meetings with Republican officials. “AIPAC sees foreign assistance as a package that benefits the U.S.-Israel alliance,” the news service reports.