Last week, following the PLO's unity deal with terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Paul introduced the Stand With Israel Act. If it had passed into law, Paul's act would have required the US to cut off all funding to the Palestinian Authority, including its security forces. The only way the administration could have wiggled out of the aid cutoff would have been by certifying that the PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad had effectively stopped being the PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad
Paul's conditions for maintaining aid would have required the President to certify to Congress that the PA – run jointly by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PLO –formally and publicly recognized Israel as a Jewish state; renounced terrorism; purged all individuals with terrorist ties from its security services; terminated all anti-American and anti-Israel incitement, publicly pledged not to engage in war with Israel; and honored previous agreements signed between the PLO and Israel.
Paul's bill was good for America. Maintaining financial support for the Palestinian Authority in the aftermath of the PLO's unity-with-terrorists deal constitutes a breach of US anti-terror law.
Financing the PA also harms US national security. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are financed by Iran. So by funding the PLO's PA, which just united its forces with theirs, the US is subsidizing Iran's terror network.
Ending US financing of the PA would certainly be good for Israel. Indeed, just by sponsoring the bill Paul has helped Israel in two critical ways. He offered Israel friendship, and he began a process of changing the mendacious narrative about the nature of the Palestinian conflict with Israel to one based on the truth.
By extending his hand to Israel, Paul gave Israel an opening to build relationships with political forces with which it has not traditionally had close ties. Because most of Israel's supporters in Washington support an interventionist US foreign policy, isolationists like Paul have generally either stood on the sidelines of the debate, or in light of their desire to beat a quick retreat from the region, they have been willing, even happy to support the Arabs against Israel and blame Israel's supporters for getting the US involved in the Middle East.
Despite the protestations of AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups, it is far from clear that Israel would be worse off if it stopped receiving US aid. Indeed, it is likely that Israel's economy and military strength would both be enhanced by the strategic independence that an aid cut-off would bring about.
Yes, Paul is a complicated character. But that doesn't make him Israel's enemy. His bill was an act of friendship. And Israel can use more friends in Washington who actually do things that help it rather than suffice with declaring their support for Israel while standing by as its reputation is trashed.
The day after Paul introduced his bill, AIPAC came out against it. AIPAC opposed the bill, according to the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, (who herself violently opposed it), because its leadership believes that the PA security forces play a key role in fighting Hamas.
So a week after the Israeli government formally ended negotiations because the PA supports terror, AIPAC opposed ending US aid to the PA because, AIPAC claimed, it fights terror.
For her part, Rubin railed against Paul's initiative claiming that it was "a phony pro-Israel bill."
Paul submitted his bill for unanimous consent in order to fast track it to a vote and into law. AIPAC convinced some senators to vote against Paul's bill, and so killed it.
In an interview with Newsmax's Steve Maltzberg after the vote, Paul attacked AIPAC saying, "I think the American people, if they knew that [AIPAC opposed his bill], would be very, very upset and think, you know what, those people are no longer lobbying in favor of America and Israel if they're not willing to put restrictions on aid to Palestine."
In other words, Paul was saying, it is time to move on, and those who insist on acting as though nothing has changed since 1994 are not behaving as one would expect Israel's friends to behave.
And he is right.
Paul may be a cynical opportunist. But that's better than a messianic that prefers to believe that Israel is the devil than accept that the Peace Fairy doesn't exist.
And yes, his refreshing embrace of the truth as the basis for US policymaking makes him a better friend to Israel today than AIPAC that refuses to accept the truth (and like him, failed to support additional sanctions against Iran).
Rand Paul told Fox News after his bill failed to pass that he will not abandon the fight against US aid to the PA.
We must hope that he is true to his word.