Thursday, January 31, 2013
79 Senators Support Sending Advanced Weapons Systems to the Genocidal Anti-Semitic Government of Egypt
I rise today to present legislation that would stop the transfer of F-16s and Abrams tanks to Egypt. I think it particularly unwise to send tanks and our most sophisticated fighter planes to Egypt at a time at which many are saying the country may be unraveling.Ironically, a year ago the Arab spring occurred. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Tahrir square to protest a government that was instituting martial law. Ironically the current President now has instituted martial law and once again the dreaded indefinite intention is threatened to citizens in Egypt.As the writing expands, many see Egypt descending into chaos. What is President Obama's response to this? To send them some of the most sophisticated weapons we have: F-16 fighters and Abrams tanks. I think this is particularly unwise, and this legislation will stop it.I think this is particularly unwise since Egypt is currently governed by a religious zealot, a religious zealot who said recently that 'Jews were bloodsuckers and descendants of apes and pigs.' This doesn't sound like the kind of stable personality we would be sending our most sophisticated weapons to.I think it is a grave mistake to send F-16s and tanks to a country that detained American citizens on trumped up political charges. On a country that currently is still detaining Egyptian citizens on trumped-up political charges.I think it is a blunder of the first proportion to send sophisticated weapons to a country that allowed a mob to attack our embassy and to burn our flag. I find it objectionable to send weapons, F-16s and tanks, to a company that allowed a mob chanting "death to America" to threaten our American diplomats.I am concerned that these weapons, some of the most sophisticated weapons in the world, someday may be used against Israel. I'm concerned that these weapons threaten Israel's security and that sending weapons to a country with a president who recently was seen to be chanting "amen" to a cleric that was saying "death to Israel and death to those who support Israel."I think it's foolhardy to support and send arms to both sides of an arms race. We send 20 F-16s to Egypt which already has 240 F-16s. We send 20 in addition. What does Israel feel? They've got to have two for every one Egypt has. It escalates an arms race. It makes it more difficult for Israel to defend herself.Today we have a chance to stop this folly. I urge my Senators to instruct the President that we will not send any more F-16s and any more Abrams tanks to the current government of Egypt. Thank you, Mr. President, and I yield back my time.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
The transcript of the interview is here. Glenn Beck is definitely a fan and even says:
I will tell you Senator Rand Paul, I believe in my lifetime [are] the first libertarian that I believe could be president of the United States. You make sense, you’re rational, you’re reasonable, and you look at the facts on the ground.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Kerry admitted that he really doesn't stand for anything and his principles are worthless. On Libya he said you can't be absolutist and that there wasn't enough time ask for Congressional approval as 10,000 civilian lives were in danger. There are two problems with this. First, there was plenty of time to ask for approval. It's not like we went in there, took Gaddafi out and then those civilian lives were saved. We spent 8 months fighting the war in a relatively limited way so if there were 10,000 civilians in imminent danger, they probably died before the fighting was over. Asking for Congressional approvals wouldn't have changed much. Second, does the fact that certain people are in danger mean the President has carte blanche about going to war? By John Kerry's calculations we should have invaded Syria months and months ago as it has already cost the lives of 60,000 people. I don't remember a humanitarian out-clause in the Constitution.
Then Kerry admitted that he doesn't really care that Morsi is a vile anti-semite, he will get his aid anyway. He said "the fact that sometimes other countries elect someone you don’t agree with doesn’t give us permission to walk away." It's not like the disagreement is over trade policy or global warming, the disagreement is over whether Jews are humans and have a right to live in their homeland. Anyway, watch the whole thing, it's 10 minutes long:
HH: I want to thank you at the beginning just for your straightforward statement regarding the culpability of Secretary Clinton for Benghazi and the acts. There's quite a lot of comment on this. How long ago had you reached that conclusion that she was indeed culpable?
RP: Well you know, when I first heard about it, everybody seemed to be so concerned about sort of the cover up of everybody talking about was this a movie, or was this regarding a movie. Well, that's important. To me, it always seemed to be more important why there wasn't adequate security there, why there weren't Marines there, why wasn't this embassy protected like the embassy in Iraq. They just emerged from a war. And so I can understand people making bad decisions immediately in the aftermath, not making an appropriate decision during a gunfight, but I can see no excuse for not reading the cables, the repeated cables and requests and pleas for help, the pleas for security. I find that inexcusable, and I really think whoever made those decisions should never, ever be in that position again, and I think this really disqualifies her from holding higher office, because it's a serious judgment, it's a serious error of judgment for her to have put ambassadors and diplomats into an area where there wasn't adequate security.
