Thursday, April 7, 2011

An “Austere Challenge” for Sure

By Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director
Don’t you just love these names the Pentagon invents for its military operations? From the makers of Operation Odyssey Dawn, coming in May 2012, it’s Austere Challenge!
If you thought U.S.-Israeli military cooperation was already tight, it’s about to get a whole lot closer. According to an April 4 article in Defense News, U.S. and Israeli military planners are busy at work on an exercise that would entail an “unprecedented expansion of security cooperation” between the countries. The article makes clear that this is no ordinary military exercise, but one aimed at “enabling the two countries to func­tion in wartime as a joint task force (JTF).” Yikes. Exactly what contingency planning for a joint U.S.-Israeli war is in the offing? Israeli military planners appear giddy at the prospect. “We’re talking about a huge step up in substance, size and proce­dures,” an Israeli officer told Defense News. “It’s an historic upgrading of strategic cooperation that extends beyond interoperability into how to jointly plan and execute contingency op­erations.” No wonder the Obama Administration can lay a legitimate claim to being the best friend that Israel has ever had in the White House, notwithstanding its much-ado-about-nothing feigned brouhaha over Israel’s ongoing expansion of its illegal settlements on Palestinian land. Between record-breaking appropriations of military aid to Israel and unprecedented levels of military cooperation, President Obama has made clear that Israel will be rewarded, rather than sanctioned, for its intransigence in maintaining its illegal military occupation of Palestinian land. So much for change we can believe in. No doubt that it will be an “austere challenge” for us to confront effectively this increased military coordination, but keep your eyes peeled and be ready to take action when we launch an advocacy campaign about this in the future. Meanwhile, we’re continuing to move ahead with our work to end U.S. military aid to Israel. Here are ways you can plug in, along with some teasers for upcoming stages of the campaign we’ll be rolling out over the next few months: * Check out our website How Much Aid to Israel? to learn how much money your community provides in weapons to Israel and what that money could purchase instead for unmet needs in your hometown. While you’re there, be sure to take action and sign up to help us organize our campaign to end military aid to Israel. * The Tax Man Cometh this year on April 18. To mark Tax Day and to let you know exactly what your taxes are going toward, we will be launching next week a comprehensive database of U.S. weapons transfers to Israel over the past ten years and the impact these weapons have on Palestinian civilians. Check out a sneak-peek of the prototype website: How Many Weapons to Israel? and be sure to let us know what you think. * In May, we’ll unveil ways that you can get involved in bringing an ad campaign to your city that raises awareness about the moral and financial costs of U.S. military aid to Israel. And in June, we’ll be rolling out a campaign to organize city council resolutions opposing U.S. military aid to Israel. Stay tuned for ways to get involved!
Finally, before you give Uncle Sam his due this year, make sure you lower your future tax burden by making a tax-deductible contribution to support the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and our educational campaign to challenge military aid to Israel.
We estimate that the average individual taxpayer will be providing Israel with $21.59 in weapons this year. “Offset” your contribution to weapons to Israel by making a tax-deductible donation to us today.