I would be fascinated to see someone (someone at The New Republic, perhaps) try to write an article about why this is a good idea:
The new aid to Israel will average $3 billion a year on a sliding scale, an increase of about 25 percent from current figures, to begin in October 2008. That year, American economic aid to Israel, which has a vibrant, growing economy, is scheduled to end. Uniquely, officials said, the new deal allows Israel to spend 26.3 percent of the aid on arms from Israel’s domestic military industry; the rest of the money must be spent on American equipment.
The New York Times‘s Steve Erlanger hints here at the odd specter of a gigantic increase in aide to a country with a vibrant, growing economy. He doesn’t note that the baseline level already made Israel the country’s largest aid recipient. And Israel is, of course, not a poor country. It is, of course, a democracy. But so is Bangladesh — a country with many more citizens and much less money. But not only is Israel’s giant aid package getting substantially larger, it’s “uniquely” going to allow “26.3 percent of the aid on arms from Israel’s domestic military industry.” The standard military aid package requires all the money to be spent on US defense contractors, making it half partially a subsidy to a foreign country, partially a subsidy to American arms manufacturers.
There’s some indication in the article, meanwhile, that Steny Hoyer and other Democrats may raise objections not to this aid package but to the “don’t call it a quid pro quo” complementary package of arms sales to the Gulf monarchies. And thus both parties continue in the quest to be more slavishly in hock to AIPAC.