Instigator
Points: 18

Is Israel a good ally?

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After 3 votes the winner is ...
whiteflame
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Contender
Points: 21
Description
We will be debating whether or not we should continue an alliance with the state of Israel and use of funds to support their military.
Round 1
Published:
One of my main complaints with our continued "alliance" is that it seems that they will do nearly anything they can in order to use America as a club against its enemies. They seem to only care about their own interests, even if it means we have to go to war for them. The first example of this would be in 1967 during the Six-Day War in which Israel sank our spy ship known as the USS Liberty. They initially stated they didn't know it was our ship. However, recently it has been uncovered that they knew it was our ship over two hours before the attack and expressed frustration that it wasn't sinking[1][2]. They wished to destroy the evidence that they attacked it and blame it on the Egyptians so that we would become involved in their conflict and fight the neighboring Arab nations for them. 

This theme has continued to modern times. Netanyahu declared before congress that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction based on evidence that they had gathered. He said that taking down Saddam Hussein would have "positive reverberations" in the region. Israel knew there were no WMDs[3][4], and based on threats such as ISIS that had arisen since that war, I think we can both agree that the promise of "positive reverberations" was also a lie.

Israel also has far too much influence over American politics. Pro-Israel groups such as AIPAC have given millions of dollars to many politicians in the past eight years. A quote by a former AIPAC employee states “Everything AIPAC does is focused on influencing congress, you can’t influence the President of the United States directly but the congress can,”. Ex-congressman Jim Moran said that "If you have AIPAC's support, more often than not you're going to win".[5] These organizations have caused a huge shift in policy that often supports Israel over American. One such instance is our reluctance to pay for a wall, yet we pay for security for Israel. Another was an email from Hillary Clinton exposed on WikiLeaks that said the best way to help Israel is to topple Assad in Syria (the war theme shows up a lot). All of this is in addition to the fact that Israel spies on us constantly, as AIPAC even funded the Canary Mission, which doxxes US college students by labeling them racist, anti-semitic, etc. [5][6]

Finally, Israel sent military technology to China that is used in the production of military equipment such as missiles[7]. Iran has been trying to buy military technology from China for years. The hope may be that Isan gets weapons and the US will come in to crush Iran's military to save Israel once again, but this is speculation. 

So, going forward in this debate, I would like to ask my opponent: Why should we be giving billions of dollars to a country that creates so many enemies for us in the Middle East, spies on us, and leads to the deaths of thousands of brave Americans by having us fight ceaseless conflicts with its neighbors?

Sources:

Published:
Thanks to my valiant opponent for initiating this debate! I look forward to seeing how this shakes out.

Let’s start off by clarifying the positions in this debate. To start, note that this debate requires us to take positions on the value of both the US-Israel alliance and the resulting military aid. The question is whether these should continue. This debate breaks down to three key elements, each of which are essential to any assessment of the value of this alliance.

1.       Is Israel a net beneficial ally to the US?

This is a straightforward calculus. The US puts a certain amount of money and effort into Israel, and the question is whether what we get back exceeds the value of what we put in. Note that this focuses entirely on what the US has gained/will gain from the alliance.

2.       Is maintaining an alliance with Israel net beneficial?

This might sound the same as the previous one, but there are two distinct differences. First, it emphasizes what happens should the relationship be severed. If it would not be beneficial to continue an alliance, then the potential harms of ending said alliance must be outweighed by the potential benefits. Second, it does not focus on the US alone. Importantly, we can and must consider the effects of ceasing our alliance and our military support for Israel on Israel, as it is only right to discuss outcomes for the country we will be affecting the most. Also, the effects of ending the alliance between the US and Israel are not contained to the US and Israel alone, and as such, we must assess the impact to the region and the world of such a decision.

3.       Should the US continue to provide military funds to Israel?

This is covered by the previous two, though it’s also somewhat separate, mainly because of what our positions require of us. Choosing to end an alliance is an absolute, whereas choosing to continue one provides for more malleability. While I must argue that Israel is a net beneficial ally, I need not argue that our relationship be maintained in its current form, nor am I required to argue for the maintenance or an increase in aid given to Israel. All I must argue is that some amount of military aid should continue to flow towards Israel. Con’s framing of the debate requires him to argue that no such moneys should be afforded to Israel, and he must argue for a complete severance of our alliance for the foreseeable future.
 

With that, I’ll launch into my arguments.

1. Conflict and Leverage

Let’s talk about the Israel-Palestine conflict. It has persisted for an incredibly long period of time,and continues to persist with no signs of ending. Hamas has protracted the fighting by launching rockets into Israel, knowing full well that they will inflict no damage and result in retaliation. Hamas has a regular habit of violating even short term ceasefires, and doesn't even seem to be seriously united in their actions, as their military wing and political wing are clearly divided in what they will accept.[1] We see evidence of their expectations in the Hamas Covenent, which clearly supports the obliteration or dissolution of Israel, i.e. they will not accept a 2-state solution.[2] Israel has responded to Hamas with the deaths of 1,000 Palestinians. There are far-rightwing members of the government that would stand for nothing less than total victory in Gaza, and they have substantial control over political decisions.[1] 

So there are large and influential bodies on both sides that will settle for nothing short of complete victory. There's no room for agreement in this case because neither side is budging. To re-emphasize from my overview, the cessation of our alliance, and with it our military aid, is absolute for any foreseeable future. Without a clear threshold for returning to either of these, Con effectively yanks away all US leverage in the region. Only in a world where a) there is a mutual reliance between our militaries that ensures US assistance in conflicts and b) there are funds provided to maintain and better equip the Israeli military is there any incentive structure to act differently. Both can be reduced or drawn back in response to misplaced efforts on the part of the Israelis or increased to encourage specific actions.

2. Israeli Benefits

$3 billion equates to a third of Israel's defense budget, though access to U.S. expertise, technology, and surplus equipment is invaluable. With Iran and Syria standing as near constant threats to Israel, particularly from the use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, putting Israel's defense spending in jeopardy to such a significant degree opens the door to devastating attacks.[3] Israel also receives emergency funds when war erupts and as incentive for positive developments, like the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, the Wye River Memorandum, and the 2005 Gaza withdrawal.[4] Both Israel and the region have benefitted from these developments, and Israel has benefitted from receiving emergency funds and equipment (which ensured their survival without the deployment of any U.S. troops against pro-Soviet Egyptian and Syrian armies [3]) that would be unavailable in Con's world.

3. Regional Benefits

Let's talk about the strong horse principle. "[T]he strong horse is the person, tribe, country, or nation that is best able to impose its will upon others, the weaker horses, through the use of force." It's been "active for more than a millennium in Arab politics," and it plays out as usually violent struggles between powers in the region. A weak horse invites attack, and a strong horse deters. Most importantly, "the stronger the horse, the greater the deterrence."[5]

Our role as a global strong horse places us in a unique position to elevate powers to that status. In aligning ourselves with a proxy strong horse, we create a stabilizing force in a region without a clear top power, and conversely, if we abdicate that role, we invite aggression. Israel functions as that stabilizing force in status quo, yet our decision to no longer aid their military creates the perception of weakness, which is enough to invite conflict. It also weakens perception of the U.S., as we become an untrustworthy ally.[5] Both Israel and the U.S. have a vested interested in stability and peace in the region, one that's built on democratic values and tolerance, whereas Arab nations are often split by ethnic rivalries that incite hatred and violence against others. While it is far from perfect, Israel easily outdistances other countries in the Middle East on human development and freedom. [3] Hatred of Israel and Jews in the Middle East is ingrained to the point that any of these being the strong horse results in mass persecution.[6] Generals in the U.S. military recognize this: "In the Middle East, a volatile region so vital to U.S. interests, it would be foolish to disengage - or denigrate - an ally such as Israel."[5] 

4. U.S. Benefits

It goes without saying that if we're spending $3 billion a year, we should be getting some returns on it. There are plenty of non-economic benefits, including Israel's consistent record of support in UN votes and support in military operations, something none of our other allies have done to nearly that degree of consistency. The long-standing relationship wasn't built off of nothing: we share democratic values, they have consistently repaid debts, they are a major source of both business deals and tourists to the U.S., we share a broad number of innovations (particularly in high tech), we draw from their talent pools, our trade relationships have dramatically risen in value over time, growing in one decade from $6 billion to $20 billion.[6] It also helps that 95% of U.S. aid to Israel is spent in the US, which means that the vast majority of the funds we send to them come back and bolster our economy.[7] 

