Obama exempts Israel from dairy tariffs

Evening News
program date: 
Mon, 10/26/2009


The US dairy industry is in a state of crisis. The average price of milk is half what it was last year, and dairy farmers around the country are suffering unprecedented losses.
Last Wednesday, Barack Obama signed legislation providing three hundred fifty million dollars in emergency subsidies to these farmers.
But at the same time that President Obama was publicly supporting the nation’s farmers, he was secretly engaging in a back room deal to undermine the dairy industry by allowing Israeli dairy products to enter the US untaxed.
Investigative journalist Alison Weir, who broke the story on her website IfAmericansKnew dot org, says that she was surprised to discover this presidential decree – and even more surprised when no one in the Department of Agriculture knew anything about it.
The Israeli Agricultural attaché in Washington, Yaakov Poleg, told Israeli reporters that he managed to convince key figures in the Obama administration to exempt Israel from the dairy tariffs, which work to protect U-S dairy farmers from unfair trade. Poleg was unavailable for comment.
Jim Cron, the Executive Director of the Oregon Dairy Farmer’s Association, explains why these tariffs are important for local farmers:
The Obama administration did not issue a press release or announce publicly that this decree had been signed exempting Israeli farmers from tariffs. But Jim Cron of the Oregon Dairy Farmer’s Association says that this is the kind of thing that hurts farmers in Oregon and around the country:
According to Alison Weir, of If Americans Knew, this type of backroom dealing with the Israeli government in ways that benefit Israel at the expense of US taxpayers is not new or unusual.
The Israeli agricultural attaché in Washington noted that since this change was made through an executive decree, instead of the normal channels, it would be virtually impossible to overturn, no matter what efforts the US dairy farmers make to get a fair price for their goods.


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