HH: Earlier, a couple of hours ago, my colleague, my friend, Sean Hannity, had former Speaker Gingrich on, who said about your remarks that it's really not all that surprising that a Republican who wouldn't have appointed her in the first place would say that. But I disagree. I think it's very surprising. How did your colleagues react?
RP: Some of them called me bad names and profane names as they were huffing out of the room. Those were Democrats. But on our side, no one's really responded to me on that. I went to lunch, and no one threw anything at me. So no, I think that most of them are disturbed this, also. Many of them have been more disturbed with Ambassador Rice's comments about whether this was pertaining to a movie. But to me, it's always been more important that there wasn't security in advance. I've asked repeatedly in speeches, where in the hell were the Marines, and they say oh, well, the Marines are there to guard the paper, and the host country is to guard the ambassador. And I'm like, well, that may be true in Vienna or Paris, but this is a war zone. And to send our ambassador in and have some guys who can't speak English running around in a Jeep from a militia with a machine gun bungee corded in the back and say oh, this is your protection, that's inexcusable. We have the resources. There's no reason why military resources should not be designated in a war zone if you want to have an embassy there. And they should protect, set up a perimeter. This is the way it should be done. I'm fearful that this will happen again in Libya, that it could happen in Egypt, that it could happen if a government forms in Syria, if we're going to decide to treat embassies the same way in war zones that we treat them in the civilized world, I think it's a huge mistake.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
After being sworn into the Senate, Paul introduced a budget that zeroed out all foreign aid, including for Israel. He sought to de-authorize the Iraq War. He opposed the Patriot Act. He proposed amendments to sanctions bills for Iran and Syria emphasizing that these bills did not constitute an authorization of force.
Just in the last three months, Paul sought to expand Fourth Amendment protections under the Bush-era warrantless surveillance program and Sixth Amendment guarantees under the National Defense Authorization Act's terror-detention provisions. When he failed, he protested loudly and voted against both bills.
Speaking to reporters last week, Paul made clear that he was still ultimately opposed to all foreign aid and skeptical of foreign military adventurism. And he has compiled one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate, even when it has left him in the minority.
Recent polling suggests a majority of Republicans is at least open to retrenchment. According to the Pew Research Center, 53 percent of GOP voters want America less involved in Middle Eastern political change—not as noninterventionist as Democrats or particularly independents, but still nearly 20 points more than the percentage of Republicans who picked "more involved."
Arguments for foreign-policy restraint have failed to gain traction in the Republican Party because of three perceptions of the conservatives making them: namely, that they are hostile to Israel, indifferent to American national security, and naïve about brutal foreign regimes. Paul is aiming to correct these perceptions while emphasizing his common ground with the GOP and the broader conservative movement.
That's why Paul has focused on cutting foreign aid to Middle Eastern despots, who also happen to be virulently anti-Israel. It's why he talks about missile defense to protect American cities from attack. And it's why he observes that Israelis aren't burning American flags.
More hawkish conservatives may be noticing Paul's comments, but they are aimed at the Republican rank-and-file: evangelical well-wishers of Israel, primary voters who could be convinced that our overseas interventions are bad policy but not that the Muslim Brotherhood bodes well for secular democracy.
Paul may in the process repel those who are genuinely hostile to Israel or who dabble in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. But will Don Black's financial contribution really be missed? There will also be Ron Paul voters and donors without such noxious motives who will nevertheless be troubled by these overtures. They will be harder to replace.
This strategy carries a risk of failure, as both sides of the burgeoning conservative foreign policy debate could cool to Paul. But the old approaches have already failed, or at least reached the end of where they can take the antiwar right.
There is indeed more than one way to be a friend to Israel—and perhaps more than one way to be the spokesman of a less bellicose conservative foreign policy, too.
"I saw the speaker on TV handing the newly sworn-in president a flag. I am afraid it was the white flag of surrender," the Kentucky Republican said, according to a GOP source present at the meeting.