Israel is our closest ally in the Middle East, supporting U.S. policy therein. It's not just location, either. "Israel has consistently been a major security asset to the United States, an asset upon which America can rely, far more so than have been other recipients of American largesse... Israel is arguably the world's leading expert in collecting intelligence on terrorist groups" and we've consistently received intelligence, research and development savings from working with them that value as much as 4X greater than the grants they receive.[5] These benefits apply to counter-terrorist efforts and addressing unconventional weapons and cyber-threats. And this value isn't just economic. Their expertise has successfully reduced the effectiveness of improvised explosive devices on our troops, reducing casualties substantially.[6] 

And that's just their intelligence. The Supreme Commander of NATO himself described Israel as "the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require even one US soldier, cannot be sunk, is the most cost-effective and battle-tested, located in a region which is critical to vital US interests. If there would not be an Israel, the US would have to deploy real aircraft carriers, along with tens of thousands of US soldiers, which would cost tens of billions of dollars annually, dragging the US unnecessarily into local, regional and global conflicts." They provide us with safe and dependable ports and bases in the Middle East, which provide us with a means to deploy troops that reduces costs by trillions of dollars.[8] Their actions also reduce the danger of nuclear arms and terrorism, as well as stabilizing the region to ensure consistent access to Middle Eastern oil and gas.[3] And let's be clear that shifting the money to Muslim nations in the region is more likely to do us harm than it is to benefit us in any way.[9]

Thus, we garner far more from this relationship than the $3 billion we spend per year. At the point that the U.S. decides to renege on its alliance with and support for Israel, they become likely to rescind their own support mechanisms.[10] With little reason to trust us, particularly as we step back from a decades-long alliance, they have no reason to share intelligence, collaborate with new and cutting edge military technology, and certainly not share a base or physical resources. Ending this relationship debilitates our military, especially in the Middle East.

1. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/03/arab-israel-palestinians-gaza-conflict-may-never-end
2. https://fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/880818a.htm
3. https://www.meforum.org/259/end-american-aid-to-israel-no-it-remains-vital
4. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/history-and-overview-of-u-s-foreign-aid-to-israel
5. https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/110555/america-strengthened-its-support-israel-david-meir-levi
6. http://www.mythsandfacts.org/Conflict/17/unitedstatesisrael1.htm#B1
7. http://www.israellobby.org/AIPAC/AIPAC_Vital_Assistance.pdf
8. https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/107007/us-aid-israel-why-its-must-david-meir-levi
9. https://www.theoaklandpress.com/news/u-s-aid-to-muslim-nations-not-paying-any-dividends/article_ba44730a-6876-5ac9-9abb-f7467ce323e8.html
10. https://www.aipac.org/-/media/publications/policy-and-politics/aipac-analyses/issue-memos/2010/11/aipac_memo_aid_to_israel_foreign_aid_funding_vital_for_u_s_national_security.pdf

Round 2
Published:
I would like to commend my opponent on articulating some good, valid points. A few of these points, I will agree upon, yet I disagree with most. 

Point 1

In your first argument, you state that the conflicts have persisted a very long time and that there is no end in sight. So,then, what we have been doing obviously isn't working. We have been giving them military and financial aid since the Cold War, and only fighting has ensued. Also, you stated that Hamas doesn't cause serious damage, yet the Israelis have felt compelled to react with unnecessary force, killing thousands of Palestinians, according to your sources. Further on the theme that this conflict will not resolve by itself, you have mentioned that both sides are mostly dedicated to the idea that there is no option other than complete victory. Your main point in this argument was to have us use an incentive system with aid, which is a potential option. However, these right-winged politicians that you yourself mentioned have a lot of influence is mirrored by the heavy impact of AIPAC on our elections[1]. The right winged individuals who have influence over Israel are obviously influencing AIPAC, who in turn influence our politicians. This can be seen from the fact that we are locked into giving Israel fixed sums of money, which prevents us from pursuing the money incentive system that you mentioned[2]. Israel has so much influence, that the government will violate the constitution in order to support the  country. The policies to which I am referring are anti-BDS legislation. So, in twenty-seven states, private companies are not able to boycott Israel under threats ranging from condemnation to losing state government contracts[3]. So, this is why I believe that we should sever our alliance. For the ten years of the aforementioned deal, we will still be supporting them with $3.8 billion annually. By the time the contract ends, they must fix their obviously expansionist policies if they want us to begin aiding them again[4]. 

Point 2

I have a few points to make against your second point. You state that Israel needs our money to support their military, citing the fact that we make up a third of their budget. However, they would definitely be able to support their military by themselves against terrorist rebels. You mentioned Israel's main antagonists being Syria and Iran. Israel's GDP per capita is $36,200, while Iran's and Syria's are $20,000 and $2,900 respectively[5]. This proves that Israel is much more wealthy than these other countries and can support themselves. You mention that Israel has to fear chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. You must be forgetting that Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT), while Iran and Syria both have[6]. In fact, 189 countries have signed it, but Israel hasn't and they are known to be building a stockpile, which we are inadvertently subsidizing by paying for their military[7][8]. They have more funds with which to develop their nuclear programs. I would like to clarify my points in terms of previous support. You said that they would not have been able to fend off neighboring countries that attacked them in the Cold War. This is an entirely different debate to be had, but we must keep in mind that the Cold War was a different time. Now we have begun to subsidize its aforementioned expansion[4]. You obviously supported the Cold War funding of Israel, but it would have been much better to threaten divestment from both countries as a deterrent of war that would likely have had less damaging diplomatic effects in the Arab world.

Point 3

Now on to your third point. I would like to iterate that Israel would still continue to be the strong horse in the region based off of their GDP[5]. In fact, they currently have the 8th most powerful military in the world[9]. They are rich enough to divert more funds to their military if possible. You cited the fact that Israel is democratic and that the Arabs are split by ethnic rivalries. This just further proves my point that Israel doesn't need us. Their enemies wouldn't be able to unite to fight Israel if they are busy fighting themselves[10].

Point 4

The fourth and final points are perhaps my favorites in the debate. You state that Israel supports our military engagements. I'm assuming you are referring to Iraq invasion and using missiles against the Syrians. Of course they would support this, as I stated, they lied about WMDs in Iraq to get us to topple their enemies for them. According to Hillary Clinton's emails, the best way to support Israel is to topple Assad in Syria[1]. This just furthers my point that they are using us to support themselves, and they would have been foolish not to support those actions that benefit them at our expense. In terms of our current trade deals with Israel, they would only be hurting themselves. Your source number six stated that many US countries have R&D facilities such as Intel and Microsoft. This proves that they are largely benefiting from our trade relationship, and as you know, free trade helps both countries. I am merely saying that we should not support their military or give them money, I am not a supporter of BDS. However, I think we should stop sharing military information with them, as they have been known to sometimes give it to China[11].

You stated that 95% of our military aid is spent on the US. I think that this is a terrible position to take. Think for a moment, does it benefit a grocery store to give out 100% coupons just so the money isn't spent elsewhere? Of course not. We are just directly subsidizing the military industrial complex, which has been known to incite wars in other countries to make money[12]. I stated earlier that their intelligence is questionable at best. Netanyahu stated that there were indeed WMDs in Iraq according to their intelligence[1]. That lie led to 4,541 brave US soldiers dying in Iraq[13]. From the sinking of the USS Liberty as mentioned in my first round, to the Iraq War, they have proven that they are willing to lie and even kill US soldiers in order to drag us into their wars. I simply cannot abide by this alliance. You also state that we save trillions of dollars. The fact is that we likely wouldn't be in the Middle East if it wasn't for Israel. During the Cold War, we began having a tilt towards Israel, and this fostered Anti-American sentiments[14]. The Iraq War alone added over $1 trillion to our debt, so I would dispute the financial advantages of our relationship with them[15]. I agree with the point that says giving money to the Arab world would likely be harmful to us. I agree, I am arguing that we stop aid to Israel, not that we shift the money to the Arabs. As I stated in my first round, with our growing debt, we shouldn't be giving foreign aid to countries. Finally, this brings me to your last few points. You say that they will not share "cutting-edge" military technology. If they have such an advanced military, I ask you, why do they need us? Also, you mention their intelligence, which I have proven to be unreliable[1][16]. Finally, you say that they will no longer trust us after rescinding our long alliance. We have been taking troops out of the Middle East and will no longer need this so-called "alliance"[17]. 

Our alliance with this nation has only garnered anti-American sentiments in the Middle East and has cost us billions of dollars by which we have subsidized the military-industrial complex. I say we stop funding their expansion and begin focusing on our own interest rather than Israel's. I look forward to your rebuttal.

