Now Rand Paul wants to ‘Stand with Israel’

Israel/Palestine
on 37 Comments
Rand Paul

Rand Paul

I missed this story last week but it is important to note, it reads like something out of the Onion. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul introduced a bill called the “Stand With Israel Act” that would bar funds to a Palestinian government that includes Hamas and would also (per the JTA)

cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority unless its government recognized Israel as a Jewish state.

Of course, Paul is thought to have presidential ambitions, and he has a big Israel problem. He didn’t kiss up to Sheldon Adelson in Vegas recently at the Republican presidential beauty contest, he has called for cutting aid to Israel, and he has said that the US can live with a nuclear Iran. His father the former congressman Ron Paul has been openly critical of the special relationship, and the Israel lobby doesn’t like the son much either.

From Politico:

The Kentucky Republican introduced a bill this week to cut off U.S. aid to the Palestinian government because of the recent joining of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, saying that aid from the U.S. must be contingent on the joined entity recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

The legislation, titled the “Stand with Israel Act of 2014,” failed to gather unanimous consent in the Senate on Thursday and Paul’s request to pass it was blocked. After the bill failed to pass, the senator said he was “deeply disappointed and disturbed by the Senate’s inability to stand with me in defense of Israel today.”

The Free Beacon reports that AIPAC is against Paul’s bill because it doesn’t want to defund until Hamas joins the government. But Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Zionist Organization of America like the bill:

Paul brought his Stand with Israel Act to the Senate floor this afternoon [May 1] to ask for a unanimous consent vote aimed at expediting action on the measure, according to sources tracking the bill.

While the legislation is expected to garner widespread backing in Congress, AIPAC is quietly expressing reservations about it, according to those familiar with the group’s position.

“We are not supporting the Paul bill,” said one AIPAC insider. “We believe the law currently on the books is strong and ensures that aid is contingent on key conditions that help maintain America’s influence, keep Israel secure, and advance the peace process.”…

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed support for Paul’s bill.

David Corn says that Paul is entering “neocon territory” with these tactical moves, but neocon Elliott Abrams writes that the bill is no help to Israel.

Remember that Mark Halperin of Time said on Hardball a couple weeks ago that Paul could evolve all he wants, he won’t satisfy the lobby:

That guy could evolve from Passover to Easter to Christmas to every holiday in the world. He could spend his whole life evolving. He will never evolve enough for the pro Israel wing of the party. And that’s not an insignificant thing, not only against people in the nomination fight, but in the general election. That is an important part of the current view of foreign policy. He can evolve all he wants, I just don’t think he can get over that hurdle with a lot of people.

Halperin’s father is a member of the liberal Israel lobby, but I think he’s wrong. The Israel lobby doesn’t care about anyone’s soul. They’re political. Say the right stuff and folks will come around. I sense that Paul is pivoting, as they say, and by 2016, he’s hoping that he can at least neutralize the lobby’s enmity.

P.S. MJ Rosenberg says Paul is grovelling:

He desperately wants “pro-Israel” Republicans to come his way… [but] Paul’s grovel ended up exposing him as someone who even crazy right wing Jewish billionaires could not support, not even Sheldon Adelson. The crazy Jewish right now hates him like poison.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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37 Responses

  1. Krusty
    May 4, 2014, 2:45 pm

    I think there’s a very practical reason for Paul’s evolution: unlike his father, Rand Paul is a good politician with a willingness to accede to his votership’s preferences. Israel (and especially Greater Israel) is wildly popular on the ground, in the grassroots of the Republican base and especially in the TEA Party. If Paul ever has any hope of getting his 2016 campaign off the ground, this is an issue where he has to be perceived as “strong”.

    Even considering Paul’s counter-culture and libertarian credibility, Israel’s domestic popularity is actually at an all-time high in the US and I assume that’s doubly true for a GOP base that pathologically hates President Obama and probably views him (incorrectly) as anti-Zionist. Thus, for Paul, the most obvious answer is likely the correct one: sheer electability.

    • Giles
      May 4, 2014, 5:48 pm

      Israel is wildly popular in America? Wow. It is supported by political elites out of fear for damage to their career; I am sure most cannot stand the Lobby. It may be popular among a fair amount of the populace who are constantly being fed Israeli propaganda. Among the educated class — particularly the young — it is seen for what it is, A racist colonial settler state with way too much influence in Washington DC and with its had far too deep into the pockets of the American taxpayer. Ask the average American if we should be giving Israel over $8 million per day and see that the answer is.

      The smart pol will run against the Lobby.

      • Krusty
        May 5, 2014, 9:25 pm

        link to gallup.com

        On an anecdotal level, as an educated, young, progressive urbanite, I can tell you I don’t much get the sense that people view Israel in that way at all.

