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August 30, 2005

NPR Caller Perpetuates Misinformation About U.S. Aid to Israel

It's a staple of anti-Israel propaganda to manipulatively overstate U.S. foreign aid to Israel.

Such misinformation was perpetuated by "Carla from Sacramento," a caller to NPR's All Things Considered on Aug. 24.

Without being challenged or corrected by host Neal Conan or any of the guests on the program, Carla overstated U.S. aid to Israel by billions of dollars:

We've been enormously generous with the state of Israel, giving them over $100 billon in foreign aid alone, and another several hundred billion in military aid to facilitate their occupation.

... our foreign aid to Israel, not including military and so forth, this year, is $5 billion, with a 'B.'

When asked later why these erroneous comments were allowed to pass without challenge, an All Things Considered employee explained that the topic was "outside the realm of the guests' expertise." (The featured guest at the time was Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.)

The employee asserted that NPR would not correct Carla's severely overstated figures because, she said, listeners don't expect people calling in to be experts.

NPR has not corrected the error. So for those who want the facts:

According to numbers from the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. has provided Israel with about $36.5 billion—not "over $100 billon"—in non-military assistance since 1949; another approximately $60 billion in loans and grants—not "several hundred billion"—has been provided for military aid.

This year, not including military aid, the U.S. is slated provide Israel with $410 million—not "$5 billion with a 'B.' "

Posted by at August 30, 2005 10:56 AM


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