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US Funds for Israel not ’Foreign Aid,’ says GOP’s Cantor

Jewish Republican Eric Cantor, likely to be the next House Majority Leader, causes uproar by saying funds for Israel are not “foreign aid.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 10/26/2010, 10:24 PM / Last Update: 10/26/2010, 10:35 PM

Eric Cantor

Jewish Republican Congressman Eric Cantor, who is likely to be the next House Majority Leader, has caused an uproar in Washington by saying funds for Israel are not “foreign aid.”

One week before the mid-term Congressional elections, Rep. Cantor suggested that American money for the Jewish State should be outside the lump sum of foreign aid, which the Republican party usually is in favor of cutting.

He echoed the party’s general aim to cut foreign aid to countries that do not share interests with the United States. He said that keeping Israel out of the “foreign aid looping” would allow the funding to be part of the defense budget, and not the foreign aid budget.

Cantor is the only Jewish Republic in the House of Representatives. He serves as Minority Whip but will likely be the Majority leader if the polls are correct and the GOP wipes out the Democratic party majority next week.

The J Street lobby, which has attacked most Israeli government policies and is sympathetic to the Hamas terrorist organization, strongly opposed Rep. Cantor’s proposal. "U.S. assistance to Israel can only maximize our ally’s security when provided in concert with economic and military aid to other countries that enhances stability by fighting poverty and extremism in the region and beyond,” it said in a statement.

"J Street opposes separating aid to Israel from the foreign assistance appropriations to other countries for the sake of accommodating right-wing politicians who are ideologically opposed to foreign aid.”

New York Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey was more blunt, calling Rep. Cantor’s idea “as transparent as it is reckless.” Chair of the Appropriations Committee panel that drafts the foreign aid budget bill, she added, "Manipulating aid to Israel in this way would dangerously threaten continued bipartisan agreement on national security policy and programs other than direct assistance to Israel that aid in its security."

Rep Lowey accused the Republic Whip of trying to give Republicans in Congress a license "to vote against the foreign aid budget, and it is clear that Eric Cantor's outrageous proposal is based purely on political motives, not what is best for U.S. or global security."