• In obvious move to pander to Jewish donors and voters, Kentucky senator proposes bill to punish Palestinians by cutting off financial aid to poverty-stricken people.
By Victor Thorn —
It’s an almost universal maxim that every aspiring candidate must bow down before the Israel lobby’s altar when trying to attain political office in the United States. Maybe the most pathetic example of this was vice presidential candidate Joe Biden’s August 23, 2008 quip, “I am a Zionist.”
The latest example of this traitorous behavior was demonstrated on April 9, when Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced the Stand with Israel Act of 2014 (S.2265). In the simplest terms, Paul wants to stop all foreign aid to the Palestinian government unless they “formally recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.”
A few years ago, on January 30, 2011, Paul actually argued that the federal government should “zero out all foreign aid, including that to Israel,” a proposal that this newspaper supported at the time.
A few days later, on February 4, 2011, Paul added: “[Israel’s] per capita income is greater than probably three-fourths of the rest of the world. Should we be giving free money or welfare to a wealthy nation? I don’t think so.”
Today, with prospects likely that Paul will be making a run for the White House in 2016, he has been backpedaling as fast as he can on his initial statement to end all U.S. taxpayer handouts for Israel, going so far as to call for ending aid to impoverished Palestinians until they give up their claim to land stolen from them by the Israelis.
To get more information on Paul’s stark reversal, on May 8, AMERICAN FREE PRESS interviewed Michele Esposito, executive director of the Institute for Palestine Studies.
Regarding the motive behind Paul’s bill, Esposito said: “Nobody really takes it seriously. In the run-up to his 2016 presidential run, he’s obviously pandering. Even AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] has publicly come out against his efforts, which is more proof that he’s just posturing.”
Indeed, an AIPAC spokesman announced on May 1: “We are not supporting the Paul bill. We believe the law currently on the books is strong.”
Esposito addressed other problems associated with Paul’s political ploy.
“The PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] has already recognized Israel’s right to exist three times, the first time being in 1978 when PLO chairman Yasser Arafat did so,” he said. “The crucial language in Paul’s bill is that Palestine must recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This distinction means that Israel wouldn’t have to take back Palestinians within their borders under a right of return. In actuality, this type of wording is a further delay tactic by Israel, because they have no intention of negotiating with the Palestinians.”
Chris Toensing, executive director of the Middle East Research and Information Project, agreed. On May 8, he told this reporter: “Rand Paul’s bill is outrageous. He’s positioning himself for a presidential run, and he has a reputation, because of his father, of being against the U.S.’s so-called special relationship with Israel. To win the White House, Paul must kowtow to the idea that his bond with Israel is unbreakable, unshakable and untouchable.”
Toensing added, “When Rand Paul spoke about cutting foreign aid to all countries, including Israel, it placed him on the Israel lobby’s radar. Obviously, they want to keep the status quo. So, I’m sure Paul got a message through back channels and front channels that he had to moderate his stance on this issue.”
Shifting gears, Toensing said, “The actual development that everyone should be focusing on is that John Kerry’s Middle East peace process is dead.”
Toensing provided the following analysis to support his contention. “These talks fell through because of Israeli intransigence and Kerry’s refusal to talk about real issues. That means cutting aid to Israel, or at least putting conditions on it.”
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 40 books.