Guest commentary: Focus should be on America

It would be naive to ignore the fact that Israel plays an important role in the U.S. presidential elections. With their lobby footholds, Israel is heavily involved in Washington D.C. with their financial power, and ironically, the lobbying system in the United States allows it.

Special interests have been a rising concern for some Americans. The few special interest organizations that have received attention during the recent presidential debates are large domestic companies such as car manufacturers, tobacco companies or health insurance companies. However, special interests driven by foreign organizations and countries have quietly been working behind the scenes with politicians.

Consider what the presidential hopefuls have been up to overseas. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) weren’t just campaigning in the 50 states; they both made politically motivated campaigning trips to Israel. Sen. Clinton (D-NY) has also made numerous visits since 1982, and consistently supported US military aid to Israel. One can only wonder why the candidates are so motivated to support the Israelis who are illegally occupying land and sponsoring state terrorism. Why are these candidates allowing such a group of people to influence American politics? Why is their "vote" so important?

Israel should not be allowed to control American politics. It’s almost a parasite feeding on its prey. Who dropped the ball on this one?

So how are Israel, the presidential elections and the American public all related? While many presidential candidates are trying to appeal to the lobbyists by making visits to Israel or supporting unjustified wars, the American public is suffering a major economic downturn.

Money being spent abroad should be staying home. The American public is facing issues such as healthcare, education and homeland security. According to Sen. Clinton’s website, she supported $2.34 billion in military aid to the Israel government and $120 million for economic assistance in 2007 alone. Divide those two numbers by the population of US and you should get a number greater than $800. How much are you getting back this May with the stimulus package?

The point here is that the United States is funding Israelis at the expense of the American public, and liberty and justice of the Palestinian people. It just doesn’t make sense, because the decision-making is for all the wrong reasons. Lobby organizations are hurting many for a wrongful few.

Therefore, the next President of the United States should be clear-minded and uninfluenced by instruction from abroad. US foreign relations should be conducted with the motivation of solving problems and rejecting ones that waste American taxpayer’s money. If the next President insists on involvement with the Palestinians and Israelis, he or she should be fair and balanced in support, and most importantly clear-minded with a clear conscious. It is vital for such wars to end, and the same effort for future ones to be avoided. A conscious independent president would see that the American taxpayers are unknowingly paying billions of dollars a year to Israelis that raise tensions by illegally occupying land.

So the next time a presidential hopeful visits Israel to gain political support, send them a letter. Question their questionable choice to find time and finances for others while you or your neighbor are facing a foreclosure, a weakening dollar, a weakening economy, no healthcare, unemployment or all of the above. We need to remind them that foreign and special interests do not come before the people of this nation. The first step is to insist special interests, lobbying programs and back room deals be weeded out of the political system. The next President of United States should be voted in by Americans, not by a Zionist Israeli in an illegal settlement in the Palestinian Territory.

Herzallah, a mechanical engineering senior, can be reached via [email protected].

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