RYAN MAURO: RON PAUL’S WAR ON ISRAEL
Rep. Ron Paul is now in first place in the Iowa caucus polls, second in New Hampshire and third nationally. This has prompted a former close aide of his, Eric Dondero, to speak out about the anti-Israeli views he expressed to him in private. The Paul campaign is ridiculing Dondero as a “disgruntled former staffer” and another aide, an Israeli, is defending Paul. A close examination of Paul’s books, newsletters and statements give credence to Dondero.
Dondero worked closely with Paul from 1987 to 2003. After he left, he nearly ran against Ron Paul but instead supported another candidate. Dondero claims that the presidential candidate is not anti-Semitic but “wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all.” Dr. Leon Hadar, a dual American-Israeli citizen who served as a foreign policy advisor to Paul during his 2008 presidential campaign, has risen to Paul’s defense. He says that Paul does not want to see Israel eliminated as a state, yet Paul praises an anti-Zionist group that envisions just that.
On page 317 of his book, “Liberty Defined,” Paul laments the influence of the Israeli government on America and the “apartheid conditions that Palestinians are subjected to.” He says that “Even newspapers in Israel are willing to discuss this issue openly, but it is essentially never permitted in the United States.” He praises J-Street for challenging “AIPAC’s monopoly control of the discussion” and Peace Now. He expresses his pleasure that an anti-Zionist group called the American Council for Judaism has growing support.
The American Council for Judaism is opposed the concept of Jewish nationality and a Jewish state. The editor of its publications, Allan C. Brownfield, told the New York Times that “While we wish Israel well, we don’t view it as our homeland.” In the fall of 2010, he wrote a glowing book review of “The Dark Side of Zionism.” The title speaks for itself.
In spring 2009, the American Council for Judaism’s Issues publication carried an article by Yakov M. Rabkin that defends Iran and bashes Israel. He writes that Jews are treated well in Iran and that “the role of the Israel Lobby has been seminal in the anti-Iran hysteria.”
“The religiously inspired Iranian president predicts the end of the Zionist regime, but he does not threaten to massacre the inhabitants of Israel,” the ACJ’s publication states. The author agrees with Ahmadinejad in predicting the eventual disappearance of Israel and talks about the “contradictions” between Zionism and Judaism. He also says that Zionism “takes precedence over the human welfare and the very survival of the Jews.” This is the group that Ron Paul speaks fondly of.
Voters first saw a glimpse of Paul’s attitude towards Israel during an argument with Newt Gingrich. The former House speaker was under fire for calling the Palestinians an “invented” people. Paul did not necessarily disagree, conceding that “Technically and historically” Gingrich is right. He then added, “You know, under the Ottoman Empire, the Palestinians didn’t have a state, but neither did Israel have a state then, too.”
Ron Paul defends Iran’s innocence, going so far as to say there is no evidence that it is seeking a nuclear weapon, stands in sharp contrast to the heaps of criticism he levels towards Israel. In January 2009, he talked to Iranian state TV about the “tragedy of Gaza” (his words) and said, “To me, I look at it like a concentration camp, and people [in Gaza] are making homemade bombs, like they are the aggressors?”
He made similar comments in an interview in June 2010 with Don Imus, calling the flotilla raid “horrible” and again accusing Israel of turning the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into a “concentration camp” by blocking the arrival of humanitarian aid.
He consistently paints the terrorist threat as beginning and ending with U.S. support for Israel. He writes in “A Foreign Policy of Freedom” that American “dollars and weapons are being used against the Palestinians as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel’s occupation expands.” Elsewhere in the book, he complains that “all recent presidents have reiterated our obligation to bleed for Israel.”
Ron Paul stresses that he is not an enemy of Israel. He calls the country America’s “best friend,” and says the U.S. should be a “friend” and not a “master.” He says that U.S. foreign aid is used to coerce Israel and “They are a democracy and we share many values with them.” Paul says that his opposition to foreign aid is in line with Zionism, which asserts Jewish independence and self-reliance. However, that is a separate question from whether he believes Israel’s foundations are legitimate, and, furthermore, he says that the U.S. should be a “friend” to all countries.
Ron Paul’s old newsletters are being reviewed now that he is in the top tier. James Kirchick tracked almost all of them down and observed that “No foreign country was mentioned in the newsletters more often than Israel.” A 1987 issue calls the country an “aggressive, national socialist state.” In 1990, it warned of the “tens of thousands of well-placed friends of Israel in all countries who are willing to wok [sic] for the Mossad in their area of experience.”
After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, his newsletter stated, “Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.” Another talked about “The Israeli lobby, which plays Congress like a cheap harmonica.” In November 1993, it referred to Bobby Fischer, an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier, as an “American hero” with views that are “very politically incorrect on Jewish questions.” The text seemed to decry the fact that that his opinions were overshadowing his accomplishments as a master chess player.
Ron Paul says he did not read the newsletters before they were published and does not agree with their content. His campaign says that he “did not write, edit or authorize” them and that he completely rejects their bigotry.
Eric Dondero claims that Paul “strenuously does not believe the United States had any business getting involved in fighting Hitler in WWII. He expressed to me countless times, that ‘saving the Jews,’ was absolutely none of our business.” Blogger Jeffrey Scott Shapiro recalls a conversation he had with Paul in 2009 on the subject. He quotes Paul as saying that he “wouldn’t risk American lives to do that [stop the Holocaust]” if it is “purely as a moral imperative.”
“If someone wants to do that on their own because they want to do that, well, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t do that,” he quotes Paul. He is on record as describing himself as part of the “Old Right,” a movement that opposed U.S. involvement in World War Two.
Dondero also says that Paul opposed the war in Afghanistan and any retaliation for 9/11, “pretty much forbade us staffers from engaging in any sort of [9/11] memorial expressions” and privately questioned whether 9/11 was an inside job. Ron Paul has repeatedly denied that he believes in 9/11 conspiracy theories, but in an interview in October, he was asked why he wouldn’t talk about the “truth” behind 9/11. He responded that he “just can’t handle the controversy.”
Rep. Ron Paul can state that he’s a friend to Israel all he wants, but the published record stands. He views Israel as the catalyst for 9/11, defends Iran’s innocence, parrots the anti-Israeli propaganda of Hamas, and upholds an anti-Zionist organization that views Israel as an oppressive, illegitimate state. That is not a friend.
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