Alluding to the House GOP's gathering last week in Williamsburg, Va., Paul jabbed: "They came out of their retreat and retreated."
Doctors and other health care providers also need to be able to ask about firearms in their patients' homes and safe storage of those firearms, especially if their patients show signs of certain mental illnesses or if they have a young child or mentally ill family member at home. Some have incorrectly claimed that language in the Affordable Care Act prohibits doctors from asking their patients about guns and gun safety. Medical groups also continue to fight against state laws attempting to ban doctors from asking these questions. The Administration will issue guidance clarifying that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit or otherwise regulate communication between doctors and patients, including about firearms.
"What they said in their description of the executive order is families that have someone mentally ill or children — well, half of the country have children at home," Paul said, holding a press conference in a boardroom at Charleston Place Hotel. "So what are we going to do? Are we going to ask eight-year-old kids, 'Does Daddy have a gun at home? Does Daddy drink beer? Did Daddy ever yell at Mommy, and he has guns in the house?' I mean, you can see how you could open Pandora's box, not to mention that interviewing of children is notoriously inaccurate."
Monday, January 21, 2013
Friday, January 18, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
But it is just as possible that Rand Paul's odyssey to Israel and outreach effort to pro-Israel conservatives is analogous to Barack Obama's path in the years before he was elected president. Obama had few ties with pro-Israel groups, and was known as the friend of pro-Palestinian activists and other radicals. But with the help of some in the Jewish community, he worked hard to change his image. He, too, said it was all a misunderstanding to see him as anything but a friend to Israel, albeit one that didn't like the views of the Likud. Those who vouched for his pro-Israel bona fides have had a lot of explaining to do during his presidency.
Those who are allowing themselves to play that same role for Rand Paul need to think long and hard not just about being cheap dates but about the likelihood that the candidate whose positions they are rationalizing may have a very different agenda if he ever got into the White House.
"It was a home run," said David Lane, a California-based evangelical leader who organized Paul's trip. "He handled himself — his first trip to Israel – very, very well."
"For the first time, he's actually taken a very substantial position — now he's on the record where he stands," said Mallory Factor, an influential conservative activist who accompanied Paul for part of his trip. "He does have a handle on the issues — he calls it the way it should be called, instead of trying to be politically correct about it."
"I really have liked his approach to the questions that I've heard posed to him so far — it's really atypical to what you've heard in the past," said South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly. "He's not just asking for pat answers, he's asking for something that is really in-depth and thoughtful. He's demonstrating that he's listening to both sides of the issue."
California-based pastor Rob McCoy added: "He is approaching the Israel community same way he is approaching our evangelical community. He is not fawning over us or them. Instead he is honestly trying to understand us."
"There is a part of me that wonders if he is part of the evangelical community, but there's another part that says I really enjoy his presence, and that it doesn't matter," McCoy said. "I don't want somebody who is going to play me — the Republican Party has already played me."
Jonathan Tobin needs to wake up and open his eyes.
My guess is though that there is something else at play. The problem Tobin has with Rand Paul is not just his fear of what his views are about Israel but probably just a general disagreement with him politically. Tobin is a big government Republican. He and practically the entire Commentary staff were behind Mitt Romney during the entire primary season, even when more pro-Israel candidates like Newt Gingrich gained momentum. He wants "better" government not "limited" government and that is probably why he hates Rand Paul so much. He is going to be supporting the Chris Christies' of the world every day of the week and twice on Sunday in any battle with a Rand Paul or any other true conservative/libertarian.
Perhaps because of his own experience with vigorous American Capitalism, Naftali Benett is in favor of cutting the 40-year-old umbilical cord that still connects Israel to the American Treasury.One major benefit of this would be that Israel would no longer feel the need to listen to the US as to where Jews should be allowed to settle in their own country.
"Today, U.S. military aid is roughly 1 percent of Israel's economy," Bennett says. "I think, generally, we need to free ourselves from it. We have to do it responsibly, since I'm not aware of all the aspects of the budget, I don't want to say 'let's just give it up,' but our situation today is very different from what it was 20 and 30 years ago. Israel is much stronger, much wealthier, and we need to be independent."
