Many conservatives have been supportive of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his March 3 speech at a joint meeting of Congress was indicative of that support.
But we mustn't forget – or overlook, if you prefer – that the Israeli government is now paying for all abortions performed on women between the ages of 20 and 33.
The Israeli government already provides widespread abortion subsidies to women under 20 and over 40, but the new policy represents a dramatic departure even for a country with notoriously lenient abortion laws.... Abortion is legal in Israel up until the moment of birth, and girls under 17 do not need parental consent....
An estimated 2 million Israeli children have been aborted since Israel's founding in 1948. The country has a population of 8 million.... The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), whose mission is to 'defend life and family at international institutions and to publicize the debate,' had nothing to say. The same was true for National Right to Life, Priests for Life, the American Life League and most others....
Israel receives about $3 billion each year from American taxpayers. About 74% of that is returned to the United States in the form of contracts with American weapons manufacturers. But given the fungible nature of money, and since Israel would buy weapons with money from its own treasury in the absence of aid, the current arrangement amounts to American funding of Israeli abortions.
I asked Human Life International and Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, to comment on the "American taxpayers underwriting abortions in Israel" controversy.
Father Peter West, vice president for missions at Human Life International, wrote:
Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks eloquently and forcefully about Iran's and their proxies' desire to commit yet another genocide against the Jews and eliminate the State of Israel, and he is right that it is necessary to be sober and realistic about the threat if there is to be a hope for an actual diplomatic solution and for stopping such aggression before it is too late to do so. How many times will we say 'Never again' and then stand by as the groundwork is laid for another holocaust, even as we look the other way as atrocities proceed in Sudan, China and North Korea?
But most of the conservatives who support Israel's right to exist and defend itself are already looking away from what the great Jewish doctor Bernard Nathanson, Rabbi Yehuda Levin, and other Jewish leaders have called another holocaust: legalized abortion, which claims tens of millions of lives around the world, and is committed at an alarming rate in Israel.
American pro-life conservatives speak of the democratic and Western virtues of Israel almost without qualification, and although they have a point, it's as if we have forgotten the slaughter that is already well underway. This glaring omission silently undermines our authority to condemn other violence that does, in fact, deserve condemnation.
It is worth repeating: How many times we will say 'Never Again!' and then stand by as atrocities proceed?
Father Frank Pavone wrote:
No money, whether from American tax dollars or from anyone else's, should be used to fund abortions, whether in America, Israel or anywhere else. This is based on another underlying moral imperative, which is that no government can authorize abortion in the first place. No authority on earth, in fact, can authorize the murder of even a single innocent human life.
Once we get into the details of how directly or indirectly a government's foreign aid is funding abortion, those details can be very complex and confusing. And the more steps there are between my payment of the tax and the actual funding of an abortion, the more remote the cooperation may become.
Paying taxes is mandated by Scripture, and aiding other countries is likewise a good, and an expression of human solidarity. We see, however, the parable of the weeds and the wheat repeated over and over again. Good and bad are mixed up in this life, until the last judgment.
That does not mean we compromise or ignore injustice. It simply means we do all we can to give legitimate support to our own nation – and our friends and allies around the world – and to call and work for the reforms that will insure that none of that support goes to the killing of our brothers and sisters in the womb.
It's all so depressing.