- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2019


Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar has made international headlines by suggesting, slyly and without naming names, that America’s historic support of Israel is tantamount to American lawmakers’ “allegiance” to a foreign nation.

As if.

The money trail says otherwise.

After all, if allegiance is defined by financial, political and humanitarian aid — well then, America’s not just tied at the hip to Israel. America’s in cahoots with Afghanistan, Jordan, South Sudan, Syria — oh my gosh, predominantly the Muslim-dominated nations.

That’s according to the U.S. Agency for International Development figures.

Yes, Israel receives U.S. economic aid. But how ‘bout those other nations?

The top recipient nations of the $21 billion America provided via USAID in 2017 — and the $11 billion that comprises the partial report for 2018 — were, in order, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Jordan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Syria, Kenya, Yemen, Pakistan and Iraq.

According to the U.S. State Department, these countries, with the exception of Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan, are either declared Muslim governments or possessed of majority Muslim populations. Does that mean America, with a founding rooted on Judeo-Christian principles, has turned its allegiance to Islam?

Does that mean the politicians who vote in favor of providing these countries U.S. tax-dollar aid have secretly pledged allegiance to these foreign countries?

That’s just USAID.

“U.S. foreign assistance is managed by a complex ecosystem of agencies, with more than twenty federal agencies involved in either funding or implementing foreign aid policy,” the Council on Foreign Relations reported.

The Department of Defense provides military assistance to overseas’ governments; the Department of Health and Human Services provides medical assistance; even the Treasury Department kicks in with aid to global financial groups.

“There is also a plethora of other agencies and autonomous organizations, including the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Peace Corps, and the African Development Foundation,” all of which use U.S. dollars to send to foreign nations, CFR.org reported.

And lookie here: While more than 200 countries receive U.S. dollars, the money “disproportionately goes to a few,” namely, in 2016, to Iraq ($5.3 billion), Afghanistan ($5.1 billion) and then — third on the list — Israel ($3.1 billion).

So by the numbers, in 2016, Iraq and Afghanistan received more foreign aid than Israel from America.

“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign nation,” said Omar, in widely criticized remarks that suggested pro-Israel lawmakers were putting a foreign country first, America second.

Well if money talks, if money is the practical application of showing political support — and it is — America’s “allegiance,” if anything, would seem to side with Iraq and Afghanistan, more than Israel. America’s “allegiance” would seem to side with Muslim-dominated countries, not the Jewish state.

And on that score, maybe Omar’s right; maybe this is something America should indeed “talk about” and reconsider.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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