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.
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.
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.