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I Am Not Anti-Semitic – A Response from Ron Paul

It was inevitable, I suppose. Once Ron Paul rose to the top-tier of candidates, it didn’t take long before the accusations began to fly. Old theories about his supposed racism, fueled by the continued discussion of the newsletters published some two decades ago, have gained new traction in the media. The new and old media have both been regurgitating the accusations, in spite of Ron Paul having disavowed them and his attempts to prove them false. We now have a former staffer who has came forward, claiming to have extensive knowledge of the real Ron Paul. Eric Dondero has written a fairly long article about his associations with Paul, including his “insider” knowledge of how the Congressman “really feels” about a range of issues. What I find odd about this is how Dondero’s word has been accepted as gospel by most in the media, yet when the Paul campaign points out that he was fired for performance issues, the media asks that they provide proof of that.

When I endorsed Ron Paul for the GOP nomination for President, I did not intend to turn Political Realities into a cheerleader for his campaign. I have written about him when I felt the need to do so, as was the case when I defended him against Michelle Bachmann’s charge that he would be a dangerous President. Such would be the case now, as I see the charges of racism, anti-Semitism, of generally being out of touch with his foreign policy, mount against him. To raise that defense, I want to use an email interview of Ron Paul by Haaretz.com, which addresses the issues of how he feels about Israel and about racism and anti-Semitism. Out of the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Haaretz has a unique perspective, in that they are a Jewish website.

Q. What was your reaction to your exclusion from the function held by the Republican Jewish Coalition, to which all the rest of the candidates were invited?

Paul: Well, it was a bit surprising and disappointing. I believe that Israel is one of our most important friends in the world. And the views that I hold have many adherents in Israel today. Two of the tenets of a true Zionist are “self-determination” and “self-reliance.” I do not believe we should be Israel’s master but, rather, her friend. We should not be dictating her policies and announcing her negotiating positions before talks with her neighbors have even begun.

Q. The RJC characterized your views on Israel as “misguided and extreme”. Why do you think they view your views in that way?

Paul: I do not know, as I am the one candidate who would respect Israel’s sovereignty and not try to dictate to her about how she should deal with her neighbors. I supported Israel’s right to attack the Iraqi nuclear reactor in the 1980s, and I opposed President Obama’s attempt to dictate Israel’s borders this year.

Q. Do you think that the American debate on Israel is stifled?

Paul: There is no question that the problems of the Middle East have been intractable and may take new solutions and ideas. These ideas should all be openly discussed. I believe that my opinions have been distorted by those who want to continue America’s current role as world policeman, which we don’t have the money or manpower to sustain.

My philosophy, like that of the Founding Fathers, is that we should use our resources to protect our nation. Our policies of intervention and manipulation in Iran and Iraq and other places have led to unintended consequences and have not made Israel safer. Many in the Jewish community share my opinion, and it’s vital for both nations that we continue to have an open dialogue.

Q. In a 2007 clip that is on YouTube, you say, “Israel should be treated like everybody else”. Is that still your position, or do you believe that Israel and the United States have a “special relationship”?

Paul: Well, we do have some unique arrangements. We trade intelligence in areas when it serves our mutual interest, for instance. But I believe we have gone too far, to Israel’s detriment. Instead of being her friend, we have dominated her foreign policy.

Q. In that same clip, you also say that the motivation of al-Qaida for the 9/11 attacks was American support for Israel. Do you still believe that?

Paul: I think most people in the Middle East and probably in Israel would agree that this was a major factor. That in itself does not make our policies right or wrong. Our policies need to be discussed on their own merits, but as a matter of course, yes, our support of Israel has made us enemies.

Other U.S. policies, such as our stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia and our support for repressive regimes in the region, also play a role in hostilities to the U.S. Those in the Arab world who object to the U.S.’ support for dictatorships and to our military presence there often see Israel as the agent of the U.S. Thus, not only do Israel’s relations with the U.S. cause some negative feelings toward America, but they further Arab hostility toward Israel, which is one reason why Israel would be better off without U.S. aid.

Q. In the Fox News presidential debate you expressed understanding and even sympathy for the Iran having nuclear weapons. But Israelis view an Iranian nuclear capability as an existential threat to their country. Do you disagree? Do you not believe Iranian leaders who say that Israel should be “wiped off the map”?