      • James Canning
        May 6, 2014, 1:37 pm

        When I hear Americans discuss Israel, chances Israel will be denounced rather than praised, are better than even. (If subject is Israel/Palestine)

      • oneof5
        May 5, 2014, 11:48 pm

        “Israel is wildly popular in America? Wow.”

        Ahh … yeah

        I’m just wondering where I can get some of whatever Krusty is having … ’cause it sure looks to be real good …

  2. just
    May 4, 2014, 3:02 pm

    ugh– I feel slimed just reading this.

    • Citizen
      May 4, 2014, 3:13 pm

      @ just
      that was my reaction when I first laid my eyes on Rand Paul’s bill.

  3. Citizen
    May 4, 2014, 3:13 pm

    Just before I read this new piece from Phil, I had just commented in the thread under another very recent article here: Who will be the last neoconservative? I suggested Rand Paul, precisely because of his new bill, subject here. When I first read his new bill I immediately (there than being tremendously disappointed) figured he was trying to get some Jewish Establishment support for his POTUS run. Phil’s piece here says he’s already now got some, not from AIPAC but from ZOA. I’n sure Randy would rather have AIPAC’s support.

    Here’s the article I linked to under the MW article, Who will be the last neoconservative? link to mycatbirdseat.com

    My guess at this point is that Rand and his consultants overlooked the fact that if the US drops its aid to Palestine, for whatever reason, Israel has to pick up the tab for its occupation. Presently, the US picks up most of this tab by funding PA. Nearly a third of these US aid dollars to Palestine go towards the Palestinian security apparatus (a rare giant proportion); 40% of Palestinian public servants operate in the security area. Their job is basically to operate as hired hands of Israel via USA, freeing up IDF to become real soldiers, not cops. And freeing up, like all aid to Israel, the Israeli government to spend money on other things, more domestic.

    By the way, Chris Hayes tweeted a question re Kerry’s characterization (retracted of course) of Israel as (headed towards) “apartheid” What’s the proper or correct term for the moving Greater Israel? He also tweeted re his interview with Josh Block recently, that Block said a solution would be to make the West Bank part of Jordan. I watched; I thought Block was saying the WB Palestinians should be taken in by Jordan. Any thoughts?

    • lysias
      May 4, 2014, 6:07 pm

      Could dropping aid to the PA be a first step towards dropping aid to the Egyptian junta and to Israel? Could that be what Rand Paul has in mind?

      • tear-stained uzi
        May 5, 2014, 12:57 am

        If you’re being serious, I think you may be crushing on Senator Paul just a little.

    • American
      May 5, 2014, 8:17 am

      @ Citizen

      I would think Paul knows defunding Palestines would put the responsibility on Israel. So this bill is sort of like a hat tip that they would wind up paying for. Except Israel wont pay for it anyway–so it becomes just another complaint against them.
      Paul isnt going to get Jewish donor money or votes no matter what he says or does though.
      He should take Hadar’s advice:

      ”Rand Paul Should Go on Offense Anti-interventionism has reached the Republican base: Now it needs a leader.”
      By Leon Hadar • May 1, 2014 http://www.theamericanconserva..

  4. a blah chick
    May 4, 2014, 3:26 pm

    “We are not supporting the Paul bill,” said one AIPAC insider. “We believe the law currently on the books is strong and ensures that aid is contingent on key conditions that help maintain America’s influence, keep Israel secure, and advance the peace process.”

    Translation: If you cut off US aid and the PA falls then Israel will have to step in and go back to full-blown, full time occupying. It will be the end of Occupation on the Cheap.

    • Blownaway
      May 4, 2014, 8:44 pm

      Sometimes AIPAC speaks the truth and points out the obvious. The PLA is a tool of the occupation . The best thing that can happen to Palestinians is for it to disappear and for a civil rights movement to replace it.

      • a blah chick
        May 4, 2014, 8:56 pm

        I absolutely agree. The only problem is that I don’t see how there can be any meaningful change for the Palestinians without more suffering on their part.

    • Hostage
      May 5, 2014, 12:10 am

      Translation: If you cut off US aid and the PA falls then Israel will have to step in and go back to full-blown, full time occupying. It will be the end of Occupation on the Cheap.

      The PA ceased to exist in January of 2012. Nonetheless, the current law that’s on the books will cut off aid to any “Hamas-controlled” PA regime, unless the President certifies it has renounced violence and recognizes the right of Israel to exist as the Jewish state. link to law.cornell.edu

  5. stopaipac
    May 4, 2014, 3:37 pm

    Why would we expect anything differently from one of the most overtly racist and opportunistic politicians in the US? His father is a racist, and so is he.

    • Sumud
      May 5, 2014, 4:57 am

      Why do you think Ron Paul is racist? I’ve not heard anything to date from him that sounds racist.

      • oneof5
        May 6, 2014, 12:13 am

        “Why do you think Ron Paul is racist? I’ve not heard anything to date from him that sounds racist.”

