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How would you feel, if... UPDate were an Israeli and found out that 53 percent of the campaign contributions to your political leaders came from foreigners. Such contributions are illegal in the United States, but not in Israel. Still, wouldn't you wonder how much influence outsiders have on the policies of your country, or whether foreigners favor politicians who align with their views but not yours?Haaretz reports the breakdown of these contributions among Israeli politicians: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised 96.8 percent of his NIS 1.2 million in campaign contributions from foreign donors...." Netanyahu came in second beaten out by the minister for strategic affairs who raised 100 percent of his campaign contributions from abroad. The 550 foreign donors, largely Americans, contribute five-and-a-half times more than Israelis themselves.Could an Israeli write this off as a form of foreign investment? Or would she be deeply troubled by the implications for Israeli domestic and foreign policies. Mondoweiss points out that one of Netanyhu's biggest American donors also supports settler projects in the West Bank.UPDATE: Here is a short youtube video on Foreign Monday and U.S. Elections pointing out how Citizens United has made way for foreign money in U.S. elections.

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



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Now if we could collate the Israeli donor list with the Romney donor list before Nov. 6 we would know something about bombing Iran.

One would think this is against U.S. law, but we allow Americans to contribute to elections in other U.S. states But I ain't no lily. I once sent a few dollars to John Glenn's campaign and still feel guilty. That should also be against the law.I wonder if the TV news channels will report this. I don't think Americans realize that there is a real possibility of war with Iran because of Netanyahu's madness.


Thanks, Ms. Steinfels - always follow the money. And you wonder why there shouldn't be daylight required between US policy and the state of Israel.The wisdom of Eisenhower in 1956 is a vision lost by the Republicans - doubt many Republicans even know that narrative. Unfortunately, the R party today has also lost the justice of Lincoln; the economic populism of T. Roosevelt; the foreign policy dariing of Nixon's China initiative, or even the flexibility of Reagan (he was no dogmatic politician or world leader).

Bill, today's Republican party has also lost Theodore Roosevelt's commitment to the environment. Privatizing our national parks would be just the Tea Party's cup of tea.

When we connect the dots in this scenario, it's easy to see how private U.S. money, passed along to foreign political candidates, has the potential to influence if not dictate U.S. foreign policy and possible military involvement elsewhere.If dumb ol' me can see this link, what is it with Americans in general?(i mean, our armed forces do offer employment to young'uns with little/no career prospects, but...)

So far as I can tell, it is the U.S. military (Joint Chief Martin Dempsey in the lead) who are most resistant to an attack on Iran. Guess they don't have to raise campaign cash.

I find it extremely interesting that when the generals are pro-war the super-liberals never stop trumpeting the fact, but when the generals are anti-war few liberals take the time to note it. Thanks, Ms. S.

This explains a lot of the intransigent posturing of most Israeli governments over the years, especially the Likud.And for that matter, much of the politics in America about the Israeli-Palistinian conflict.OBTW: There is a part of me that thinks Bibi Netanyahu got an earful from Obama about the amount of the Israeli economy is dependent on US aid just before Bibi publicly stated that the US and Israel have the same position about any prospective military attack on Iran.

Jim J. --Obama is not one to embarass people publicly, but I agree that he might have given Netanyahu some straight talk privately. Evidence? It is not like Bibi to reverse himself without a motive, and what else could have caused the change?

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