News Release

How Biden Could Advance Peace and Save Hundreds of Billions in Funds: Will Biden Finally Acknowledge Israel’s Nukes?

GRANT F. SMITH, gsmith@irmep.org@IRmep,
Smith is director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy.

He notes that each recent incoming administration has refused to acknowledge the existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal, facilitating hundreds of billions of dollars going to Israel despite prohibitions against funding nuclear weapons proliferators. He argues that this feeds instability in the Mideast and the next administration can save enormous taxpayer funds and help bring peace by just acknowledging what everyone knows: Israel has nuclear weapons.

He states: “The ‘Guaranteeing Israel’s QME Act of 2020‘ submitted by Brad Schneider (D-IL) and supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), proposes amending the Arms Export Control Act by requiring the president to consult with the Israeli government before proceeding with sales such as the proposed United Arab Emirates purchase of F-35s. A president would then have to submit a report card to Congress on the degree to which Israel’s ‘Qualitative Military Edge’ might be impacted. …

“But it is ironic that the Schneider bill employs the Arms Export Control Act and presidential certifications as vehicles for inserting Israeli oversight into the U.S. decision chain. After Israel’s illegal 1960s diversion of U.S. weapons-grade uranium from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) in Pennsylvania, Senators Stuart Symington and John Glenn passed mid-1970s amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act. They banned U.S. economic and military assistance, export credits and U.S. support to countries that deliver or receive, acquire, or transfer nuclear enrichment technology when such countries do not comply with International Atomic Energy Agency regulations and inspections.

“Since then, Israel has continued to be the Middle East’s leading state sponsor of nuclear proliferation due to its incessant top-to-bottom illicit trafficking in nuclear weapons-related materials, know-how and technology from the United States. Israel proliferated to regimes such as apartheid South Africa. Symington-Glenn now resides in the Arms Export Control Act and requires the president to notify Congress of any proposed U.S. foreign aid to a known rogue nuclear state. Rather than comply with the law, the last four presidents instead caved in to Israeli and its U.S. lobby’s pressure not to uphold that particular section of the AECA. Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump instead executed secret letters promising not to do so as reported by Adam Entous in The New Yorker. The National Archives refuses to release two of these letters. After we filed a successful lawsuit in 2011 to release damning U.S. government information about Israel’s nuclear weapons production facilities, President Barak Obama actually passed a 2012 gag order called WNP-136 forbidding any further releases. That has limited any informed debate about Israel, nonproliferation and related policies such as QME. Other legislation promoted by AIPAC now mandates that the U.S. withhold IAEA funding if the leading state sponsor of Middle East nuclear proliferation is ever ‘denied its right to participate in the Agency.’

“Publicly known cumulative U.S. foreign assistance (excluding intelligence support and other covert funding) to Israel is on track to reach $295 billion in 2020. That is three times the amount spent to rebuild Europe after WWII under the Marshall Plan. Some $253 billion (86 percent) has been delivered since Symington-Glenn became law, while $116 billion has been delivered after presidents Clinton through Trump signed secret letters promising to subvert the AECA. …

“For a long time, the U.S. has had little legitimacy in global nonproliferation circles largely because of Israel. Today ‘QME’ has become just another Israel lobby scam for extorting U.S. taxpayers. It requires that Americans fund billions in freebies to Israel for every U.S. sale of advanced weapons systems to wealthy autocratic regimes in the Middle East.”

Grant is the author of the books Big Israel: How Israel’s Lobby moves America and America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government.