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
It was a political phenomenon of sorts, it seemed, the likes of which has never been seen in Israel: A Republican senator arrives for a visit and shamelessly tells us that the U.S. will have no other option but to slash defense-related financial aid it provides Israel, despite the yearly aid package of $3 billion essentially amounting to marbles in comparison to the U.S. national debt.
"He must be an Israel hater," some will say in regard to Senator Rand Paul's comments in Jerusalem. The senator, on more than one occasion, hasn't hesitated to preach the need to decrease financial aid. He expressed as much during discussions with us — even if he did so in a tone befitting a first-time visitor. He threw his proposal into the Israeli wind, even surviving publicly without someone tagging him as an Israel hater.
The senator, it appears, is first and foremost tending to his country's financial crisis. He explained himself to us in a logical manner that was easy to understand: In his words, every second that passes the U.S. takes out a loan of $50,000 to deal with the deficit. And in regards to foreign aid: It's an expenditure that has never been popular among the American public, and yet the vast majority of lawmakers in both houses of Congress approve the Israeli aid package without batting an eyelash.
Senator Paul wonders why the United States continues to pour financial aid to countries where the American flag is burned in city squares, "Indeed, this phenomenon of burning American flags is an expression of hate toward America that I haven't seen in Israel," Paul told us. The cut to the Israeli aid package, he emphasized, would be done gradually, but first the flow of financial aid to Pakistan must be stopped, for example, as well as to other countries in the region.
Senator Paul doesn't hate Israel. His speeches point to clear support for us. In general, American analysts saw his visit here as the opening salvo of his 2016 presidency campaign. He's a rising star in his party. The call to cut aid to Israel, and foreign aid in general, doesn't exclusively affect Israel."To me it has always been about whether it makes sense for me to borrow money from China to give to Pakistan,” he said.
Listen to Sen. Paul
Sir, – At last a voice of reason in a world that has gone mad (“Rand Paul: Construction in Jerusalem ‘none of US’s business,’ January 13). The Republican senator from Kentucky said it was “none of our business” whether Israel “builds new neighborhoods in east Jerusalem or withdraws from the Golan Heights, and the US should not tell Israel how to defend itself.”
How good it is to hear the truth. Why could our government not have thought of this? We would not be having Arabs threatening our existence and setting up tents on Jewish land, claiming it as their own, as they do our holy sites, to which they deny us any connection.
Paul also puts us straight on foreign aid, stating that the US gives more to Israel’s neighbors than to Israel. If the US gives 20 F-16 fighter planes to Egypt, Israel feels it needs to buy 25. If the US gives Egypt 200 tanks, Israel feels the need to purchase 300 to keep ahead of the game, all the time having to spend more and more money on armaments that should be spent in Israel for Israelis.
While Paul advocates cutting foreign aid due to America’s massive debt, he is talking first of all about aid to countries that are not so friendly to the US, such as those that are burning the American flag and chanting “Death to America,” which Israel can never be accused of.
He also cites Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his 1996 speech to Congress, in which he advocated that Israel gradually wean itself off American aid dollars. This would benefit Israel and its defense industry because it would not have to buy all its weaponry from the US. A curtailment of American foreign aid would also mean less money for arms for Israel’s neighbors.
Rand Paul talks a lot of sense and we would be fools not to listen and learn.
"I think she has to accept responsibility for Benghazi," Paul told Business Insider during his recent trip to Israel. "That's the problem with government — government is anonymous and so no one is accountable. The reason you want somebody to be accountable is that you don't want someone to make that decision again."
"She needs to be held accountable for it, and I think she needs to answer questions for it," he said.
Paul added that he plans on demanding Clinton explain what she knew about the deteriorating security situation in Libya and provide details about who denied requests for additional security personnel at the consulate in Benghazi.
"In government, there is usually an incentive to overspend when it comes to security," he said. "You're in charge of security in Benghazi and someone asks you for a 16-person detail — and the security people on the ground in Libya are asking you for it — it's impossible to say no. So how did someone possibly say no to that security? That's an incredible ineptness."
"It was an enormous mistake," he added. "It was a career-ending mistake, I think."
Paul's outrage over the lack of security funding in Libya is surprising, given the Kentucky libertarian's opposition to almost all government spending and non-interventionist brand of foreign policy. Paul's office insists that there is no contradiction, however, telling Business Insider that "while Senator Paul believes there is plenty of waste and unnecessary items in the State Department budget, security is not necessarily one of them."