Sources:
Published:
Thanks again to my opponent, and let's get into some rebuttal. Counter-rebuttal will be next round.
 
Con’s argument has 3 pieces. I’ll address each in turn. Before I start, two overviews.

First, I must point out that Pro’s arguments do not take the interests of other countries into account, particularly those of Israel. As I pointed out in my overview, if the effect on Israel is negative, then that’s a harm for Pro’s case. I will weigh the specifics of that harm against the potential benefits to the US when I defend my case next round, but given that Con’s whole case is that we have to punish Israel for behaving badly, we must either assume that rescinding the alliance and our military support will harm them. That harm is guaranteed in this debate, it’s just a matter of severity.

Second, and I’ll get into this more next round, Con provides no means for Israel to re-ally itself with the US or to regain US military aid. In doing so, Con denies Israel access to emergency support, ensures reduced collaboration between our two countries in a persistent manner, and permanently removes an important source of leverage, replacing it with nothing.
 
Onto the direct rebuttal.

1. Israel directs US policy in bad directions

There are three major problems with this argument.

A. No Actual Impact

All of Con’s examples all point backwards, including a war from over 50 years ago and the impetus for the Iraq War 16 years ago. Syria is his only current example, and we are not at war with Syria. This means his case amounts solely to retaliation for perceived past wrongs. Every harm of these conflicts is a sunk cost (not sorry for the pun) at this point. Ending the alliance now does not recover them. In a similar vein, while Con argues that this has harmed international perception of the US, disbanding this alliance does not alter that perception. The US has bases in many Middle Eastern countries [11, 12]. We continue long-term occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and continue to be a substantial influence in both governments. The relationship has already soured. Disbanding this alliance doesn’t fix it, it just adds another strain in the region.

B. Missing Reasoning/Evidence

Con assumes that Israel was solely responsible for pushing the US to take certain actions. He claims that without Israel in the picture, the US would not have interfered in the Middle East and all these countries would be friendly with us. He never supports this claim, instead referencing historical events that do not support this assumption.

The sinking of the USS Liberty was a tragedy, but it did not result in US intervention in the Six-Day War.

Netanyahu was far from alone in pushing the view that there were WMDs in Iraq (long after the intelligence was discredited), and the US had its own independent reasons invading.[13]

Much as Con points to Hillary’s email, she’s not president, and we’re not toppling Assad.

This is nothing but speculation. Just because influence exists does not mean that it drives a given action. His efforts to lay the responsibility for these conflicts solely at the feet of the Israelis don’t stand up to muster, either. The Six Day War was initiated as a result of the closure of the Straits of Tiran [14], the Iraq War was initiated by the US [15], and the Syrian Civil War is an internal conflict [16]. Con would have us believe that the US lacks autonomy to make huge foreign policy decisions, and that we’re essentially puppets of Israel. He’s going to have to do a lot more to support that.

C. Assumed Weight

Con’s impacts suffer from two key problems: ambiguity and uniqueness.

On ambiguity, Con largely assumes that any influence is bad regardless of the effect. He talks about pro-Israel lobbying groups, but he doesn’t say why this is problematic aside from a brief non-sequitur about paying for a wall. He doesn’t say why we should build a wall, why the money going to Israel would otherwise go to the wall, or why we can’t afford a wall solely or even chiefly because of foreign aid to Israel. Con presents Canary Mission as though it directly represents Israel, failing to note that it is a fringe group run and funded by Americans and condemned by many Israeli and American-based pro-Israel advocacy groups.[17-19] It’s unclear how much influence Israel has over this group (it’s mostly funded by Americans), and unclear the degree of harm it causes, as at least some of the groups it posts about are antisemitic.[20, 21] Con also assumes that the result of every conflict is negative. Toppling Assad could have prevented the incredible loss of life and displacement that has occurred since the start of the civil war in Syria.[22] Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who had oppressed his people for decades. Much as we mishandled the effort (which was the fault of the US), the war itself was still justified solely for the humanitarian purpose.[23]

On uniqueness. Con’s argument assumes that no other ally of the US has ever been so harmful to us as Israel has – otherwise, he would similarly be arguing for the rescinding of other alliances. Similarly, Con’s argument assumes that this is a unilateral problem, with the Israelis imposing harm on the US while the reverse is false. So, let’s test that.

If influence is the problem, the highest spenders among our allies influencing US policy are South Korea, Japan, Canada, and Germany.[24]

If dragging the US into wars is the problem, both the Korean and Vietnam Wars were fought on behalf of allies. NATO started conflicts in Libya and Kosovo to pursue supposedly humanitarian ends as well (which, incidentally, were supported by France for its personal interests).[25] European dependence on the US military means that every future conflict will require that we be dragged into it in order to succeed.[26] Our alliance with South Korea puts us at a far greater likelihood of being dragged into war with North Korea (again) and our work with Japan puts us at risk if they ever decide to duke it out with China over the Senkaku Islands.[27] And how about our good allies in Saudi Arabia, who have essentially made us complicit in their war with Yemen?[28]

If friendly fire is the problem, the US has near-routine problems with that.[29] It was also our choice to work with Israel, both to have the incident occur and to cover it up, according to Con’s own sources.[30, 31]

If selling or giving away military intelligence or technology sourced from our allies is the problem, then sales of Israeli cybersecurity tech to Saudi Arabia and the delightful delivery of Israeli secret intelligence to the Russians should count against us.[32, 33] We’ve also made a semi-regular habit of shipping advanced weapons to countries who have slipped them to al Qaeda and Iran, meaning that they exist as tangible harms to Israel right now.[34]

Con’s standards for removing us from this alliance are entirely arbitrary, granting the US the ability to use any double standard it wishes to void its long-standing allies. Why should any of our allies trust our long-term alliances if we can turn our backs on the Israelis for acts we and others are guilty of? Whether Con decides to provide a means to return to the alliance or not, unilaterally declaring the end to a decades-long alliance and specifying arbitrary and vague rules to return does nothing except frustrate our relationships with other countries even further.

2. Israel is selling military technology to China

Con argues that China is getting some military technology that could be used to build missiles, and that Iran might get it. He doesn’t explain why China’s receipt of that knowledge is damaging, gives no reason to believe that China is ready and willing to sell it, and no reason to believe that, if they did acquire it, the Iranian threat would grow. Again, his argument is speculative: it might happen, and if it does happen, it might be bad. If the goal was to goad US action against Iran, this is a seriously awful way to do it. The country that would be most affected by Iran’s acquisition of advanced military technology is Israel, as they are by far the closest target. Con suggests that they’re actively putting themselves at greater risk to force intervention. Again, nothing but speculation, and this time without any reasonable logic.

3. Israel is damaging US international relations and is spying on us

Con solely asserts these. He assumes the US cannot make its own enemies in the Middle East (we’ve been exceedingly good at that [35]) and that the spying game is a one-way street (we spy on them, too[36] – most of our allies spy on us and each other as well [37]). His claims, once again, range from speculation about US choices in the absence of Israel to double-standards used to invalidate Israel as an ally while keeping others that do the same.
 
11. https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/06/07/qatar-hosts-largest-u-s-base-in-the-middle-east-despite-allegedly-funding-extremism-infographic/#1089afaa3dc7
12. https://www.americansecurityproject.org/national-security-strategy/u-s-bases-in-the-middle-east/
13. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/22/iraq-war-wmds-an-intelligence-failure-or-white-house-spin/?utm_term=.90e574ab441c
14. https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign+Relations/Israels+Foreign+Relations+since+1947/1947-1974/26+Statement+to+the+General+Assembly+by+Foreign+Mi.htm
15. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS21405.pdf
16. https://www.britannica.com/event/Syrian-Civil-War
17. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-parts-of-censored-al-jazeera-documentary-on-pro-israeli-lobby-leaked-1.6432835
18. https://forward.com/news/407279/canary-missions-threat-grows-from-us-campuses-to-the-israeli-border/
19. https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/canary-mission/
20. https://forward.com/news/national/411355/revealed-canary-mission-blacklist-is-secretly-bankrolled-by-major-jewish/
21. https://www.jns.org/recent-report-highlights-anti-semitic-tactics-used-by-sjp-members-amid-bds-debate-at-george-washington-university/
22. https://www.csis.org/analysis/human-cost-syrian-civil-war
23. https://thediplomat.com/2013/03/why-the-iraq-war-was-right/
24. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2018-08-17/biggest-spenders-of-foreign-lobbying-in-the-us-comes-from-americas-closest-allies
25. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/21/kosovo-template-for-disaster-libya, https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/1983/france-libya-attack
26. https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2017/05/americas-allies-are-decline-heres-how-us-should-adjust/137608/
27. https://www.newsmax.com/patrickbuchanan/korea-chinam-trump-russia/2017/04/04/id/782515/
28. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/09/iran-yemen-saudi-arabia/571465/
29. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/oct/22/american-troops-friendly-fire-iraq
30. http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/jerusalem-post-confirms-israel-knew-usaliberty-was-american/article/413296
31. https://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-liberty_tuesoct02-story.html
32. https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2017/05/americas-allies-are-decline-heres-how-us-should-adjust/137608/
33. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/world/middleeast/israel-trump-classified-intelligence-russia.html
34. https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/02/middleeast/yemen-lost-us-arms/
35. https://www.thoughtco.com/us-and-middle-east-since-1945-2353681
36. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20140204-us-spies-on-israel/
37. https://www.cnn.com/2013/10/30/us/spying-on-allies-everybody-does-it/index.html

