Rand Paul?!? Who'd a thunk it?
Concluding a week-long visit to Israel, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) said it's none of the United States' business
where Israel builds or how it defends itself.
It is “none of our business” whether Israel builds new neighborhoods
in east Jerusalem or withdraws from the Golan Heights, and the US should
not tell Israel how to defend itself, US Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)
said Saturday night at the end of a week-long visit to the country.
a maverick libertarian senator known for his advocacy of slashing US
foreign aid, said at a press briefing that the issue of cutting aid to
Israel -- something he advocates as part of a gradual process -- did not
come up during his meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or
President Shimon Peres.
Paul said that he was not interested in the message of his trip being
that he came here “touting and spouting “ cutting aid to Israel. “I came
here to show that I am supportive of the relationship between Israel
and America,” he said.
“The biggest threat to our nation right now is our debt,” said Paul,
adding that a bankrupt America would not be a good ally for Israel.
“This does mean 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.”
While Paul said the US should not meddle in Israel’s decision making
regarding settlement construction or the Golan Heights, he said Iran was
a different issue because it had ramifications for the entire Middle
The senator, who voted for sanctions against Iran, said the
sanctions would have a better chance of success if Russia and China were
involved, and advocated using trade leverage with those countries to
get them on board. As opposed to what he termed “show votes” on
sanctions at the UN, where some countries do whatever they can to show
their strong opposition to the US, he advocated “ quiet diplomacy” with
China and Russia on the matter.
“We do a lot of trade with Russia,
and Iran does some,” he said. “But I think the trade with America is
more important to China and Russia, and I think that trade should be
used with some leverage to get them to cooperate and help talk Iran down
and get them to do the right thing.”
Paul was not the only
republican senator in the country over the weekend, and Netanyahu on
Friday met another delegation of five republican senators -- led by
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, another Kentucky senator --
where Iran was the focus of discussion.
“My priority, if I’m
elected for a next term as prime minister, will be first to stop Iran
from getting nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told the delegation."I think
that was and remains the highest priority for both our countries. I
appreciate the American support and your support for that end. “
Labels: Rand Paul, US foreign aid, US-Israel relationship