The National Jewish Democratic Council’s executive director, Aaron Keyak, released a vitriolic statement over the weekend that attacked Republicans who made Rand Paul the winner of CPAC’s straw poll, intimating Paul ‘s foreign policy vies would be dangerous for Israel.
The NJDC has discredited itself, in the eyes of many pro-Israel Jews, with its support for Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, despite his long history of anti-Israel statements and incidents of anti-Jewish language–which it had once criticized.
Keyak based his bizarre and rabidly partisan statement on Paul’s statements about cutting foreign aid:
Regardless of political affiliation, American Jews should be alarmed that the Republican Party’s core activists have selected Senator Rand Paul to be their preferred standard bearer for 2016.
Senator Paul has called multiple times to cut and end American aid to Israel, and has refused to rule out a containment strategy vis-à-vis Iran. Paul’s misguided foreign policy views are nothing short of dangerous, and his growing legitimacy among the GOP’s base is only another reason why the vast majority of Jewish Americans consistently support the Democratic Party.
Keyak and his cohorts willingly ignore the strong statements Paul has made in support of Israel. When visiting Israel in January, Paul said of Israeli settlements, “America should and does have an opinion about these things, but ultimately these are decisions you have to make.”
Contrast that to Joe Biden’s rabid comment about the settlements in 2010: “I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units.”
Paul continued in January by remarking about the trouble Israel was having with Gaza, “I don’t think you need to call me on the phone and get permission to stop missiles raining down from Gaza.”
When asked about cutting foreign aid, Paul asserted, ” … that we have to reassess who to give aid to, and when we do reassess that, I would begin with countries that are burning our flag and chanting ‘Death to America.’ No one is accusing Israel of that.”
In an interview with Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro in January, Paul spoke of how his position on foreign aid matched Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s ultimate desire for independence: “I agree with Netanyahu who said in 1996 he’d like to be independent of foreign aid so Israel could be more of a sovereign nation.”
When Shapiro asked, “If Israel comes under attack from its enemies, does the United States stand with Israel in terms of giving military foreign aid?”, Paul immediately responded, “Well, absolutely we stand with Israel, but I think what we should do is announce to the world, and I think it’s pretty well known, that any attack on Israel will be treated as an attack on the United States.”
Nothing Paul has said remotely compares to Hagel’s statements on Israel, such as that Israel keeps Palestinians “caged up like animals” or that the “Jewish lobby” bullies members of Congress. In 2007, the NJDC criticized Hagel but reversed itself when he was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2013.