10:29 GMT11 April 2021
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    Washington and Tel Aviv signed a $38 billion agreement on US military assistance to Israel in 2016, with the US committing itself to spending $3.8 billion a year to "bolster Israel's capacity to defend itself against threats in the region and maintain its qualitative military edge."

    Freshman Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has raised eyebrows among Republicans and supporters of Israel after hinting that the US should contemplate reevaluating its aid policy to the Middle Eastern country. 

    "I think it's certainly on the table," the New York congresswoman said, when asked by Yahoo News if she would support a possible cut in US military or economic aid to Tel Aviv.

    "I hope to play a facilitating role in this conversation and a supportive role in this conversation. But I also know there have been people leading on this for a long time, like Congresswoman [Betty] McCollum," Ocasio-Cortez said, referring to a 2017 bill sponsored by McCollum on putting conditions on US aid to Israel.

    AOC also attacked recently-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him a "Trump-like figure" and saying there were "so many ways to approach [the] issue" of Netanyahu's recent promise to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

    The congresswoman's remarks did not escape the attention of her many detractors, who pounced on her "ignorance," and gave her a lesson on why US aid to Israel was "an investment in America's own security."

    AOC's defenders went the other way, agreeing with the idea that US taxpayers should stop forking over $3.8 billion a year to "wealthy Israel." Supporters of the so-called 'Boycott, Divestment Sanctions' (BDS) movement also chimed in with their support, warning the congresswoman that she might face political attacks and charges of anti-Semitism over her stance.

    Others argued that Ocasio-Cortez actually had a "nuanced position" on the issue comparable to that of past US presidents, including Republican ones.

    Former President Barack Obama signed onto a ten-year Memorandum of Understanding with Israel on security assistance for the years 2019-2028 in 2016, committing the US to providing $3.8 billion in aid to the country each year. That's up from the $3 billion committed under the previous agreement. 

    Late last year, President Trump said he was not concerned about Israel's security in the wake of the upcoming US Syria withdrawal, saying the US provided Israel with "a lot more" than $4.5 billion in assistance a year, allowing them to do "a very good job for themselves." The president did not clarify where he got the $4.5 billion figure.


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    aid cut, economic aid, reaction, cuts, military aid, aid, response, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Donald Trump, Israel, US
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