        I’ll be real interested to hear the actual answer to that question as well – particularly the specific details …

  6. Ael
    May 4, 2014, 4:27 pm

    This is hilarious.

    Paul is killing Likud with ‘kindness’.

    Petard meet hoist.

  7. Marco
    May 4, 2014, 4:40 pm

    It’s almost an historical law that the sons of major politicians are much less principled than their fathers. In recent American history we have many father-son pairs which demonstrate this law: George Herbert Walker and George W. Bush, George and Mitt Romney, Birch and Evan Bayh, Mario and Andrew Cuomo, and now Ron and Rand Paul.

    The heir is a pale reflection of the father and by the third generation the dynasty peters out.

  8. Citizen
    May 4, 2014, 5:24 pm

    Wonder what Randy Paul Hair has to say about this? Here’s a list of Jewish national fund’s list of illegal settlement projects:

    link to 972mag.com

  9. Kay24
    May 4, 2014, 5:30 pm

    Despite his father’s stand regarding Israel, seems the younger Rand has decided to sleep with the Devil….like other American politicians with political ambitions seem to do. What next? Perhaps a junket trip to Israel so that he can skinny dip in the Dead Sea?

    • stopaipac
      May 5, 2014, 1:34 pm

      His father’s stance? you mean Ron Paul’s support for moving the US embassy to Occupied Jerusalem, ( link to businessinsider.com )despite it being a clear violation of international law… not that this family supports international law… Ron Paul’s opposition to sending US funds to Israel had nothing to do with supporting the human rights of Palestinians.

  10. Kathleen
    May 4, 2014, 5:36 pm

    Too much on Rand saying things like “cut aid to Israel.” So now he wipes out one of the reasons he could pull from the factual left base. He has also made statements indicating he is not into using our military against Iran. Looks like he will pull back from that also

  11. misha
    May 4, 2014, 6:01 pm

    The scoop on Rand Paul:

    link to newyorkleftist.blogspot.com

  12. surewin
    May 4, 2014, 6:46 pm

    It’s good to have this coverage of Rand Paul and his machinations, even if he has no meaningful chance of becoming President, as I believe is the case.

  13. James Canning
    May 4, 2014, 7:09 pm

    I reacted almost immediately to Rand Paul’s very foolish call for punishment of the Palestinians for their objecting to ongoing growth of illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank. Pathetic.

  14. traintosiberia
    May 4, 2014, 9:08 pm

    Well 2 psychopaths are sizing up each other .

  15. eGuard
    May 4, 2014, 9:10 pm

    Philip Weiss: P.S. MJ Rosenberg says Paul is grovelling:

    MJ Rosenberg (long time hero of this site) is off, right? Or am I supposed to really read his stuff still? Did he apologise to Ali Abunimah yet? MJ is a “liberal Zionist” to me.

  16. DICKERSON3870
    May 5, 2014, 1:25 am

    RE: “Now Rand Paul wants to ‘Stand with Israel’”

    ALSO SEE: “Rand Paul Takes on AIPAC for Opposing Palestinian Aid Cut”, By Bill Hoffmann, newsmax.com, Thursday, 01 May 2014

    [EXCERPT] A bill that could potentially cut off foreign aid to Palestinians has some surprising opposition: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful pro-Israel lobby, says Sen. Rand Paul, who is sponsoring the legislation.

    “Ironically, the group AIPAC is pushing back this bill and this is to me very troubling,” Paul told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

    “If I were to speak to the 10,000 folks who come up here [to Capitol Hill] in support of AIPAC, the vast majority of them would support my bill.

    “And yet the political establishment up here thinks, ‘oh we’re going to stop this because we’ve always given foreign aid to the Palestinians and we frankly don’t care what their behavior is.’”

    Urgent: Do You Support Rand Paul for President? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

    Paul believes the opposition is bound to roil the nation as news of it emerges.

    “The American people, if they knew that, 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 Palestinians,’” Paul said. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to newsmax.com

  17. Citizen
    May 5, 2014, 2:02 am

    Zionist regular says: Rand Paul is wrong 2 cut off aid 2 Palestine because it would ruin Israel’s Palestinian kapos link to israelhayom.com via @IsraelHayomENG

  18. David Samel
    May 5, 2014, 8:47 am

    Over at antiwar.com – link to original.antiwar.com – Justin Raimondo, a genuine critic of Israel who is usually worth reading though not consistently reliable, has a very different view, consistent with a blah chick’s comment above. Raimondo thinks Paul’s gambit is a cleverly disguised anti-Israel move:

    I’m the only one who seems to have caught on to Sen. Paul’s latest curve ball: his “pro-Israel” bill that would wind up costing the Israelis a pretty penny.

