The Republican Jewish Coalition is holding a forum this week with the GOP presidential candidates.
They have deliberately excluded Congressman Ron Paul -- and they are wrong to do so. Seth Lipsky over at the New York Sun has discussed this in a piece well worth reading.
We have criticized Congressman Paul's foreign policy views (here) and have expressed concern (here) about the all too frequent linkage his supporters seem to make between the Congressman and anti-Semitism.
With that said, deliberately excluding Congressman Paul from a serious discussion of Jewish concerns is both a mistake as well as a considerable unfairness to a presidential candidate who has a serious core following.
Mr. Paul's views on foreign policy, as seen from here, have been repeatedly discredited in practice, not to mention deceptively presented by the Congressman. The Founding Fathers, for example, repeatedly intervened in countries outside U.S. borders, contrary to the impression Paul tries to give. And Paul's insistence on beginning the intellectual birth of the Republican Party with Ohio Senator Robert Taft -- instead of the actual history of the 1850s -- should not go unexamined either.
Paul holds up Taft as his role model -- but in fact Taft had a very strong bond with Ohio's Jewish community, notably an influential Cleveland rabbi named Abba Hillel Silver. Silver was a strong supporter of the creation of Israel, and it was Silver who persuaded his friend Taft to support a 1944 Senate resolution calling for unrestricted Jewish immigration to Palestine. Which, of course, led directly to the creation of the State of Israel.
So warmly was Taft received by Silver and Ohio's Jewish community that they are credited with providing Taft with his margin of victory in his close re-election fight to the Senate in 1944.
Congressman Paul, curiously, has been totally unable to develop a Taft-like base of support within America's Jewish community. In turn creating the kind of unnecessary hostility on display in this deliberate effort to exclude him from an important discussion.
Ron Paul should be given the chance to fairly explain his views in the Republican Jewish forum -- not deliberately excluded.