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
What a contrast with Joseph Biden.
On his 2010 trip to Israel, the vice president erupted in a bitter denunciation of the government in Jerusalem because of its settlement policies. But when Sen. Rand Paul, whom the Left likes to accuse of being the most anti-Israel figure in the Senate, was in Israel last week, there was nothing but sweetness and light on the settlements — not even much quarreling over foreign aid.
In Jerusalem last week, the senator met a broad range of leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, as well as Naftali Bennett, a rising right-wing leader aligned with the settler movement.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Paul addressing questions about what Israel should do about the settlements and Gaza. "Well," he replied, "America should and does have an opinion about these things, but ultimately these are decisions you have to make."
There hasn't been such a supportive comment on Israel's settlements in the West Bank and in Jerusalem since Sarah Palin last spoke on the subject. Her comments drove the left up the wall.
Paul also voiced support on Gaza: "I don't think you need to call me on the phone and get permission to stop missiles raining down from Gaza." He seems to want Israel to have a free hand in its own affairs, which dovetails with his wariness on foreign aid.
When he talked about foreign aid, he stood by his longtime contention that it would be a good thing to reduce such transfers. This view has been pressed by some pro-Israel voices in this country, in that aid has subsidized statist economic measures and retarded free-market development.
Indeed, Netanyahu himself, in a 1996 speech before Congress, vowed to work to reduce Israel's dependence on US aid — and then kept his word: It's now restricted mainly to military aid.
Paul cited that Netanyahu speech in Jerusalem as he talked in a straightforward way about America's own predicament: "The biggest threat to our nation right now is our debt."
"To me, it has always been about whether it makes sense for me to borrow money from China to give to Pakistan," he said at one point.
In The Jerusalem Post's account, he said the debt problem means "that we have to reassess who to give aid to, and when we do reassess that, I would begin with countries that are burning our flag and chanting 'Death to America.'"
Then, he added, "No one is accusing Israel of that."
He didn't want his visit to be about "touting and spouting" cutting aid to Israel, saying, "I came here to show that I am supportive of the relationship between Israel and America," The Jerusalem Post reported. He signaled the same in a recent letter to the managing editor of Commentary, Jonathan Tobin.
Meantime, the Obama administration is moving its foreign policy sharply to the left. Secretary of State-designate John Kerry would be the most left-wing figure ever to run State. And Defense Secretary-designate Chuck Hagel has a far more worrisome record on Israel than the most determined libertarian.
Monday, January 14, 2013
"I'm against having a king," Paul said. "I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress -- that's someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch."
"I've been opposed to executive orders, even with Republican presidents. But one that wants to infringe on the Second Amendment, we will fight tooth and nail," he continued.
"And I promise you, there'll be no rock left unturned as far as trying to stop him from usurping the Constitution, running roughshod over Congress," he vowed.
"And you will see one heck of a debate if he decides to try to do this."
Sunday, January 13, 2013
It is “none of our business” whether Israel builds new neighborhoods in east Jerusalem or withdraws from the Golan Heights, and the US should not tell Israel how to defend itself, US Sen. (R-Kentucky) said on Saturday night at the end of a week-long visit to the country.
Paul, a maverick libertarian senator known for his advocacy of slashing US foreign aid, said at a press briefing that the issue of cutting aid to Israel – something he advocates as part of a gradual process – did not come up during his meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or President Shimon Peres.
Paul said that he was not interested in the message of his trip being that he came here “touting and spouting” cutting aid to Israel.
“I came here to show that I am supportive of the relationship between Israel and America,” he said.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Senator Rand Paul has a new ally in his attempt to fit his libertarian foreign policy views into the Republican Party's hawkish pro-Israel stance: The Israeli public relations firm Lone Star Communications, which has also promoted American figures from Glenn Beck to Mike Huckabee, and also works with a leading Israeli opponent of Palestinian statehood.
The firm, run by Texas-born Charley Levine, sent out a press release Wednesday morning about Paul's visits with Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, Mahmoud Abbas, and King Abdullah of Jordan.
"Historically America has sought stability with very mixed results around the world by arming both sides of conflicts," Paul is quoted as saying in the release. "I fear that one day our Israeli friends might face American-made F-16s and Abrams tanks that our foreign aid has been providing to some very questionable countries that sit on Israel's border."
