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March 26, 2020 8:54 am

On Coronavirus and Trade, Israel Is America’s Friend in Deed

avatar by Frank Musmar


A Teva building in Jerusalem, Israel, Dec. 14, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.

The Israeli drug giant Teva has announced that it will be sending drugs to US hospitals — though the drugs are still unproven to treat coronavirus — by March 31, with more to be delivered within a month. “We are committed to helping to supply as many tablets … at no cost,” Teva executive vice president Brendan O’Grady said.

Teva is the world’s leading generic drug manufacturer, employing 43,000 employees around the globe. In 2018, Teva produced 120 billion tablets, with one in nine generic prescriptions in the US containing the company’s products. Despite its global position, Teva says it has a unique understanding of local markets.

Many American detractors of Israel are giving a new airing to the myth that the Jewish state receives the lion’s share of US military aid. This suggestion conjures the demon of an all-powerful Israel lobby that has turned the US Congress into its pawn. Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, are at the forefront of those detractors. Many view Rep. Tlaib and her compatriots within the far-left of the Democratic Party as antisemites, a perception they bolster by repeating the slander about Israel’s aid relationship with the US.

The reality is that the US’ alliance with Israel is based on two key factors: intelligence sharing and ideological unity, according to Michael Koplow, a Middle East analyst at the Israel Policy Forum. The Teva announcement is clear evidence of this ideological unity.

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Israel and the US coordinate scientific and cultural exchanges and have bilateral economic relations. The top five US exports to Israel are unmounted diamonds, semiconductors, civilian aircraft, telecommunications equipment, and agricultural products. The top five US imports from Israel are diamonds, pharmaceutical products, semiconductors, medicinal equipment, and telecommunications equipment. US direct investment in Israel is primarily in the manufacturing sector, as is Israeli investment in the US. The US and Israel have had a free trade agreement since 1985 that serves as the foundation for expanding trade and investment between the two countries by reducing barriers and promoting regulatory transparency.

The politicians, pundits, and IR scholars who accuse Israel and the Israel lobby of extracting the lion’s share of US military aid from a gullible Congress are either themselves hopelessly gullible or know full well that they are spreading lies. Israel receives a small fraction of the real outlays of military assistance the US indirectly gives its allies and other countries. These experts, if they are in fact experts, should also know that 74% of military aid to Israel was spent on American arms, equipment and services. Under the recently-signed Memorandum of Understanding, that figure will be changed to 100%. The experts simply cite the wrong statistics.

Dr. Frank Musmar is a financial and performance management specialist and a non-resident associate at the BESA Center.

A version of this article was originally published by The BESA Center.

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