Billboards are appearing around the U.S. that proclaim “Israelis invested $57 billion in U.S. Companies.”
These are being placed by “Stand with Us,” a multi-million dollar international organization that advocates for Israel.*
Meanwhile, American taxpayers give money outright to Israel—more than $10 million per day in military aid (see below).
Israeli Investment in Context
Israelis are “investing” money in the US because this is a way to make profits from American markets–that’s what investing means.
This is not a unique thing in a globalized economy. Nor does it mean that whoever invests in the U.S. is an ally or has the well-being of Americans in mind.
Moreover, Israelis have not invested very much in comparison with people from other countries.**
Foreigners invested $2 trillion in US businesses and real estate from 2000-2010, which means that although Israelis received far more U.S. aid than anyone else (see below), they accounted for just 3% of foreign investment in the U.S. In 2010, 84% of foreign direct investment in the U.S. came from eight other countries (Switzerland, the UK, Japan, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Canada).
At the end of the day, all foreign individuals and companies that invest here do so to increase their own profits.
U.S. Aid to Israel and the Cost to Americans
The U.S. gives Israel over $10 million per day (an incredible $3.7 billion per year) in aid, more than we give to any other country on earth. In fact, it is more than we have given to all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean put together, even though Israel is one of the world’s tiniest nations.
On average, Israelis receive 7,000 times more U.S. aid per capita than other people throughout the world, despite the fact that Israel is one of the world’s richest nations.
The Congressional Research Service reports this is sent in a lump sum at the very beginning of the fiscal year. Since the U.S. is operating at a deficit, that means that our government borrows the money and then pays interest on this long afterward.
Israel, on the other hand, receives it in an interest-bearing account, and makes interest on it.
And U.S. support of Israel has cost Americans even more than the aid dollars alone, due to special arrangements and perks for Israel. A top economist who was asked to report on this found that Israel cost Americans $1.6 trillion from 1973 to 2003 alone.
For example, Israel has garnered a special arrangement whereby it can use U.S. aid money to buy weapons from Israeli companies that compete with American companies.
Israel’s Economy Doing Better than U.S. Economy
Meanwhile, as the U.S. economy has been suffering, Israel is faring much better, according to a number of economic indicators.
A 2011 article in Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper reported that many young Jewish American singles are leaving the U.S. for Israel, taking their skills with them. “Many students and young professionals are drawn by the incentive of free tuition for a bachelor’s or master’s degree,” the article stated, comparing this to the United States, where obtaining a degree can put many into significant debt.
Given this situation, it seems time to stop the American blank check to Israel.
Stand With Us has headquarters in Los Angeles and chapters in Israel, Europe, Britain, Australia, and South Africa. The organization has erected numerous pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian billboards around the United States. The “Israelis invested $57 billion in U.S. Companies” is one of them. Curiously, there is no citation to substantiate the claim that up to 200,000 jobs were created by Israeli investment anywhere on the Stand With Us website.
**Additional information on foreign investment in U.S. companies:
- Chinese invested 54 billion in 2012 alone
- Belgians invested 44 billion in 2011 alone
- Largest investors in the US for 2009-2011 (in order): UK citizens, Japanese ($289 billion in investments), Dutch ($240 billion), Germans ($215 billion), Swiss ($212), Canadians ($211 billion), French ($199 billion) and citizens of Luxembourg ($190)
Related story: American Taxpayers Pay and Pay: Subsidizing Israel’s Ascendancy Over the U.S.