Round 3
Published:
     Thanks again to Pro for providing solid, well-written points. I would like to, however, point out some egregious framing and false presumptions that are being propagated against my position, however. He is purposing that I in some manner have double standards with regard to our alliance with Israel. I am and have always been anti-interventionist. Pro very clearly attempted to slander me and frame me as having a purely anti-Israel stance and mentioning that I would maintain the same alliances with all allies that currently break our trust as Israel so obviously has. This is not the case, and you will not find once instance of me mentioning an alliance with any other nation in the debate. So, I ask that the readers discard these views for being the baseless and egregious accusations that they are.

     Also, I’d like to mention that your point of the impact on other countries is irrelevant for this debate in the manner that you have posed it. This is for two separate reasons. The first was phrasing it was “if the effect on Israel is negative, it harms Pro’s case (I assume you meant Con)”. This argument is utterly weighted towards you, as you saw in the first round that I suggested stopping funding. Taking money away is never a good thing, so I argue this point is irrelevant. The second reason this point should be removed is that it makes no sense. This debate is based on the perspective of America. America’s interests should hold primacy when they decide how to spend their money, and the foreign power’s wishes should be irrelevant. (Before you accuse me of double-standards again, I’m almost always against foreign aid). What would make sense for this debate is for you to prove that we would suffer from our loss of their alliance.
In terms of re-allying ourselves with Israel, they must stop attempting to drag us into wars and keep troops in the Middle East. I will further elaborate on how they do this in my later points. Sorry for the wordy response, but I felt it was necessary to clarify these points. Onto the rebuttal round 2.

Rebuttal to point 1

    My case doesn’t point to retaliation for past wrongs. I kept mentioning the theme that they keep dragging us into wars or at least attempting to. I was using this as an example of why we should rescind the alliance, at least temporarily. I was proving that throughout history, they have continuously had us fight their wars and that none of the examples I gave were merely isolated incidents. While I agree that we are not at war with Syria, Israel is the reason that we are keeping troops there[1]. As I stated earlier, Hillary Clinton stated that toppling Assad was the best way to keep Israel safe[2]. Then, we handed over a billion dollars to fund Syrian rebels, ISIS, and Al-Qaeda in Syria[3]. So to say we are not at war might be partially correct, but we have maintained troop presence and paid billions of dollars purely for Israel’s interests once again. You state that the positive sentiments will not return when we rescind the alliance, but that is purely conjecture. I believe that it is rational to assume that stopping funding and support of a state that continuously takes its neighbors’ lands will do good for Middle Eastern perception of America[4].

     I do not say that all Middle Eastern countries would be friendly with us without Israel in the picture anywhere. I just stated that our intervention in the Middle East has caused anti-American hatred and one of our main reasons for going there is to protect Israel[2][3]. You are correct in saying that the sinking of the USS Liberty did not result in our involvement in the Six-Day War. While this is true, it was an obvious attempt to have us enter the war. They knew that the ship was American three hours before the attack[5]. In terms of our own reasons for attacking Iraq, your source 13 just merely that Bush pushed for the war to attain “political goals”. This was an ambiguous reference, and I am not sure what that means. I pointed to Hillary’s email because at the time, she was Secretary of State and the Obama administration funneled billions of dollars to the Syrian rebels[2][3].

I don’t see how the beginning of the Six-Day War is relevant, the only relevant part is that they firebombed our ship knowing that it was American[5]. The Iraq War was initiated mostly due to Bush’s neo-conservative advisors, many of whom were Jewish, who were members of PNAC[6]. This think tank has goals to shift US policy towards creating democracies across the world through intervention by the United States[7]. The Syrian War is an internal conflict as you state, but it is one in which we are involved. We donated money to their rebels and maintain troop presence over there[1][3]. I do believe that we have autonomy to make foreign policy decisions, but you obviously doubt the power of lobbying congressmen. Palestinians have no lobby that even remotely matches the power of Israel, spending around 1/13th of the money Israel does[8]. So, my point is that AIPAC is able to stack congress by supporting pro-Israel congressmen. Remember the direct quote from Congressman Jim Moran, “If you have the support of AIPAC, more often than not you’re going to win[2].

      Foreign influence is not always a bad thing. When it comes to foreign funding, I believe that it is typically a bad thing. We have a crisis at the border[9], and we need a wall and other expansions of security in order to help solve the problem. I think that if we have terrible emergencies at home that need to be taken care of, then they should take primacy over Israel’s desire for military subsidies. This is one of a plethora of problems that we are facing in America among others such as a debt surpassing our GDP. Somehow, we still find money to pay Israel billions every year. Estimates for the border wall cost are between $5 billion and $25 billion and we are paying Israel $38 billion over the next ten years[10]. This is why I know that funding of Israel is at least part of the problem of why it hasn’t been under construction.

You state that the Canary Mission is run by Americans as though that inherently means anything. They live in America and their companies operate in America, but that doesn’t mean they are always operating in America’s interests. The Canary Mission is indeed funded by domestic Jewish groups with the intention of silencing activists of BDS and other pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel movements. While some of these individuals are terrible, it is immoral to dox students and preventing them from ever finding jobs. The money is funneled, but it has been traced through financial statements. The money even makes its way to the Central Fund of Israel[11]. So, I think it is beyond doubt that Israelis are involved in this funneling.

In your rebuttal, you didn’t mention whether or not Assad was a good leader and there was significant moral basis for the civil war. You just mentioned that there would not have been so much displacement and death. Assad is an individual that might finally be able to bring stability to Syria as, backed with allies Russia and Iran, he has help eliminate terrorist threat ISIS[12]. Also, you state that Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator and he oppressed his people. This is true, but then you make the false assumption that our entry of the war was justified for humanitarian purposes. It is not the universal duty for us to send thousands of brave young men and women to die whenever there is an imperfect leader in the Middle East. This should be up the NATO, the UN, or some other international body. You also state that we mishandled the effort, which you didn’t back with any further arguments.

Uniqueness is not an issue, as I have clarified earlier. However, I find that redaction of an alliance with Israel would be the utmost priority. Let us go through the aid that these countries receive that you state spend more money influencing us. A quick search has shown that South Korea receives $775,534, Japan receives $140,237, Canada gets $31,704,675, Germany gets $559,587, but we give Israel a staggering $3,191,073,062[13]. In other words, Israel receives over 96x the amount of all four of those countries combined every year. So, when you ask why I am more worried about Israeli influence, it is because of the costly effects of their influence. They aren’t asking for trade deals or anything along those lines, they want money that we could use to pay off our debt or fund domestic programs.

You bring up the Korean and Vietnam wars, which I find interesting. They were both fought in the Cold War, which was an ideological battle between the Soviet Union’s communists and America’s capitalists. We did this to attempt to stop the Domino Theory, in which we believed that when some countries fell to communism, many more would. We believed this would eventually end in the destruction of our way of life, so we fought against communism, not for any economic merit that south Vietnam provided[14]. This ideological battle cost us over $5.8 trillion[15]. This is eerily similar to the situation in the Middle East. The fight between Israel and its Middle Eastern neighbors is primarily fueled by religion. The Quran [5.51] for example, says to “not take the Jews and Christians for friends”[15]. It is quite clear based on examples such as this (of which a plethora are shown on the source give) prove that there are incompatibilities between the religions, which will, as I commonly state, lead to an endless stream of conflict. We as a country should not become involved in conflicts that never end half-way across the world.