The identity of Paul's Israeli guides suggests that the Kentucky Senator may be more in agreement on Israel than on other issues with the rest of his party, who are if anything to the right of the Israeli government in their skepticism of Palestinian independence and, in some cases, doctrinal belief that Israel has a right to the land. Lone Star has worked with Danny Danon, a pro-settler Israeli parliamentarian who challenged Benjamin Netanyahu from the right for party leadership, as well as helping out on similar trips by American politicians figures including former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton....
Levine, the ombudsman wrote, is "a figure of the Israeli right, who counsels prominent Zionists and serves as a reservist in the Israeli Defense Forces Spokesperson's Unit." Levine lives in Ma'ale Adumim, a settlement in the West Bank just outside of Jerusalem.
Monday, January 7, 2013
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a fierce opponent of US foreign aid who is being touted already as a likely 2016 presidential candidate, said in Jerusalem on Monday that the United States is and always will be a friend of Israel, but thinks "it will be harder and harder to be a friend if we are out of money."
Speaking to the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, Paul said it is one thing if you are giving foreign aid out of your savings, but it is something completely different if you are "borrowing from one country to give to another. You have to wonder how wide that is, and what the repercussions will be."
Paul, who acknowledged that he will probably not see an end to foreign aid in his lifetime, said he was "all for gradualism" and would start ending foreign aid to those countries who don't act as allies towards Israel.
The senator said that he was concerned the US was trying to win friends in the region by providing them with arms where you can have a situation down the line where Israel would have to face up against Egypt supplied with US state-of-the-art tanks.
He said that as far as aid to Israel is concerned, he is not suggesting disengagement or that the US should stop selling armaments, but said "it wouldn't be a one-way street, it would be a sale, not a grant."
Paul, who on a number of occasions cited Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's 1996 speech in Congress saying he wanted to wean Israel off American aid, said that decent aid would be beneficial for Israel because it would retain its own sovereignty and not have to come "on bended knee" to ask US permission on a variety of issues, such as settlements.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Here is a screenshot of the results so far:
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has been holding a series of meetings with neo-conservative pro-Israel foreign policy hands as the libertarian prepares to take a seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sources familiar with the meetings said.
Paul's new contacts include Dan Senor, a former key Mitt Romney foreign policy aide who is also close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met Paul in his Washington office.
Paul is also going to take a "fairly impressive list of folks" on his trip to Israel next week, according to a source close to him, and he is planning on delivering a major foreign policy address in early February.
Recently, the junior Paul has begun an under-the-radar campaign to make overtures to those in his party whose foreign policy views are far less libertarian than his. He did an interview with the Washington Post's hawkish blogger Jennifer Rubin, who found him "more self-aware and engaging than is the elder Paul, a wide-eyed libertarian."
"I'm irreconcilable on this point," said one prominent Jewish conservative. "But others take a different view and have met with him in the past and in the run up to this trip."
A source close to Paul confirmed the meetings and said that "Senator Paul has always spoken with a wide range of foreign policy experts." A spokesperson for Paul didn't respond to a request for comment.
Paul's trip to Israel begins on Sunday and he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres on Monday, according to The Jerusalem Post. The trip has been widely interpreted as a signal from Paul of his national intentions.
Friday, January 4, 2013
NJDC Has a Conniption Over Selection of Rand Paul for Foreign Relations Committee, Yet He'd Be Better for Israel Than Obama
Israel is a strong and important ally of the United States, and we share many mutual security interests. I believe we should stand by our ally, but where I think sometimes American commentators get confused is that I do not think Israel should be dictated to by the United States. I think that has happened too often, and it has been to the detriment of Israel. Too often we have coerced Israel into trading land for peace, or other false bargains. When President Obama stood before the world in 2011 to demand that Israel act against her own strategic interest, I denounced this as unnecessary meddling. As I wrote in May of that year: "For President Obama to stand up today and insist that Israel should once again give up land, security and sovereignty for the possibility of peace shows an arrogance that is unmatched even in our rich history of foreign policy."
Israel will always know what's best for Israel. The United States should always stand with its friends. But we should also know, unlike President Obama, when to stay out of the way.