Paul: I am against the spread of nuclear weapons. But I do understand why other nations want them and why they don’t accept the nuclear monopoly as it now stands. You cannot change an opinion you don’t understand. I understand it and would try to change it.
However, there’s a key fact that it seems is being overlooked when my positions are discussed. I believe I’m the only candidate who would allow Israel to take immediate action to defend herself without having to get our approval. Israel should be free to take whatever steps she deems necessary to protect her national security and sovereignty.

Q. Do you support completely cutting all foreign aid, including the aid to Israel?

Paul: Yes, I am personally against all foreign aid. We give $3 billion to Israel and $12 billion to her avowed enemies. How does that help Israel? And in return, we act like her master and demand veto power over her foreign policy.
If I were President, such aid would not end until the Congress agreed and voted for it to end, because I would be President as the U.S. Constitution defines it. I am not running for dictator.

But I believe that federal foreign aid is absurd. We’re broke! We are like a man who used to be rich and is in the habit of paying for everybody’s meals and announces at a lavish dinner that he will pay the bill, only to then turn to the fellow sitting nearby and say, “Can I use your credit card? I will pay you back.” It is ridiculous for us to be borrowing money from China and giving it to Pakistan.
I have described foreign aid as taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries. I know that many in other nations are hurting, but I also know that the American people are a generous people. While we should end the unconstitutional federal foreign aid program, I would encourage Americans to continue to voluntarily contribute to the needs of other nations.

Q. In the past, you have been accused by various groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, of accepting the support of racist and anti-Semitic elements and of not doing anything to distance yourself from them. What is your reaction to this accusation?

Paul: I have always made it clear, and will continue to do so, that my message is based on the rights of all people to be treated equally. Any type of racism or anti-Semitism is incompatible with my philosophy. Ludwig von Mises, the great economist whose writing helped inspire my political career, was a Jew who was forced to leave his native Austria to escape the Nazis. Mises wrote about the folly of seeing people as part of groups rather than as individuals. Therefore, for me to advance anti-Semitism in any way would be a betrayal of my own intellectual heritage.

I know a series of questions and answers via email is not a definitive answer to the charges that are being thrown at Ron Paul. However, I think his answers give us a little insight as to how the man thinks and how he approaches the issues facing our country. He clearly has nothing against Israel, but he does want them to be treated fairly and equally. He has a point, in that our financial aid to them is dwarfed by the financial aid we give to some of her enemies. We should think about that, long and hard, before we classify Paul’s desire to cut off foreign aid to Israel and every other country who is holding out their hand. In my humble opinion, Paul’s position on Israel makes perfect sense.

I am not the only person who holds this opinion. According to Dr. Leon Hadar, who advised was an adviser to Ron Paul during his 2008 campaign, Eric Dondero’s classification of Paul being anti-Israel is simply not true. From Haaretz.com:

Speaking with Haaretz on Tuesday, Hadar discounted Paul’s characterization as anti-Israel, saying: “He is against Israel as I am against January. He is just against foreign aid, and does not see any reason to grant an aid to the country that is a member of OECD.”

“We should remember it’s the primaries, and the Republican party establishment is not happy about his popularity, because on many issues his positions run contrary to the traditional party’s agenda,” Hadar added.

The former aide also indicated that Rep. Paul was in favor of “economic cooperation with Israel, he was interested in the economic reforms in Israel.”

“He will be glad to see the conflict resolved and he said it’s the right of Israel to attack Iran if it thinks that is necessary – but it shouldn’t expect the U.S. to clean the mess,” he said, adding that Paul is “very familiar with Israel’s history. I didn’t hear his conversations with his former aide, but I personally have never heard him say anything against Israel or the Jews.”

Referring to claims according to which Paul was in favor of “handing Israel back” to the Arabs, Hadar said it was “absurd to say he is more supportive of Arabs or Iran than Israel – he just thinks the U.S. shouldn’t meddle in other countries issues.”

“I think it’s quite pro-Israeli, because the U.S. won’t stay in the Middle East forever, and Israel should figure out how to deal with its challenges,” Hadar said, adding that there “is little doubt the current campaign against him and the attempts to paint him as anti-Israeli might cause him harm among the Evangelicals, whose support is more significant during the primaries than the Republican Jewish support.”

As you can see, there are two sides to this story. Before we automatically accept a former staffer’s word of how Ron Paul “really feels” on certain issues, we need to take it all into context. All may not be as it seems.

