Osama bin Laden introduced a wonderful concept into modern politics: seed money. Al Qaeda gives small amounts of money, support, and training to many groups, and some of them bear rich fruit. The concept of seed money allowed Osama to build a large following with moderate funds. Israel can do likewise, financing responsible charity NGOs in Africa, human rights groups’ operations in Muslim countries, global warming anti-oil pseudo-scientists, academics who develop ridiculous political treatises, and grassroots movements, many of whom merely need a hundred computers. Even a small state like Israel has resources incomparably larger than the financing available to NGOs, and can buy them off. If the money runs short, run a Ponzi scheme for Saudi princeling investors.

Israel cannot afford the simple even-handedness of leftists. When human rights watchdogs criticize both Israel and Hamas, Hamas doesn’t care. Westerners also discount the criticism of terrorists and barbarians, and only hear condemnations of Israel. Israel cannot accept even-handed treatment, but needs positive evaluation from influential human rights groups.

Some leftist programs are worthwhile. Introduce a 0.5-1% tax on Jeffrey Sachs’ prescription to finance the most basic food and health programs in Africa. For a billion dollars per year, NGOs will have to sing praises to Israel—and dance to her tune. That money will also buy goodwill in anti-Muslim African countries, following the traditionally peripheral Israeli approach to engaging Africa. The aid might even pay for itself by strengthening Israeli ties with resource-rich African countries.

The Torah speaks of charity strictly to neighbors, though the rabbis expanded the use of charity funds to resident aliens and travelers. An obligation to help Africans, however, is clearly deducible from the Torah. Recall the commandment to help one’s enemy to unload his donkey fallen under the burden. The idea is of disproportional effect: a minor effort ends enmity. Minimal aid to Africans has a similarly disproportional effect. The world wasted half a trillion dollars in Africa in recent decades because the aid was stolen or spent on ambitious rather than emergency programs. Jewish Diaspora organizations send money to Africa with similar wastefulness. The solution is to stop giving the Africans money, which they misuse or steal, anyway. Send them cheap antibiotics and malaria treatments to save a life at below $1. Give them insecticide-treated bed nets. Send Israeli planes to spray DDT on malaria-ridden swamps. Send them only protein-rich soy flour, not any other food, minding the delivery cost per calorie.
Black Africans are backward and cannot form viable nations. They lack a culture of learning and work ethics. Even so, they need not die twenty thousand a day from hunger and malaria. They won’t develop Israeli-level agriculture, but even a basic form of modern agriculture will alleviate the pressure of overpopulation. There is no equality.

Israelis, Americans, or Europeans have no business bettering lives in Africa, but saving those lives cheaply is a valid humanitarian goal.

buy the left