Foreign aid is another example of how our meddling often hurts more than its helps. In my proposals to end or cut back on foreign aid, some have made accusations that my proposals would hurt Israel. Actually, not following my proposals hurt Israel. We currently give about $4 billion annually to Israel in foreign aid. But we give about $6 billion to the nations that surround Israel, many of them antagonistic toward the Jewish state.
Giving twice as much foreign aid to Israel's enemies simply does not make sense. Our aid to Israel has always been to a country that has been an unequivocal ally. Our aid to its neighbors has purchased their temporary loyalty at best.
These countries are not our true allies and no amount of money will make them so. They are not allies of Israel and I fear one day our money and military arms that we have paid for will be used against Israel.
Does that sound anti-Israel at all? What is anti-Israel is our current policy of sending M1A1 tanks and F-16 jets to countries whose leaders say the Jews are "bloodsuckers", "were descended from apes and pigs" and refers to America as an enemy. What is anti-Israel is denouncing of the building of apartments around the capital city of Jerusalem (open to Israeli citizens who are both Arab and Jewish) and taking the Palestinian negotiating position as one's own, as this NJDC-supported administration has done.
If Rand Paul gets his way, the enemies of Israel and the US will receive far less aid (aid they are much more dependent upon than Israel is) and Israel will no longer have to worry about interference in building around their own capital and won't be forced to negotiate with genocidal terrorists. Sounds like a nice improvement over the current US-Israel dynamic. What's so outrageous about that?
Though they are both Republicans, Paul and McCain have clashed repeatedly over foreign policy and national security. "I worry a lot about the rise of protectionism and isolationism in the Republican Party," McCain said when Paul was first elected. "I admire his victory, but … already he has talked about withdrawals [and] cuts in defense."
"Calling me an 'isolationist' is about as accurate or appropriate as calling Senator McCain an 'imperialist,'" Paul shot back in his book "The Tea Party Goes to Washington."
The two senators have most recently sparred over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Paul said that McCain was responsible for changes to the bill that unconstitutionally left Americans vulnerable to being detained without trial if accused of terrorism. McCain's office countered that the bill protected constitutional rights.
McCain and Paul have differed on military involvement in Libya, arming Syrian rebels, the size of the Pentagon budget, warrantless surveillance and foreign aid. Paul also opposed the Iraq War and tried to revoke its congressional authorization. McCain was a staunch supporter of the war.
Despite their disagreements, the two have collaborated on legislation in the past. But tensions between Paul and McCain escalated during the NDAA fight.
"I find it disappointing that one member of the United States Senate feels that his particular agenda is so important that it affects the lives and the readiness and the capabilities of the men and women who are serving in the military and our ability to defend this nation," McCain said of Paul's NDAA filibuster. "I think it's hard to answer to the men and women in the military with this kind of behavior, but I will leave that up to the senator from Kentucky to do so."
McCain went so far as to suggest Paul's tactics lend "credence" to Democratic filibuster reform proposals.
"The right to due process, a trial by jury, and protection from indefinite detention should not be shorn from our Bill of Rights or wrested from the hands of Americans," Paul said of the McCain-led conference committee report on the NDAA. "It is a dark day in our history that these rights have been stomped upon and discarded."
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Kentucky Republican senator Rand Paul, a fierce opponent of US foreign aid who is being touted already as a likely 2016 presidential candidate, is scheduled to arrive in Israel Sunday for his first-ever visit.
Paul, who espouses the libertarian views of his father Ron Paul, is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres on Monday.
Paul, one of eight senators who voted against the so-called "fiscal cliff" agreement in the US Senate this week, is scheduled to speak at a private reception Monday on the issue of fiscal responsibility and reducing US foreign aid during a speech at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS). JIMS describes itself as "an independent, nonprofit economic policy think tank whose mission is to promote social progress in Israel through economic freedom and individual liberty."
After meeting Netanyahu and Peres, Paul is scheduled to go to Jordan on Tuesday and meet with King Abdullah II and PA Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
He will return to Israel Wednesday and tour the Galilee.
The trip is sponsored by the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group that promotes fundamentalist Christian values. Paul will be part of a group of some 50-100 evangelical Christian, including politically well-connected figures in South Carolina and Iowa, which will hold early 2016 caucuses and primaries.