About LD Jackson

LD Jackson has written 1994 posts in this blog.

Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

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  • http://westernhero.blogspot.com silverfiddle

    “our support of Israel has made us enemies.” As has protecting Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from Saddam Hussein.

    So what’s the logical conclusion other than to stop standing up for others? Even when it is out strategic interest?

    And this business of us giving 4X the amount of foreign aid to Israel’s “Enemies” is a rhetorical sleight of hand. Until this year, Egypt was not Israel’s enemy, and neither is Jordan nor the Palestinian Authority. In all honesty, this is bribe money paid by us to these people to keep them in line and keep the peace over there.

    We can debate the merits of this, but to characterize it as us showering Israel’s enemies with money while we only give a few nickles to Israel is tendentious as best.

    Paul is a grand obfuscator, which makes him no better or no worse than any other DC politician.

    • http://christianfearinggodman.blogspot.com Jack Camwell

      I think that we’ve created a problem in that Israel believes it can do whatever it wants, because it believes that the US will stop it from being invaded. I don’t think that we have a healthy relationship with Israel right now, and Dr. Paul is right that we need to come up with new solutions to this problem.

      I have no idea what the solutions should be, but we all have to admit that nothing we’ve done so far has helped the situation at all.

      • http://westernhero.blogspot.com silverfiddle

        Jack: I readily recognize it is a horrible dynamic fraught with problems and opportunity for mischief. It’s tangled and messy, which is an apt description for how the world works.

        There are no easy answers, and anyone who claims to be peddling them should be viewed with suspicion.

      • scott

        Your right that we are not able to solve the issues of Israel _ the solutions are already written down_ they have only to be played out_ Israel is on a path of providence to show the power of God and is under his name. In fact the scriptures say ‘for may name sake” and not for their righteousness. Will he save them. So it is not possible for any man to change it and we can have faith that all things work to the good of those who love Him So for isreal what ever happens is guided by providence_

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      I’m not sure there is a logical conclusion to this issue, Kurt. We all know it is a vastly complicated issue, with many variables. Who knows what the proper solution is? I honestly don’t know and I believe you have admitted neither do you. One thing we all know for sure, we have our hands right in the middle of the problem and as Jack pointed out, I am not at all convinced we haven’t made it worse by our interference.

  • http://christianfearinggodman.blogspot.com Jack Camwell

    Very informative Larry. Assuming he’s not lying, and I believe him to be one of the few politicians who don’t lie often if ever, then this clears up a lot of misgivings I had about his foreign policy ideas.

    What I find silly is the fact that Pakistan and India are bitter enemies that would love nothing more than to wipe each other out, yet we let them both have nukes. Are we only pressuring Iran because we believe Israel to have major strategic value?

    I think we often believe ourselves to be virtuous servants of humanity, but if we look at our foreign policy decisions in the last 20-30 years, we can see an interesting pattern: we only intervene if we think it will have a positive net gain in the future.

    Nuclear non-proliferation? Please. If anyone in DC cared about that then they would have condemned India and Pakistan for developing nukes, and we would have pressured them as much as Iran. Since we didn’t, and since we’ve done things like provide Israel with nukes, I’m led to believe that we don’t give a damn about non-proliferation.

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      I thought the answers provided by Ron Paul were very informative. I hope people will read them and learn something about how he is thinking on foreign policy.

      Thanks for bringing up India and Pakistan. I had not thought of them in that context, but our treatment of them, concerning nuclear weapons, does leave room for questions. You are right, nuclear non-proliferation is a total joke.

      • http://christianfearinggodman.blogspot.com Jack Camwell

        Yeah, I mean where are the sanctions on India and Pakistan? Where were the sanctions on China? There’s little strategic value in protecting either Pakistan or India from one another, and we sure as heck wouldn’t sanction China on anything.

        But Iran has threatened to flaten Israel, a little nation that we feel is a foothold in an extremely volatile and oil rich region of the world.

        Heck, why are we even allowed to have nukes? We’ve invaded countries recently.

  • http://capitolcommentary.com Harrison

    I don’t think Paul dislikes Jews for being Jews I simply think he’s an Isolationist and that is where my issues with him are.

    But for those who are unclear what Mr. Paul believes I think your piece was well written and clear.

