The Spectacle Blog

Rand Paul and Israel

By on 4.22.10 | 11:06AM

I've obtained a document that the Rand Paul campaign is circulating to those interested in his views on Israel, and it's interesting to see how the positions he's taking as a Republican Senate candidate in Kentucky differ from those adopted by his father, Rep. Ron Paul, a harsh critic of U.S.-Israel ties.

"Israel and the United States have a special relationship," Rand's position paper begins. "With our shared history and common values, the American and Israeli people have formed a bond that unites us across the many thousands of miles between our countries and calls us to work together towards peace and prosperity for our countries."

Rand goes on to support free trade with Israel, call for divestment from Iran, and "strongly object to the arrogant approach of (the) Obama administration" toward the peace process. "Only Israel can decide what is in her security interest, not America and certainly not the United Nations," he asserts.

In one clear departure from his father, Rand states that:

As a United States Senator, I would never vote to condemn Israel for defending herself.

Whether it is fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon, combating Hamas-linked terrorists in Gaza or dealing with potential nuclear threats in the Persian Gulf, Israeli military actions are completely up to the leaders and military of Israel, and Israel alone.  

By contrast, when Israel retaliated against Hamas in Gaza to stop rockets from being fired toward Israeli civilians, his father rushed to condemn Israel. In a YouTube video, Ron Paul called it a "pretty sad day for the whole world" that he said reflected the spread of the idea of preemtive war. He went further, by saying the fact that the United States provides aid to Israel and did nothing to try and stop the military action made the U.S. complicit. He said the action would "antagonize" the Arab-Muslim world and warned that "we’ll suffer the consequences."

Continued U.S. support for Israel is part of Ron Paul's broader view of foreign policy and the concept of "blowback." Rand Paul focuses his statement on condemning foreign aid to enemies of Israel, saying that, "In the Senate, I would strive to eliminate all aid to countries that threaten Israel." But he doesn't address the issue of aid to Israel itself.

You can read the full statement after the jump.


The United States Special Relationship with Israel

By Dr. Rand Paul
Candidate, United States Senate


Israel and the United States have a special relationship.  With our shared history and common values, the American and Israeli people have formed a bond that unites us across the many thousands of miles between our countries and calls us to work together towards peace and prosperity for our countries.

The free trade agreement that has existed, and been subsequently strengthened, between our countries since 1985 is a tremendous mutual benefit. As a United States Senator, I would work against the growing protectionist sentiment in our country and defend free trade with Israel.

I would never vote to place trade restrictions on Israel, and I would filibuster any attempts to place sanctions on Israel or tariffs on any Israeli goods.

The issue of Palestine is incredibly difficult and complex.  The entire world wishes for peace in the region, but any arrangement or treaty must come from Israel, when she is ready and when her conditions have been met.

I strongly object to the arrogant approach of Obama administration, itself a continuation of the failures of past U.S. administrations, as they push Israel to make security concessions behind thinly veiled threats. 

Only Israel can decide what is in her security interest, not America and certainly not the United Nations.  Friends do not coerce friends to trade land for peace, or to give up the vital security interests of their people.

As a United States Senator, I would never vote to condemn Israel for defending herself.

Whether it is fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon, combating Hamas-linked terrorists in Gaza or dealing with potential nuclear threats in the Persian Gulf, Israeli military actions are completely up to the leaders and military of Israel, and Israel alone.

It is not the place of outsiders to meddle or pass judgment or to use our power or relationship to force Israel to go against her own interest for the sake of “peace.”
Peace is a laudable goal.  But it is just that – a goal.   It is not an end at any cost.

It makes no sense to me that the United States provides Arab countries hostile to Israel with $12 billion in annual financial and military aid. Many of the weapons that Israel would face in a Middle Eastern conflict would have come directly from our government. I find this appalling. In the Senate, I would strive to eliminate all aid to countries that threaten Israel.

Finally, Iran has become increasingly bellicose towards Israel. Thankfully, Israel has one of the bravest, most elite military forces in the world. I would never vote to prevent Israel from taking any military action her leaders felt necessary to end any Iranian threat.
Just as the United States would not follow the will of another country in the face of our national security, we shall not limit the options of Israel in this area.

Finally, I believe the United States should increase the pressure on Iran.  I would mandate that all publicly managed investment funds divest from Iran immediately. 

We should not be subsidizing any company that does business with Iran, and we should not allow U.S. companies or those with funds from U.S. taxpayers to enrich Iran through its national energy program.  I would fight to end all subsides to American corporations that do business with Iran, including so-called renewable energy companies that work through Brazil to provide support to Iran and empower its dictators dangerous nuclear saber rattling.

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