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Profile in Courage: Ron Paul Says U.S. Should Not Take Sides in Cycle of Violence

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The most horrifying detail for me of the Jerusalem massacre was the fact that the gunman apparently worked at the school. Israelis must be saying, we can’t trust any of these Arabs, even our servants and employees. I saw that when I was in Jerusalem: the seething hatred toward Jews among Arabs, which came out when I was sitting for a while with shopowners. And I saw the same hatred on the other side, of Jews towards Arabs. I witnessed the utter separation of cultures… the absence of Arab handicrafts or arts in my Jewish friends’ homes…

There’s a cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine. The Arab gunman was stirred to violence by the killings of 120 Palestinians in Gaza by the Israelis. We will soon have retribution, and counter-retribution. Four years ago I heard Ari Fleischer, Bush’s former spokesman, brag to a Cincinnati Jewish audience that he had never used the words "cycle of violence" during his tenure in the White House. This was not an achievement; it was a distortion of reality, fostered by the Israel lobby, an effort to convince Americans that one side is virtuous in this bloody awful situation, the Israeli side. It is connected to a delusion that the Bush Administration and supporters of Israel are purveying, that the U.S. is also in this war on the virtuous side, and that our role is to crush the terrorists. But what is the lesson of Iraq? Leading American politicians have stated that the terrorism in Baghdad is born of political disputes. And so we don’t take sides in Iraq between Shi’ites and Sunnis. Well Israelis and Palestinians are the Shiites and Sunnis of Palestine; the Middle East is embroiled in violent power struggles.

Ron Paul was the sole vote in the House against a resolution that condemned the Palestinians for shooting rockets at Israel, and supported Israel’s attacks on the Palestinians. Paul was brief and eloquent on the floor: 

I believe it is appalling that
Palestinians are firing rockets that harm innocent Israelis, just as I believe
it is appalling that Israel

fires missiles into Palestinian areas where children and other non-combatants
are killed and injured.  

legislation such as this is more likely to perpetuate violence in the Middle East than contribute to its abatement. It is our continued involvement and
intervention – particularly when it appears to be one-sided – that reduces
the incentive for opposing sides to reach a lasting peace agreement.  

this bill will continue the march toward war with Iran and Syria, as it contains provocative language targeting these countries. The legislation
oversimplifies the Israel/Palestine conflict and the larger unrest in the Middle
[emphasis Weiss’s] by simply pointing the finger atIran and Syria. This is another piece in a steady series of legislation passed in the House
that intensifies enmity between the U.S. and Iran and Syria. My colleagues will recall that we saw a similar steady stream of provocative
legislation against Iraq in the years before the U.S. attack on that country.

The vote was 404-1. Some day this vote will be in history books, as evidence of the miserable imbalance in our foreign policy. Ron Paul’s courage on this vote was surely shored up by his discussions with his foreign-policy advisers Robert Pape and Leon Hadar. I have to believe that Barack Obama is listening…

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