    • scott

      “Austin president of the NAACP”Nelson Linder says,…

      Texas Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul is not a racist and is being smeared as one because he is a clear threat to the political establishment, says Nelson Linder, Austin president of the NAACP.

      Speaking out against the charges when they first surfaced during the last Republican primary in 2007, Linder said he has personally known Paul for 20 years and heard him speak out against police oppression in minority communities, racial biases in mandatory drug sentencing, and favorably about late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      Ron Paul has only had one wife – 5 kids includes US Senator – Duke U Doctorate Grad – Vietnam Vet – Air Force Officer – Licensed Medical Doctor & surgeon – Never a scandal – Still operates clinic in TX that never charges the poor – many books published – Memorized US Constitution – gives back 1/3 of his pay. If he had to fill out an application for the POTUS. I would hire him. So should you.”

      People have come to see that the government we have is scary and our future is bleak_ Ron Paul will work to get back our freedoms, and for a short time we will pay the price_ or we can pay for it, in the devils trap in an un-going-ly way,…as the current regime continues to default our children’s futures. And so many millions of people are suddenly seeing that Ron Paul has turned out to be right on most everything he has warned us about

      But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong_
      better to be weak with God help and knowledge then wise and full of the foolishness of mans wisdom
      a peaceful resolution is always on the side of right

      I find the man who Denys Biblical Prophecy is usually to busy fulfilling it, to notice

  • Pingback: Kelly Clarkson Endorses Ron Paul, Sort Of | REPUBLICAN REDEFINED

  • http://propertyfreedompeace.blogspot.com/ Sherman Broder

    The establishment — Republicans and Democrats — will never, ever allow Ron Paul to become a serious contender for the Republican nomination without a serious fight. They can barely tolerate the man in the House. The mainstream media that carries water for the establishment will attempt to destroy Paul in the same way they destroyed Herman Cain, Sarah Palin and others who threaten to derail their Washington gravy train. Expect the smears to intensify the higher Paul climbs in the polls. (As they say, you ain’t seen nothing yet.)

    This is why it’s so very, very important that ordinary citizens disregard the smears and support Paul.

    For those of you who fear that a frail little 76 year-old libertarian will cause the sky to fall, get real. The entrenched fat cats and bureaucrats are big enough to defend their interests.

    Besides, it isn’t Paul they really fear. It’s the people getting wise to them. How else are you going to send them a message they’ll pay attention to? Don’t fool yourself by thinking Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich will have them quaking in their boots.

    • http://westernhero.blogspot.com/ silverfiddle

      It’s not a smear when it’s true:

      http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/12/flashback-ron-paul-goes-on-iranian-tv-bashes-israel-and-defends-hamas-video/

      Abandon an ally surrounded by enemies? No way. He is naive if he thinks our retreating to within our borders will solve anything. Just the opposite, it will embolden the nuts even further.

      • http://capitolcommentary.com Harrison

        Yup.

      • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

        The title of the video you linked to is not accurate. In no way did Ron Paul defend Hamas in his statement. What he did question was the conditions inside Gaza, which many have said were/are deplorable. Ron Paul is not alone in that sentiment.

        • http://westernhero.blogspot.com/ Silverfiddle

          But it is a first-hand look into his mindset, and it is such comments that provide grist for his critics.

          Sherman posited a smear. Perhaps, but the criticisms are not made of whole cloth.

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      You are exactly right, Sherman. The establishment of both political parties has no intentions of allowing Ron Paul near the GOP nomination. He threatens them entirely too much for the comfort.

  • http://maggiesnotebook.com Maggie@MaggiesNotebook

    I can certainly take Paul at his word, but it is clear that he wants no support for the only Democracy in the Middle East. To support Palestinians without acknowledging that the sole problem is the refusal to allow Israel to exist on their little sliver of land is a distinguishing factor, in my opinion.

  • http://capitolcommentary.com Harrison
  • http://conservativehideout.com Matt

    Thanks for posting this Larry. I am not supporting any candidate at this point, but the attacks on Paul are over the top. I saw the claims of anti-Semitism, and didn’t think he had that stance. Perhaps this post will help people to look at the situation in a more balanced way.

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      I hope you are right, Matt. The accusations against Ron Paul are being blown completely out of proportion, for no other reason than the fact that the establishment is running scared of the message he is espousing. Anything they can do to make him look extreme, they will do.