Stop U.S. Aid to Israel
This silkscreen print is the first poster ever created by an American artist specifically calling for an end to U.S. economic and military aid to Israel. Though first printed in 1988, it is still in print and still causing considerable controversy.
It is the work of Berkeley, California-based poster artist Doug Minkler, who operates an independent silk-screen studio. Over the past twenty-plus years Minkler has created posters on a galaxy of domestic and international topics including anti-tobacco campaigns, the environment, labor rights, Nicaraguan solidarity, U.S. foreign policy issues, and many others. This poster is one of two he has produced in solidarity with Palestine.
The graphic is a chaotic, semi-abstract explosion of visual shards portraying a menacing, almost robotic Israeli soldier in the foreground and ruined homes, a wounded Palestinian and a pool of blood in the background. The black and gray frame denotes ashes, loss, and widespread destruction. Minkler often reinforces his graphics with specific text, as he has done in this case:
In his farewell address, George Washington said, “The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.”
The U.S. government has habitually indulged Israel since its emergence in 1948, and the relationship that has developed between them, according to Minkler, is unhealthy and counterproductive for both of them. It places the U.S. in the position of slave relative to its ally, Israel. America’s inability or refusal to cut off aid, which is used to dig Israel more deeply into a quagmire in the West Bank and Gaza, actually works against Israel’s best interests.
Minkler’s call for an end to U.S. aid to Israel is, ironically, a call of concern: it is not meant to cause Israel’s collapse but rather is meant to cut off the funding that makes possible the occupation that actually threatens Israel’s future.
Questions for A New Democratic Discussion
1) Slaves do not give “aid,” they pay tribute. According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report of October 27, 2000, cumulative U.S. aid to Israel from 1949 through FY 2000 amounted to $81.38 billion dollars. Does this transfer of funds represent aid or tribute?
2) Does the history of America’s economic and military support for Israel amount to nation-building? If yes, why? If not, why not?
3) Has any U.S. president ever threatened to cut off U.S. aid to Israel? If yes, which administration and for what reasons?
4) What would be the likely ramifications for Israeli policy, domestic as well as international, if it lost its annual foreign aid from the U.S.?
5) Is annual foreign aid to Israel a permanent feature of the U.S. budget? If yes, how did that commitment come about? Are there any other countries that receive foreign aid as an annual entitlement?
6) Are there any other countries that support Israel in the way and to the degree that the U.S. does?
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