    Entitled the “Stand With Israel Act,” the legislation would cut off all aid to the Palestinian authorities within five weeks if they fail to recognize Israel, abjure terrorism, and pledge not to attack the Jewish state.

    It is being opposed by AIPAC, the largest and most politically connected pro-Israel lobbying organization, and – from its perspective – with good reason,: because the loss in aid would have to be made up for by the occupying power, i.e. Israel, which has the legal obligation, under international law, to provide basic infrastructure on Palestinian territory it controls. The international and local repercussions of not providing these basics just aren’t worth the price, and so AIPAC is doing Tel Aviv’s bidding in opposing Paul’s bill – not that the AIPAC leadership has to be told.

    Moreover, AIPAC argues that present law is sufficient to rule out any US aid to a coalition Fatah-Hamas government, while Paul’s bill calls this into question. Ah, say the Paul folks, but can the Obama administration be trusted to not utilize the ever-present waiver which is a key part of any restriction on “foreign aid”? We have all sorts of “human rights” and “anti-terrorist” legislation making economic and military aid conditional on satisfying all sorts of criteria: the kicker is the President can waive these conditions in the name of the “national interest” – he being the very embodiment of that exalted myth.

    Very clever – the “Stand With Israel” Act satisfies practically every constituency important to the Senator’s presidential prospects. The very name is enough to fool the snake-handling yahoos whose pastors liken standing with Israel to standing up for Jesus. Hey, they’re cutting off aid to those terrorist heathens! Yippee! You got a problem with that?

    Informed that Israel may wind up paying the tab, this same yahoo might very well look you in the eye and ask: Well, what’s wrong with that?

    Paul’s public statements certainly appear to be pandering to the pro-Israel crowd, as he no doubt intends, but AIPAC’s opposition does give one pause. Certainly, AIPAC’s claim that it opposes Paul’s bill “because it doesn’t want to defund until Hamas joins the government” doesn’t ring true. When has AIPAC ever tread cautiously when punishing Palestinians is on the table? The reconciliation agreement is surely enough for Israel, and AIPAC, to “retaliate.” Raimondo is probably correct as to AIPAC’s motivation, but his devout hope for a libertarian hero is coloring his rosy view of Paul.

    • LeaNder
      May 5, 2014, 9:41 am

      David, Justin Raimondo, is a libertarian, this may be party politics. Isn’t Paul too?

      That out of the way. Concerning the larger US perceived consent on matters, this may well contain a grain of truth. In other words simply be part of political maneuvering for specific political aims.

      What about an update on McCarthyism or some type of Inquisition so we understand better. ;)

      I think WWI could in fact have been avoided, but I doubt that is true about WWII.. I also think that had e.g. France not lured the Russian Tsar into WWI, to nitpick on the issue, the world would have looked different after. I may be wrong, no doubt, but I guess that is my core dissent with Justin. And yes, paradoxically enough, of the isolationists at the time. With the full awareness that I probably would have been in their camp at the time.

      Maybe the US libertarians and their aligned friends on the issue need their own disappointment experience. Some problems may be systemic with some exploiting them better than others, at least so far.

    • James Canning
      May 5, 2014, 1:57 pm

      Is it possible for a politician to gain the nomination for the presidency, if Aipac is opposed?

  19. amigo
    May 5, 2014, 10:14 am

    Rand wants America to stand with the APARTHEID Regime and the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing and theft and destruction of peoples homes and property.

    And he wants the USA to make this official.

    Does he also want the USA to stand with Russia and it,s theft of part of Ukraine.Will he put forward the “Stand with Russia”act.

    Enter the newest donkey fellator.

  20. Accentitude
    May 6, 2014, 3:22 am

    Nice to know that American national politics are less about doing whats in the best interests of America and more about how you can out-Pro-Israel the other Pro-Israeli politicians. The common American voter no longer has a voice because its been replaced by the nefarious voices of AIPAC, ZOA, J-Street and the Crypt Keeper himself, good of ol’ Sheldy Adelson. Its amusing and equally disturbing that politicans are busting their asses to have some sort of political relevancy on Capitol Hill by kissing up to the Israeli Lobby. In Rand Paul’s case, its quite pathetic and humiliating. Someone needs to remind him that has a spine and maybe a pair of gonads (not quite so sure).

    On a side note, someone sent me an email that contained a job posting for Pacific Northwest Regional Director of AIPAC: link to linkedin.com I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended for me, unless it was a joke, I guess. Given that I’m a liberal pro-BDS human rights advocate/Christian Palestinian, what do you think my chances are of being the #1 guy at AIPAC’s Seattle branch? They are an equal opportunity employer after all.

  21. Citizen
    May 6, 2014, 10:47 am

    Meanwhile, here’s the latest summary of USA’s HUGE $ aid to Israel: link to fas.org

    Will this ever end? If you think so, please explain how. Thanks.

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