Why Does the United States Give So Much Money to Israel?

The two countries just signed a new military-aid deal—the biggest pledge of its kind in American history. It have may seemed inevitable, but the record-setting moment is also rife with irony.

The pact, laid out in a Memorandum of Understanding, will be worth $38 billion over the course of a decade, an increase of roughly 27 percent on the money pledged in the last agreement, which was signed in 2007.

.. young Americans are far less sympathetic toward Israel than their older peers: A 2014 Gallup poll found that only half of those aged 18 to 34 favored Israel in the Israel-Palestine conflict, “compared with 58 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds and 74 percent of those 55 and older.”

.. Bernie Sanders, who was extremely popular among young people during the Democratic primary season, controversially criticized Israel, winning “applause and cheers” from the audience at one debate for saying, “If we pursue justice and peace, we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.”

.. The new money is an attempt to pacify Israeli concerns about continued threats from Iran, she added.

 .. The money is also an attempt to satisfy congressional Republicans.
.. The deal also directs more money back toward the United States.  It eliminates a provision in the previous aid agreement that allowed Israel to spend 26 percent of its Foreign Military Financing on weaponry and other resources produced within Israel, rather than in the United States—a provision intended to help Israel build its own defense industry.

Five or Six Things I Didn’t Know About Brad Pitt, by Marlon James

Musings from the Man Booker-winning author after his first
meeting with one of the biggest — and nicest — stars on the planet.

“I’ve gone into areas of third-world countries where people have suffered the most, but those people always seem to have the biggest laugh,” he says. As a Jamaican native who has witnessed quite a few third-world missions, I tell him that sometimes our biggest laugh is directed at foreign do-gooders who really have no idea how to fix our problems. “I’ve been one of those at times,” he admits. “But you’ve got to start somewhere. You start with your best intentions, understanding the world as you do. And then you get in and you see that it’s much more complicated than you could possibly imagine. Our failings in foreign policy have always been to think that we can place our ideas on another culture, while not really understanding the other culture.”

.. Someone once famously said that he is a character actor trapped in a leading man’s body

.. We have this great line in ‘The Big Short,’ ” he says, referring to the Oscar-winning film about the global financial crisis of 2008, which he produced. “When things are going wrong and we can’t find the reason for it, we just start creating enemies.” I mention that when creating those enemies, we often look no further than what’s right in front of us. Gays, for example. “Or illegal immigrants,” he says.

.. “You gotta understand,” he says, “that it’s also in our DNA. Most Americans don’t have time to watch CNN and Fox and Al Jazeera. They’re trying to make the rent, get the kids fed, they’re tired when they get home and they want to forget about everything. And so suddenly when this voice comes in — and it doesn’t have to be a voice of substance — saying he’s fed up with all of this, that’s the part that hooks into the DNA.”

.. “What does he even mean, take our country back? Would someone please explain that to me?”

.. Gibson movies typically do one thing really well: violence. “Oh, extremely well,” Pitt says. “ ‘Apocalypto’ is a great film.”

.. The bad thing about playing an interview slow and loose is that you’re never sure how to end it.


A Man On A Mission: Give A True Count Of The Toll Of Mental Illness

“With our assumptions, the actual result is that 32 percent of global disability is a direct result of mental illnesses,” Vigo says. Another way to think about it is this: The original analysis blames a fifth of all disability on mental illnesses. The new analysis blames nearly a third of disability on mental illnesses.

.. Vigo’s bottom line is that the 0.4 percent of health aid dollars that go to helping countries deal with mental illnesses is not enough. “You cannot deal with 30 percent of the disability and 13 percent of the disability plus death with only 0.4 percent of the funds.”

In Defense of Philanthrocapitalism

The U.S. government spends less on aid to the world’s poor every year than Americans spend on candy.

.. In inflation-adjusted terms, the budget for the National Institutes of Health is lower now than it was a decade ago, and late last year Senator Lindsey Graham warned that budget pressures could put anti-malaria funding “at risk.”