APPLIED PHILOSOPHY

The Libertarian Case for Israel

At a mainstream libertarian’s first glance at this title, a loud “TAXATION IS THEFT; AMERICA FIRST” chant would be an expected response. While I will dissect and debunk the notion that all taxation is theft, let us work with the premise that the 0.5 percent of U.S. tax dollars going to Israel is in fact, theft. With this premise, you would have to ignore that most of the 0.5 percent is spent back on America’s economy, overlook the outstanding Israeli innovations from which America benefits, and disregard that Israel, as a sovereign state, represents the very essence of liberty. Clearly, this is a ridiculous position to have, but alternatively, supporting Israel is the more reasonable position.

Is it intellectually consistent to complain about 0.5 percent?

In the December of 2017, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit (SAS). At SAS, I ran into many types of people, ranging from self-identified classical liberals to “MAGA” worshippers. Among the diverse crowd, there seemed to be a strong presence of libertarians who were not opposed to the idea of supporting Israel, but were more aligned with cutting off all financial support to Israel, because “taxation is theft.”

While the site of a crowd of teenagers wearing suits and MAGA hats was comical at the least, it was frightening on many other levels. The first and foremost was the groupthink of putting Trump on a pedestal. While I agree that libertarians and conservatives are correct in praising Trump for breaking the traditional position of presidents with his “drain the swamp” attitude, it was more than concerning to see so many young “advocates” put a politician, and not a policy, on a pedestal. Then I wondered, do they all truly believe taxation is theft? Can they all define theft? On another level, the groupthink was frightening because not once did the libertarians who advocated to pull all 0.5 percent of our national taxes out of Israel mention cutting Medicaid or Medicare, which amount to over 25 percent of our budget. I pondered if it’s intellectually consistent to ignore the government’s fiscal irresponsibility when it comes to social programs, but to be so adamant about cutting such a minuscule percentage of our budget for the sake of a groupthink slogan. Would it be absurd for libertarians to set their site on “draining the swamp” rather than pulling aid from Israel? And even if it is absurd, would it be unreasonable to eliminate any double standards against Israel, and protest for the government to stop funding our northern neighbor’s military, as well as the United Nations? If we are working towards “America First,” then let’s at least be intellectually consistent.

Not all taxation is theft

For a second, let’s pretend that this 0.5 percent of our budget is an enormous deal that we should investigate. We should consider where this money is going. When you take out the 75 percent of the military portion that Israel must spend back on America, Israel focuses on research and development. Some of the more outstanding Israeli innovations lie in technology, such as the revolutionizing drip irrigation, the culture-changing NBA tracking cameras, outstanding navigation systems such as Waze, groundbreaking cancer research, and not to mention the plethora of Middle East intelligence that is provided to the United States. In the words of Ben Shapiro at SAS, “Theft is theft when you don’t receive anything in return. It is up to the individual then, to decide if they are receiving anything back.” That being said, at a price of less than one percent of our national taxes, it’s difficult to see this as theft, but rather an investment.

Israel is a state representation of liberty

To make this fair, and to avoid anyone yelling “whitewashing” or “pinkwashing,” let’s put aside that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that does not systematically oppress, or kill anyone based on their religion, sex, race, sexual orientation, or nationality.

It’s a fact that in 1947, the United Nations came up with the partition plan, which would have made an Arab and Jewish state in Israel. It’s also a fact that the Arabs opposed this resolution and declined to have a state if it meant the Jewish people having a state. It’s also a fact that in 1948, the English military was in the process of pulling out of the British Mandate of Palestine, and Israel declared independence. Finally, it’s a fact that in after the declaration of independence in 1948, Egypt’s spontaneous act of aggression in 1967, and an Arab league surprise attack on Yom Kippur in 1973, Israel not only endured multiple ambushes from Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, but gained land each time. Given these facts, it’s without a doubt that Israel has the legal right to exist, via the Right of Conquest. For this reason, Israel has every right to exist and every cent they receive only protects their existence from the external forces such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, the United Nations, and internal threats such as the Palestinian Authority and terror attacks. If the United States stopped funding and supporting Israel, and let the state of liberty perish, the aftermath would be unimaginable. This disregards the fact that Israel is the only country dividing a rampant Hezbollah from attacking our NATO ally, Greece. An attack like this would ignite a war, causing America to become involved, and causing the U.S. to spend more money and lives.

The almost negligible 0.5 percent of our taxes defend the life and liberty of millions of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Israelis. Furthermore, as libertarians, we are pro-life, pro-liberty, pro-justice, and therefore should have a vested interest in supporting Israel.

 

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