I don’t agree with your point that South Korea is more likely to bring us into a war, since their relations are better than they have been since the Korean War[16]. We can agree that European dependence on our military is a problem. If we took away military money from Israel, this problem may be abated. They would recognize that they may not be able to rely on millions of dollars anymore and they would fund their own militaries if they wanted protection. I love your source number 27 that discusses the potential war between Japan and China. The title of the article is “We Must Reassess Alliances that Drag Us Into War”. I couldn’t agree more. This is exactly what we are doing right now in this debate. If you would care to debate our alliance with these other countries in the future, I would be happy to. However, mentioning that we have a few other terrible alliances does not vindicate Israel for what it has done. Any bad alliance should be severed.

You briefly mention friendly fire being common. This occasionally happens under stress, as your source 29 points out. This was not the case with the USS Liberty, as they had the flag flying and its identity was confirmed based on this fact. Plus, the source only says that President Johnson was complicit in the coverup to maintain positive public opinion of Israel[17]. In your source 33, you discussed us giving intelligence to the Russians. This intelligence was related to fighting terrorism. Do you think that we should have less countries fighting terrorists? As I stated earlier, Russia helped fight ISIS in Syria, so they have proven to be an asset in counter-terrorism efforts[12]. Also, you said earlier in your response that China might go to war with our ally Japan, then try justifying Israel’s sale of missile technology to China. You said they might drag us into that war, then justify making them a larger threat. You mention that we gave weapons to a country who then gave these weapons to Israel’s enemies and terrorists. This was absolutely not the intention when giving it to the original country. Israel, however, gave that information directly to our potential future enemy[18]. To conclude this point and counter your assumptions, I must say that these are not arbitrary measures. Dragging the US into wars, asking for billions of dollars every year, and funding doxing campaigns against anti-Israel advocates is a tragedy. No other country exploits our country to the degree that Israel has, which I believe I have provided substantial evidence to prove.

Point 2 Rebuttal

There are very few points given here. My point is based off of evidence you provided in source 33, in which you stated a potential future war with China. This is precisely why this information could be dangerous. My source also states that this isn’t the first time Israel aided the Chinese militarily. In the 1990s, Israel was caught in a decade-long funneling of US secrets to Japan(much worse than a one-time incident with us and Russia). They also had a contract to supply Python III missiles to China[18]. I will not argue too much further on the Iran point, as it is based off of conjecture. They are one of the threats in the region that I previously proved was attempting to get military information from China. Israel would like us to enter the country with troops to prevent action by the Iranian government. I
believe this is reasonable logic, although you disagree for some reason.

Point 3 Rebuttal

I am aware that we are able to make our own enemies in the Middle East. I merely stated that our Israel support over Arabs occurred in the Cold War, and this is a cause of resentment in the Arab world[19]. You say that allies spy on each other. This is another true statement, but none do it to the degree of Israel. These other countries don’t dox our students. In fact, we are often overwhelmed by the amount of Israel’s spies and can’t effectively counter them[2].

So, now that I have proven that my opponent’s presumption of a double-standard is false, it would seem that my opponent’s argument has little left to stand on. He mentioned foreign lobbies paying more money, yet he neglected the fact that the four highest spending countries combined received less than 1/96 the aid of Israel[13]. He also seems to justify our alliance with Israel by pointing out flaws in our relationships with other countries. These are entirely different debates to be had, and perhaps we should not be allies with them either. Why my opponent thought that I believed all other allies were perfect, I do not know. It is not our duty as Americans to fund other countries with billions of dollars to fight their endless wars. The ideologically-driven Cold War costed us trillions of dollars, and I don’t wish for us to fight another ideological war but for a different country this time[15].

[2] http://theredelephants.com/banned-undercover-investigation-shows-israel-spying-us-citizens-paying-off-us-politicians-launching-smear-campaigns-us-students/
[3] https://fair.org/home/media-end-cia-training-syrian-rebels-al-qaeda/
[4] http://auphr.org/index.php/news/5100-palestinian-loss-of-land-1946-2012
[5] https://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-liberty_tuesoct02-story.html
[6] https://www.haaretz.com/1.4764706
[7] https://www.jstor.org/stable/4121509?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
[8] https://sunlightfoundation.com/2011/09/22/palestinian-statehood-may-be-affected-us-lobbying/
[9] https://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/437051-pavlich-trump-and-obama-officials-agree-theres-a-crisis-at-the-border
[10] https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-now-says-border-wall-could-cost-little-15-billion-n945346
[11]https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/revealed-canary-mission-blacklist-is-secretly-bankrolled-by-major-jewish-federation-1.6528545
[12] https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/19/middleeast/trump-troops-syria-npw-analysis-intl/index.html
[13] https://explorer.usaid.gov/cd/ISR
[14] https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/domino-theory
[15] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/references-to-jews-in-the-koran
[16] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/01/14/south-korea-north-korea-relations-no-enemy-designation/2578073002/
[17] https://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-liberty_tuesoct02-story.html
[18] https://www.military.com/defensetech/2013/12/24/report-israel-passes-u-s-military-technology-to-china
[19] https://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/Fac/Adler/Politics/Rubin-article.htm


Published:
No new overviews this round. My focus will be on counter-rebuttal and clarifying the stories of our two cases. Next round, I will evaluate them against each other.

1. Conflict and Leverage

Con treats my arguments as, effectively, supporting the status quo. In doing so, Con fails to address both my case and the basic point being made here:

With leverage, there exists the means to modify actions. Without leverage, those means disappear.

So, when Con argues that the status quo provision of aid has not modified Israel’s behavior, I agree. The problem is that these provisions have, essentially, been blank checks. The US has not previously attempted to use their military aid as a tool to affect Israeli policy. The US could still do so. Clearly, Israel values that support, so altering it incentivizes them to behave differently.

Con’s only response to this is to say that this won’t happen because pro-Israel organizations ensure that the amount of money we send to Israel doesn’t drop. Two problems with this.

Firstly, fiat exists in debates for a reason. Our aim is not just to discuss what could happen, but also what should. Both I and my opponent have defined clear positions to compare two worlds, one where the Israel-US alliance ends and all aid stops, and one where the aid continues and can be actively modified. We can’t argue about what those worlds would look like if we’re stuck arguing about the procedural votes involved in making those worlds possible.

Secondly, if we’re talking about which of our plans is more likely to pass through Congress, Con’s is far less likely to do so. It is absolute and completely disregards the interests of Israel and its supporters. Those pro-Israel groups have absolutely no reason to allow his policy to pass because it severely alters our relationship with their country. My plan only allows for smaller changes to the military financial support they receive. If this debate does involve feasibility, Con’s plan is far less likely to be implemented than mine, meaning he loses all his solvency while I only lose some of mine.

Con talks about anti-BDS legislation, which is non-unique. Con isn’t stopping anti-BDS legislation, and neither am I. Even if we ended our alliance and military support for Israel, these policies will likely still exist, as the very same Jewish groups that lobbied for them to pass will still exist. Con isn’t reducing their influence, so Con isn’t changing any other facet of how they function.

Finally, Con introduces a brand-new facet to his case, and this can only hurt him. He states that “they must fix their obviously expansionist policies if they want us to begin aiding them again.” This is such a vague standard that I hardly know where to begin. To make this simpler, let’s assume Israel is expansionist (a big assumption in its own right).

Con does not specify what will return to them if they alter course. Will they receive the same amount of military aid they do now? Some of it? More of it? Will we re-start our alliance? Will there be new terms? Which country gets to define those?

Con provides no specifics on the milestones that Israel must meet in order to achieve this uncertain outcome. Do they have to stop defending settlements in the West Bank? Do they have to force the people living there to abandon those settlements? Do they have to surrender any and all land gained since 1946, including the Golan Heights?

Con provides no other conditions, despite absolutely none of his case being about Israeli expansionism. Con’s metrics for returning their support have nothing to do with past wrongs done to the US, yet apparently those are the basis for ending the alliance and support in the first place. Why is Con using a different basis for returning that support to them?

Con includes no promises of a long-term deal stemming from any change in Israeli policy. What reason does Israel have to take any action if the US can simply decide to remove funds and support based on arbitrary problems it perceives in the future?

Even if we assume all of this is settled, Con includes no provision of funds in case of either financial or military emergencies in Israel and his case only allows for a return of funds after meeting an incredibly high threshold. Con’s case cannot bring about gradual change in Israeli policy, and he provides absolutely no reason to believe that Israel would ever make dramatic changes to the way it deals with its settlements and other land holdings. He sets a standard that will never be met and claims it functions as leverage when all it actually does is function as a slap in the face. Con’s creating a pressure cooker, and no reason to believe that the stress he’s generating will ever be alleviated, yet he tells you that all will end well. On my next point, I will explain why it won’t.

