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One has to wonder how much better informed Americans would be if we had writers like Ms. No rx synaral Weir working for our newspapers/media outlets instead of those who cover breaking "Balloon Boy" stories..... Obama Administration Takes from American Farmers, no rx synaral Gives to Israel by Alison Weir / October 24th, no rx synaral 2009 Policy change slips in under the radar At a time of financial crisis in the United States in which thousands of Americans have lost their jobs and homes, no rx synaral an Israeli news service reports that President Obama has just signed a presidential memo eliminating a tariff on Israel that protected American dairy farmers and that raised money for the American economy. In addition, no rx synaral according to the Israeli report, no rx synaral US trade authorities have ordered the return of $17, no rx synaral000 to an Israeli export agent for a levy paid for butter produced by an Israeli company. No rx synaral The move comes at a time when American dairy farmers have been facing what industry representatives call a “crisis.” According to the National Milk Producers Federation website, no rx synaral “U.S. No rx synaral dairy producers have been facing unprecedented losses over the past year due to low milk prices and high input costs. No rx synaral The dire economic straits have forced many dairy farmers to exit the industry, no rx synaral oftentimes having to sell their herds or farms.” According to the news report by Israeli wire service Ynet, no rx synaral the Obama memo, no rx synaral which was signed several days ago, no rx synaral removed the import subcharge on dairy products from Israel. No rx synaral The report noted that such levies are important for protecting local production against competing imports, no rx synaral “which put the local production at risk.” The levy is required from most countries that export dairy products to the U.S. No rx synaral According to Ynet, no rx synaral Israeli agricultural attaché Yaakov Poleg was able to convince the US that “the trade agreement between Israel and the US prohibits placing taxes on exports from Israel.” However, no rx synaral this tax was required under previous American administrations. The Ynet report quotes Israeli export agent Dudu Buch, no rx synaral whose company is to receive the $17, no rx synaral000, no rx synaralas taking credit for obtaining this change in US policy. No rx synaral Buch states: “My American colleague was under a lot of pressure and almost gave up, no rx synaral saying that if the American system imposed a protection levy it would last forever.” Buch goes on to say, no rx synaral “I told him that we Israelis can think differently. No rx synaral I turned to the Agriculture Ministry’s representative at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, no rx synaral and the matter was dealt with quickly.” Israel’s attaché was particularly pleased that this change was made through apresidential memo, no rx synaral rather than through normal channels, no rx synaral stating “… in light of the fact that Israel was removed from the list through a presidential declaration, no rx synaral there is no fear that itwill be placed on us again in the future.” According to Ynet, no rx synaral Israeli dairy exports to the US are “constantly on the rise, no rx synaral” a situation that could hurt US dairy farmers. No rx synaral The Obama memo would seem to hinder what the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) described in July a sa broad effort, no rx synaral which included the US Department of Agriculture, no rx synaral “to reverse the current dairy crisis.” The DFA emphasized: “Every initiative we can successfully implement to bolster milk prices makes a vital difference to the dairy farmers who are fighting hard to maintain their livelihoods.” Yesterday the organization mailed out a special cash payment to dairy farmers around the country to help “bridge the gap” to a full recovery, no rx synaral stating that it recognized “that our members have a long road ahead as they heal from this difficult year. No rx synaral Our intent is that this special cash payment will help these dedicated farmers hang on until recovery is in full swing and positive cash flows return.” No one at the US Department of Agriculture contacted for information about this policy change had been aware that it had been implemented. No rx synaral Some suggested that it might be related to a free trade agreement with Israel signed in 1995, no rx synaral but had no information as to why an ongoing US policy had been modified by presidential order. Council for the National Interest President Eugene Bird objected to the change: “Once again we see Israel receiving special treatment, no rx synaral at the cost to Americans. No rx synaral Even American citizens who oppose protective tariffs want to see a fair and equitable policy. No rx synaral Instead we have a policy change — implemented without public input or debate — that benefits one of the richest nations on earth, no rx synaral and a nation that consistently flouts US laws and policies.” Israel is generally rated as having the 17th wealthiest population in the world. Bird also noted that Israel, no rx synaral in violation of US trade agreements, no rx synaral has been blocking some American products entirely. No rx synaral “A serious look should be taken at how Israel has prevented certain American products from being imported into Israel, no rx synaral” Bird said, no rx synaral “for example orange juice.” In addition, no rx synaral Bird pointed out that for decades Israeli policies have prevented Palestinian exports, no rx synaral creating extreme financial hardship that has escalated in recent years. No rx synaral Numerous Palestinian farmers have lost their livelihoods, no rx synaral and unemployment and malnutrition are being seen in Gaza at what the Red Cross has called “devastating” levels. Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew. No rx synaral She can be reached at: No rx synaral Read other articles by Ms. No rx synaral Weir or visit the If Americans Knew website.