The cost of Israel is more than monetary

Regarding the Dec. 9 "Economic Scene" column "Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US" (Work&Money): If Americans were not constantly subjected to a veritable blitzkreig of pro-Israel propaganda by mainstream press and broadcast news organizations, they might have noticed that, but for the cost of supporting Israel's illegal and brutal occupation of 1967 Palestine, nearly a million unemployed Americans would probably not be losing their unemployment benefits just three days after Christmas.

They might also notice that the Israeli government's request for additional aid, above and beyond the $3 billion to $7 billion it receives annually from American taxpayers, is money that would go a long way toward funding the much-needed repair of America's dilapidated schools (not to mention a host of other infrastructure projects currently on hold), or toward funding prescription drug coverage for older Americans, many of whom must choose between eating and paying bills.

Please continue to publish articles that ask hard questions about the "special relationship" Israel enjoys with the purses and bank accounts of honest, hard-working American taxpayers.
Michael Gillespie
Ames, Iowa

Regarding "Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US": The uncritical account of economist Thomas Stauffer's analysis of the cost of US support for Israel is deeply troubling. Mr. Stauffer's estimate includes the costs of noncompliance with Arabic countries' racist embargo policies, and the costs of private philanthropy. You uncritically accept as a cost to the US the oil embargo imposed by Arab states after 1973.

It is unfair to charge Israel with the costs of foreign aid to Egypt. Are we to blame Poland and Hungary for our economic aid to Russia?

I do not wish to call for censorship of Stauffer's opinion, but it is a disservice not to report any opinions that disagree with his, to report his opinion as fact in the first paragraph only to mention later that it is an "estimate," and, finally, to imply that there is a large groundswell of opinion behind him that is muzzled by fear.

The entire column is simply an amalgamation of insinuation and innuendo, more a Stauffer PR report than a piece of unbiased journalism.
Robert Goldman

In response to "Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US": One can only ask: How much is too much?

If Israel's discriminatory policies and brutal occupation are endangering American interests worldwide and making Israel's enemies our enemies, why are these policies being funded by the people of the United States?

Do the American people and their representatives in Congress understand how their money is being spent?
Peter B. Viering
Stonington, Conn.

Oceanic life is at serious risk

In response to your Nov. 26 article "Charting the seas - sensitively": Only one phrase, "operational spills," was mentioned as a cause of pollution.

Having spent many years at sea as an engineer on tankers and freighters, I know firsthand that cleaning out tanks and dumping the waste of oil debris in our oceans is a significant detriment.

The United Nations should institute regulations to curb this ongoing pollution before we kill our ocean life.

This is a serious international problem that, if not corrected now, will leave a terrible legacy for the coming generations.
Bill Whitman
Clermont, Fla.

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