2. Israeli Benefits

Con makes two responses here, and one is a big mistake. I’ll come back to that.

Con argues that Iran and Syria are not threats to Israel because they signed the NPT. Even if they were abiding by the treaty (both Iran and Syria are reported to be building nuclear capabilities despite having signed it [38¸39]), my point included chemical and biological weapons, to which the NPT does not apply. Even though they acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention, Syria still manufactures and uses them.[40] Both countries have declared chemical weapons production facilities.[41] Both countries present credible threats for the use of biological weapons with active facilities and capabilities available.[42, 43] This means the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare against them continues to grow. That’s going to be important in a minute.

Onto the mistake. Con argues several times that Israel is fully capable of outdistancing all its neighbors militarily, ensuring that they can continue to exercise their military might without US support. I’m honestly shocked he’s admitting to this because it’s far worse for his case. Con fully nullifies his own solvency: if Israel can still do whatever it wants militarily in the region, then they can and will continue to pursue their own ends in the absence of US support. Even if this knocks out my solvency on leverage, this is absolutely devastating to Con’s case because the entirety of his argument rests on how bad an actor Israel is. If Israel continues to be a bad actor, then all Con could possibly achieve with his case is the benefit of not being tied directly to their actions, which is kind of hard to avoid when: a) we have bases all over the Middle East, b) we are wholly invested in the success of Iraq and Afghanistan, and c) we’ve been allied with them for decades and supplied them with the means to build their military might. I’ve said this several times already, but other countries will always perceive us as tied to the fortunes of Israel, regardless of whether we distance ourselves from them now.

But, to be clear, Israel will not continue to be a bad actor. They will be a far worse one. Con is taking away their most substantial lifeline, a force that includes a massive nuclear umbrella and the strongest military in the world as deterrents. Israel is going to feel the threat of those nuclear, chemical and biological weapons all the more in the absence of US backup, and they have a history of both invading other countries and destroying facilities to ameliorate these problems. Con’s case makes them desperate, and desperation is far likelier to push them to take rash actions against major threats like Syria and Iran, the effects of which will range far beyond Israel alone. They are already threatening both nations, though they have yet to take action.[44, 45] War in the Middle East will affect the globe, and Con is creating an environment where that is far more likely to happen.

3. Regional Benefits

My previous responses show the flaw in Con’s responses here. Even if Israel remains the strong horse in the region, the perception on both their part and on the part of the countries around them that their status has weakened is sufficient to bring about the harms I’ve already discussed. Beyond that, Con drops that this weakens the perception of the US, turning us into an untrustworthy ally in the eyes of all our allies. As I stated last round, this damages our relationships with every one of our allies, which may lead many of them to distance themselves from the US in the process.

One other point I do feel the need to mention here as well is why we care about the regional effects. Saying that the only element in this equation we care about is the US is incredibly short-sighted. The economic disaster that would result from a further destabilized Middle East would be damaging in its own right, but the subsequent impacts on global security would be devastating. The more the US pulls out of the region, the more other world powers like China will rush in to fill the power vacuum, increasing their control over global energy reserves and leading to further and more damaging trade wars.[46] Even if you don’t care about the effects on other countries, we are45 still part of the world they inhabit, and we are still affected by their choices. Any chance at this kind of instability far outweighs the benefits of avoiding a local conflict or two.

4. U.S. Benefits

Finally, we turn to what the US stands to lose by exiting this relationship. Con argues that Israel’s personal interest in the conflicts invalidates the benefits of their support, but this is absurd. Motive doesn’t obviate the objective help they provide. It doesn’t matter if Israel had its own reasons for supporting the invasion of Iraq – it was our war, and they made it a lot easier to run it. They used their own resources to support us, doing so at their expense. That’s the reality.

On trade relationships, Con seems to be missing my point. Whether we affect these trade relationships directly through his policy is irrelevant – he’s rescinding a decades’-long alliance and unilaterally withdrawing support without any discussion or a clear means to retrieve them. How, exactly, does Con think Israel will respond to that loss? Does he honestly think they won’t retaliate? This is one form of retaliation: restrictions on trade. Our own president has been known to do that recently, and Bibi could take a page from his book.[47] Economic backlash is a probable outcome of severing ties like this, meaning that the loss of these economic resources is a harm of Con’s case.

On trust, Con’s claim that we “will no longer need this so-called ‘alliance’” if/when we leave the Middle East behind is incredibly short-sighted. Like I said before, Con provides no reason to believe that were are abandoning our bases,[48] does not acknowledge that we are still firmly tethered to the fortunes of Iraq and Afghanistan,[49] neglects to mention our continued occupation of those two countries,[50, 51] and assumes that any withdrawal in the short-term is permanent (because the Middle East is just so stable and unimportant, isn’t it?).[52]

On expense, this is very simple. It’s been Con’s argument that we’re dumping a whole lot of money on Israel in the form of military support, yet we’re recouping 95% of the money they receive. To be clear, that’s 95% of $3 billion, leaving just $150 million, a drop in the proverbial bucket. Considering so much of that “military industrial complex” in Israel is dedicated to assisting us in our own military efforts abroad, I would say Con is being more than a little hasty in declaring it to be so damaging. That support is responsible for trillions of dollars in savings during conflicts across the Middle East over the past decades. Con can keep trying to sell this story that Israel is solely responsible for the Iraq War or for all anti-American sentiments in the Middle East, but as I showed last round, that story is overly simplistic at best and outright false at worst. This support, what we have both directly and indirectly received from them over the years, is a clear and unmitigated benefit. We can’t get that benefit by transferring this support to other countries, and we certainly won’t get it if we give that support to no other country. Simply paying down our debt does nothing to cut our costs, and as our defense budget will have to balloon without this support, Con is guaranteeing that our debt will increase in the long term.

On intelligence, Con is so fixated on the failure over WMDs that he’s ignored all the evidence of useful intelligence I presented. Avoiding improved explosive devices, addressing unconventional weapons and cyber-threats, counter-terrorism, the list goes on. Weigh Con’s single piece of intelligence, which was likely twisted to suit Netanyahu’s interests anyway, against the deluge of actionable information the US has received from Israel over the years, and you see just how much this assistance matters.

Finally, on military technology. Con concedes that their military technology is advanced enough to be effective in any conflict, and that’s the point. The value I’m talking about here is to the US, which has developed incredible military technologies working in concert with Israel. Prominent among these is an amazing missile defense technology called “The Arrow,” which has provided important technical and operational data for similar systems being developed in the US and is being directly incorporated into US anti-ballistic capabilities in Europe.[53] Defensive systems like this are what ensure that missiles launched by Hamas don’t do harm to the Israelis. There are many other similarly important technologies that could not have been developed without Israel’s assistance,[54] and any future advancements will be lost if we rescind our alliance.
 

Round 4
Published:
For the conclusion round, no new points are allowed to be asserted as part of an argument. New arguments may be used only to rebut new claims asserted in the third round. In this round, I shall iterate my main points that I wish everyone to take away as well as include a rebuttal of round three.

Wars:

The Iraq War, for which some basis for invading was based off of doctored Israeli intelligence, has added over $1 trillion to our debt[14][15]. This war also resulted in the death of 4,541 brave American patriots[16].
I
sraeli planes bombed the USS Liberty knowing that it was our ship three hours before the attack. It was covered up to preserve positive public opinion of Israel[17].

We are involved in Syria because of Israel’s interests. According to Hillary Clinton’s emails, the best way to ensure safety for Israel is to topple Assad[2]. This is why they sent billions of dollars to Syrian rebels and ISIS under the Obama administration[27]. Israel is also the reason we are keeping troops in Syria[18].

We will continue to be entrenched in unending wars based on ideology, similar to the Cold War. The only difference is that these wars are based on religious incompatibilities[19]. The cold war cost us $5.8 trillion over 45 years[20]. We don’t want another ideological war to fight on behalf of another country.

Our funding of Israel comes in the form of military weapons. The military industrial-complex incites wars to make money off weapon sales[21].

Influence:

My opponent stated that Israel doesn’t lobby as much as Germany, South Korea, Canada, and Japan, yet Israel receives over 96x the money of all four combined[22].

AIPAC, the main Israel lobby, pays millions of dollars to stack Congress[23]. Israel spies on US citizens and doxxes college students to prevent them from getting jobs[2]. Anti-BDS legislation is an unprecedented infringement on the private sector that prevents boycotts, divestments, and sanctions of Israel by private companies through fear of losing contracts and receiving denouncement[24].

