Turns out, more than 90 percent of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection funds have come from U.S. citizens. But even more astounding is the fact that just three wealthy American families account for about half the total amount donated.
The revelation, as expected, sent conspiracy theorists all over the world into a frenzy, especially those who have long speculated that the Israeli government is controlled by the U.S. government.
However, how true or false is this claim?
As per the records made public by Israel’s State Comptroller and first published by BuzzFeed’s Sheera Frankel, of the total contributions of nearly $259,000 – slightly over 1 million shekels – about $237,000 came from American donors – key word “American” – not the U.S. state officials.
The three families that funded almost half of the money are the Falics of Florida, owners of the Duty Free Americas stores found in airports; the Books of New Jersey, owners of Jet Support Services, Inc.; and the Schottensteins of Ohio, owners of the American Eagle clothing chain.
Sure, these families or businesses have been connected to Israel in some indirect ways and are active donors to Jewish causes, but it certainly doesn’t imply in any way that America is trying to control Israel.
That said, stating that the U.S. government doesn’t try to influence Israeli elections at all is also not correct.
It’s sort of an open secret now that the U.S. government has indeed – in one way or another – meddled in Israeli politics. Most recently, American author and Middle East analyst Aaron David Miller commented on this complicated state of affairs between the two countries in a Daily Beast article.
Starting with how Israelis have been intervening in American politics (and vice versa) for years, Miller explained how the Obama administration will support any other candidate but Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli elections primarily because of his frustrating inflexibility when it comes to peace negotiations.
“Obama’s relationship with Bibi is perhaps the most dysfunctional of any president-prime minister pair in the history of the U.S.-Israeli relationship,” he wrote. “Doubtless John Kerry, too, would like to see another Israeli leader with whom he could dance a real peace process.”
And this makes sense. Netanyahu has made the U.S.-Israel alliance awkward for Obama – especially after he committed democratic suicide last November when he agreed to make Israel an apartheid, Jews-only, state.
To put things in a nutshell, the American government – contrary to what many would believe after reading the BuzzFeed story – is not funding Netanyahu. In fact, it might be the last thing on Obama’s mind.
However, it is still a little perplexing to see that a handful of American citizens have such high interest – and influence – in Israeli political affairs.