My opponent says that China may be a future enemy in round two, yet he doesn’t condemn Israel for sending them US secrets for a decade and having a missile technology contract with China[11]. Pro condemns the US giving information on terrorists to Russia in round 2, although it would help fighting global terrorism. Israel’s arming of our potential future enemy is unlikely to promote world peace.

Israel is more wealthy than their neighbors and they have the 8th best military in the world[4][25]. They also have a nuclear program that will deter future attacks[9][10]. So, we shouldn’t fund a military that is already one of the best in the world, especially if they can afford to maintain it.

Harms our reputation:

Cold War spending on Israel and our continued presence in the Middle East has been very damaging to our reputation in these countries[26].

Final rebuttal:
Point 1

My opponent states that an incentive system could be used as leverage for their actions, but this is not possible for the next eight to nine years[1]. We have given them a blank check, as you have noted, which is something that we both disagree upon. Since we are locked into a ten-year $38 billion deal, that is not an option. We disagree, however, on the methodology of changing their actions. In the meantime, it would be best if we threaten to rescind our alliance to shape their military actions with neighbors and mistreatment of US citizens through the Canary Mission[2][3]. The lobbying would have to be hindered in some manner to be able to accomplish this. One way could be to abolish lobbying, which is something I have always been a fan of. It eliminates distributed costs and concentrated benefits. This would also be able to stop unconstitutional anti-BDS legislation from being enforced[5]. You mention that this is not unique legislation, but your failure to cite any examples brings this claim into question.

My future does involve severing ties with Israel completely, it is ONLY if they do not adjust their actions. It would involve stopping a regular supply of funds, with only a small potential for emergency funds. However, as we have both proved, they don’t need it. Their GDP per capita proves they are much richer than their main threats my opponent references: Iran and Syria[4]. You mention that your proposition is more likely to be passed through Congress. As the American public becomes more aware of the facts I have delineated, this may not be the case. Nobody knows what information will come out in the next ten years that could alter our perception of the alliance.

Israel is expansionist since they have increased their land through mainly wars[6][7]. Since you ask for clarification, Israel will receive no aid unless they are in immediate danger of destruction and they prove to be a better asset that doesn’t dox students or doesn’t intentionally drag us into more wars. America and only America will define these terms, as we are paying for this and it should operate primarily in our interests. Isrealis don’t need to abandon settlements, as it would be immoral to force settlers out of their homes. The deed has already been done, but any further expansion would lead to immediate revocation of any alliance that we would possess at the time. This is one of many items that need to be done despite what my opponent states. I also mention the spying, lobbying us into war, and selling American secrets, which must also be fixed. The expansion isn’t the main offense, just one of many. Their expansion just causes extra resentment and war, which is why their expansionism must be abated. I also do not agree to a long-term policy as you would like since it would allow them to revert back to their negative behaviors with much less fear of punishment. Con would like us to appease Israel and allow for gradual change. How long will this change he proposes take? Will
that ever happen? Certainly not in a world in which he allows them to continue lobbying and walk all over of best wishes.

Point 2

My opponent mentions that Israel has basis to fear biological and chemical weapons attacks. However, nuclear weapons are very effective deterrents against using such weapons, and Israel has a large stockpile of nuclear weapons[8][9][10]. I don’t really know why you are shocked at my point that Israel could still defend itself. That is all it could do under my plan: defend itself. Without the US supporting Israel, surrounding states would not allow expansion and would retaliate against any future Isreali aggression without fear of US intervention. You mentioned in round one that we make up a third of their military budget. If we take that away, it would be much more difficult to expand its borders. It is still wealthier than the other nations, but it couldn’t infringe on its neighbors’ territories without a US alliance and money. You then make many claims about potential interests in the region without explaining their significance and providing no sources. Finally, you then state that Israel has a “history of… invading other countries”, and you dare claim they aren’t expansionist.

Points 3&4

In terms of regional benefits, this argument is based on conjecture. With Israel’s strong nuclear program, we can guess that it will deter attacks against them[8]. Con mentions China being a threat in the region, which is a country that Israel has strengthened militarily[11]. I would like to quickly summarize your fourth point. You mention that Israel may impose trading sanctions. We are a huge trading partner for Israel and they need us much more than we need them. We are 37% of their exports and 11% of their imports. They are .82% of our exports and .95% of our imports[12][13]. They would need as much trade as possible without our military aid, so this point seems rather unlikely. Also,again, you seem fine with being complicit in subsidizing the military industrial complex. I don’t care where the money is going, it is a subsidy at the cost of regular Americans and Israel is getting free military technology. The military-industrial complex has incentive to incite wars[13]. Israel’s information on IEDs wouldn’t be needed if we weren’t in Iraq because of them. Also, the man who lied about WMDs (Netanyahu), as you admitted, is currently the prime minister of Israel. Why should we entrust billions of dollars with such a deceptive individual who shows no regard for American lives? Finally, you mention that we will lose out on military technology if they no longer trust us. This is conjecture, but I believe that if we spent that $3.8 billion directly on military research every year, we would probably have the same if not better military technology today.

I would like to thank my opponent one last time for debating me on this subject. Although neither of us are likely to change our minds, I’m glad that we could have a civil debate that has allowed us both to become more nuanced on this important subject. I look forward to having future debates with Pro if possible. I would also like to thank those who took the time to read this debate, and I truly hope that I have changed your perception of our alliance with Israel.

Sources:


Published:
My goal this round will be to crystallize what happened in this debate. There will be limited rebuttal, but I believe my sources from the previous rounds are more than sufficient to support the statements I’ll be making here.

To start, a couple of things to note regarding this topic:

This is the topic my opponent chose. I had no hand in the selection of this topic. He could have been much more general, arguing (for example) that any alliance that does more harm than good to the US should be discontinued. He chose not to do so. He could have, at the very least, presented a case in his first round that included the entirety of his argument. Instead, he has chosen to expand his case all the way into the final round, adding new planks even now. I’ll point to specific examples, but all of them are incredibly abusive.

Similarly, Con could have chosen to specify that the sole impacts that matter are those that relate to the US. The idea that the US should stop caring about the impacts its decisions have on other countries is just baffling – the value of an alliance does not just apply to the US, nor should that value necessarily be elevated above all others. Con conceded in Round 3 that these would put him at a disadvantage, and I agree: ignoring how affecting trade and military relations in one of the most volatile regions in the world is a big problem.

I will come back to these points in my voting issues.
 

1. How does this alliance/support affect the US?

To answer this question, we first need to have some idea of what will change for the US if the alliance ends. I’ve explained multiple times how we are ensconced in the Middle East, and much as it has been Con’s assertion that Israel is the reason for that (I’ll come back to this), it really doesn’t matter. We aren’t closing down our bases, we are continuing to occupy and advise in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we have large monetary interests in the Middle East (oil, anyone?). Con’s only response to all this is that we’re withdrawing slowly from Iraq and Afghanistan, which isn’t really a response. We’re still there, just with less of our forces. Con provides no reason to believe we’re pulling out anytime soon and provides no reason why his case would expedite that process if we were.

A lot of Con’s case has been predicated on the notion that the US will pull out of the Middle East because we will have no reason to be there anymore. This is flat out wrong. As my source [13] shows, we have our own interests in the region, and we were actively selling the Iraq invasion alongside the Israelis. Hell, Con’s own example of the USS Liberty is an example of a massive cover-up that the US actively participated in. The notion that the US has no personal stakes in the region (or Israel) whatsoever is completely false, and yet Con’s case relies on that assumption. The only way US policy changes is if our perception of the Middle East changes, and Con provides no reason to believe that it would.

This leads into the key issues.

A. Monetary Effects

We are still in the Middle East and are we likely to be there for the foreseeable future. Con concedes all the monetary benefits of having Israel as an ally so long as we are present in the region. He concedes the $6-20 billion from trade. He concedes the trillions of dollars Israel saves us in deployment, housing and outfitting. He concedes that 95% of what they receive in aid comes right back to us, effectively negating the costs of aid.

His sole point against this is to say that Israel is dragging us into wars, which cost us money, though that has two problems. One, it requires that there’s a war that they will drag us into, and Con has pointed to none (even his example of Syria is a clear instance where the US has largely stayed absent). Two, it requires that Con establish why we would not enter that war if it wasn’t for Israel, which he has not done. Con has never explained why Israel is the linchpin in this assumed future conflict, and therefore why the US would neglect that conflict in the absence of our alliance. His entire response rests on a set of potential impacts without real world examples.

B. Military Effects

Con concedes the reduced requirement of deployment (meaning reduced loss of life), better management of improvised explosive devices, addressing unconventional weapons, and handling cyber-threats, all of which amount to innumerable lives saved. And that’s without mentioning their intelligence capabilities and military support.

Con places the blame for all US loss of life in the Middle East on Israel. If the US makes a poor decision that results in a loss of life, that’s on Israel for getting us there in the first place. If the US decides to stay longer or increase troop levels in the region, that’s on Israel. No decision to use US troops is ever the fault of the US under Con’s view. We’ve been in Iraq for almost 2 decades, yet Israel still owns that conflict. Imagine that. Israel is not responsible for the moves the US military makes, and much less responsible for its missteps. The loss of life is ours to bear, not theirs.

2. How does this alliance/support affect the international community?

The perception that comes with altering an alliance is essential to this debate, and Con is largely ignoring the logic I’ve provided. I will summarize it here.

A. Alliances

Start by recognizing that ending a decades-long alliance has repercussions. It sends a message that, regardless of what else you might contribute to us, the closest aspect of our support is dispensable. It can be removed at any time, and we can require you to take actions we and many of our other allies would not take in order to retrieve it. That’s not exactly a strong commitment, and other countries will take notice.

This is where Con’s double-standard comes in. Regardless of what he wants to do now that he’s had more time to think about it, his case only ends the alliance with Israel. That’s where his fiat ends. How he’d personally choose to employ this radical view on alliances in general is not the case he presented in Round 1. His case ends a single alliance and all military aid. That’s it. So, when Con now claims that he will allow some unknown amount of emergency funds, he’s abusively back-peddling on a case he presented in Round 1. When he builds an additional plank to his plan in the final round about abolishing lobbying, he’s not only abusive, he’s off topic. Hold him to the case he stated from the outset. That is where it starts and ends.

At best, Con is assuming that a change in this alliance will lead to discussion of other changes, but that sets an extremely vague timeline without a tangible outcome, much less tangible impacts (he does clarify in the final round, but, once again, it’s brand new, expands well beyond what he originally stated,  and incredibly abusive). This makes the decision to disband this single alliance arbitrary, even if he doesn’t perceive it that way. Con isn’t allowing for a period of discussion; he’s not simply threatening to rescind this alliance. He’s rescinding it, with only a vague promise to return it should they meet incredibly vague and steep criteria. It invites criticism about why we’re selecting Israel first and giving everyone else a proper debate and a chance to speak in their defense before acting. Even if Con accomplished this goal, though, it doesn’t obviate my argument. Allies would still be uncertain how to address a newly-picky US that is actively purging alliances in mass.

Let’s take an example from Con’s responses in R3. He states that some countries would not meet the threshold for imposed danger on the US and includes South Korea. He concedes that they dragged us into the Korean War in their defense. I’ve provided evidence that shows North Korea is a threat primarily to its neighbors, and that our involvement there puts us at continuous risk. Con’s only response is that we had other reasons for fighting (he’s dismissed all of mine as irrelevant, so I guess I can do the same for his), and that relations are better than they once were. That doesn’t address the fact that the threat is still present and nuclear. Con’s argument sets an arbitrary standard for what suffices as a threat to the US, and imposes it using flawed criteria, yet he doesn’t expect any of our allies to be concerned? No one’s going to wonder if they’re next? Alliances function with at least the basic mentality that allies trust one another. How is Con ever going to assure our other allies, or convince them to fight for us, if he’s sending the message that pulling us into their conflicts means we will cut them off? He won't, and as such, Con threatens every alliance we have and diminishes their value.

B. Regional Stability

Whether it’s via the leverage point or the strong horse argument, I’ve provided ample reasoning for why Con’s case is a big mistake for regional stability. On leverage, it’s a hand on the tiller. It’s only by having something that can readily be reduced or raised that we can affect individual policies and direct Israel in a beneficial manner. If it takes 8 years to start doing this, that’s still a control that will exist and can be utilized in 8 years. Con is dropping any control from this point forward. On the strong horse, other countries will take notice. The lack of military and financial support from the country with the most of both is a huge shift. Other countries perceive Israel as weaker, and Israel takes on the threat they present alone. It doesn’t matter whether they have nuclear weapons because it hasn’t stopped other nations from inciting them before, and it is even less likely to stop them now when Israel can no longer afford to replace them should they be used. I explained last round how the loss of regional stability damages both the world economy and global stability, making any effects on other countries in the Middle East extremely dangerous to the US and its other allies. Con concedes that harm, and it is by far the most wide-reaching and important impact of this debate. Any potential to throw the region into chaos causes a greater harm than anything Con has cited. Moreover, even if Israel remains the strong horse, the simple absence of the US allows for other world powers like China to come in and build their own seats of power in the Middle East. Con concedes that this will destabilize the region.

Con’s case has no leverage and clearly weakens the strong horse. He’s demanding that Israel meet extremely vague and demanding criteria for unclear benefits. Con’s case actively harms the perception of Israel in the region. Even if Israel can theoretically defeat every other military in the Middle East, the loss of US support means those neighbors still have far more capacity to inflict harm upon Israel, which will increase Israel’s desperation and turn them into a greater destabilizing force in the region, another point Con concedes. His sole response is that their neighbors would only use this reduced capacity to check Israeli aggression. I think that’s incredibly naïve. Many of these countries (as well as terrorist groups in the region like ISIS and Hezbollah) have threatened Israel repeatedly for decades, yet Con would have you believe that they will never act on those threats if given the opportunity.
 
Conclusion:

This debate all comes down to what story is the most convincing. Is it the one that says Israel is solely responsible for every recent US conflict and will actively drag us into others without any US say-so? Is it the one that ends a long-standing alliance based on arbitrary and vague standards without any discussion or debate, threatening stability in the region and of our alliances? Or is it the one that maintains the economically and militarily beneficial relationship, one that we can easily weigh and know will disappear post-cessation? You decide.
Added:
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
#9
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
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>Reported Vote: RationalMadman // Mod action: Not Removed
>Points Awarded: Tied.
>Reason for Mod Action: Votes which do not award points are not subject to review because no standard exists in the COC against by which they can be removed.
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#8
Added:
While I appreciate the vote of confidence, an actual vote would be nice. Your choice, though.
Contender
#7
Added:
I'm not going to bother to write out a full RFD because I don't have the time or the inclination, but Whiteflame won and the other guy lost.
#6
Added:
--> @coal
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>Reported Vote: coal // Mod action: Removed
>Points Awarded: 3 points to Pro
>Reason for Decision: PRO won the debate because he successfully showed that based on what is good for the US militarily and economically, and the international community more generally; is best served by Israel's alliance with the US. Very few of the harms cited by CON were attributable to the US-Israel alliance. Most of CON's rebuttals talked past PRO.
>Reason for Mod Action: To award argument points, a voter must complete all three steps set out in the site's voting policy. To award argument points, the voter must (1) survey the main arguments and counterarguments in the debate, (2) weigh those arguments and counterarguments against each other, and (3) explain, based on the weighing process, how they reached their decision. The voter completes none of these steps. It is not clear how Pro "successfully showed" that Israel is a good ally from this vote due to a lack of analysis of the main arguments and due to a lack of any explicit weighing based on such analysis. While the voter may have performed these steps in their own reasoning, these steps must be detailed explicitly in the vote itself. The voter can find the site's complete voting policy here: https://www.debateart.com/rules
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#5
Added:
--> @bmdrocks21
Sounds good to me. Again, don't intend on introducing new stuff, but I might have more data to present in later rounds.
Contender
#4
Added:
--> @whiteflame
Yeah, if you would like we always have the option to add new points, as long as it isn't the conclusion. Just separate rebuttals and new points to make it clear they are new.
Instigator
#3
Added:
--> @bmdrocks21
I mean, I'm good with R1 being arguments only, but I'd like if we can introduce new points going out to R3 (not that I'm expecting to do that, but I want the option).
Contender
#2
Added:
--> @whiteflame
So, how do you want to do each round? Round 1 will be arguments, then 2 is rebuttal, 3 can criticize rebuttal, then 4 restate main points?
Instigator
#1
#3
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Kiss my goddamn ass.
#2
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
I couldn't see a sufficient resolution for either side. It's a huge subject. Kudos to the debaters.
#1
Criterion Con Tie Pro Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/199cXInpuhaTwU8tGtmaS7XnXPes0Moj5A2U8Emnj0Gc/edit?usp=sharing
Good debate. It took me a while because of school and IRL responsibilities.