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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Ron Paul cites Tamir Pardo and Gabi Ashkenazi

Ron Paul has made a couple of clever comments that give the (false) impression that Mossad chief Tamir Pardo and former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi agree with Paul on Iran. Shmuel Rosner explains.

On caucus day, Senator Rand Paul made references both on TV (CNN, Wolf Blitzer) and in other interviews to some notable Israelis. He named both the head of Mossad Tamir Pardo, and the former IDF Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi.

One should wonder: Why would a Senator from Kentucky remember the names of high ranking Israeli officials? There’s a reason: In Paul’s book, Pardo and Ashkenazi are ideological allies in his quest to prove that Iran isn’t as big a threat as some Americans claim it to be. That is why statements such as the one Pardo made a couple of days ago are so tricky. What he said is this: “What is the significance of the term ‘existential? If you said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an ‘existential’ threat, that would mean that we would have to close up shop. That’s not the situation. The term is used too freely.” Ashkenazi is also reportedly one of the more moderate voices on Iran, and opposes military confrontation. But he has also said, many times, that “The best course of action is to go with sanctions”, a course that as far as I know is not one Paul would be advocating for.

Paul’s use of Pardo and Ashkenazi was not a fluke or sudden revelation, but rather one of the tactics chosen by the Paul team as a way of proving that Paul’s position regarding Iran is not as extreme and problematic as his opponents would want it to seem. It is quite ironic, though, that the candidate seen as least supportive of Israel is now utilizing those arch-Israelis to make his position more valid.


Evoking such luminaries of security and defense plays well into the story the Paul campaign rightly raises in every opportunity: Paul has support from American military men and women more than any other candidate. But just to make sure we’re all on the same page, I must say this: Paul’s usage of Pardo’s and Ashkenazi’s position is misleading. Both think that Iran is dangerous. Both think it is not just dangerous to Israel but to the region and to the world. Even if they oppose a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, what they oppose is an Israeli attack – and would probably have a different view if asked about the possibility of an American attack.
I'm sure they would. Perhaps it's time for Romney, Santorum and Gingrich to call Paul on it.

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At 6:35 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Daddy Ron Paul? Or Sonny Rand Paul? Your intro paragraph says Ron; the rest of the article says Rand. Important because Rand is young and ambitious and tries to make himself out as more mainstream than his dad. I agree that the other candidates should call out (both) Paul...

And a suggestion: Has the advisory board of Israel Matzav considered doing some in-house Skype or in person interviews of people (in this case, Ashkenazi and Pardo) to clarify their views and their feelings about being used as cover by a guy who pals around with skinheads? It has gotten to be a small world and discussion could be posted cost effectively...

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Sam said...

Listen at about the 9 minute mark - incredible clarity from Gingrich about Paul:


Caller: I was a former Ron Paul supporter. However, at the last debate, when I heard his stance on the nuclear threat from the Middle East and his stance on Israel, I was somewhat disillusioned, and wondered, where do you stand?

Gingrich: Well, that's one of the places where I most deeply disagree with congressman Paul. I think, first of all, that his position that it doesn't matter if Israel is wiped out is just totally wrong, and I can't quite believe anyone would say that or believe that, because I think Israel is our closest ally, but also at a moral level: the Jewish people have a right to a homeland, and this goes all the way back in the bible. And so I think it's really, really wrong to be indifferent to their situation.

But in addition, this idea that we can passively accept an Iranian nuclear weapon, when we know that they are religious fanatics, and we know that you, know anybody willing to wear a body bomb, and walk into a mall,or a restaurant, or a bus and blow themselves up in order to kill us, of course they would do the same thing with a nuclear weapon. I mean, why would you think they wouldn't do the same thing? So, I really fundamentally think that Congressman Paul's views on national security - and plus, the fact that he blames America for 9/11, and says that it was our fault, and I just, as an American patriot, I find it very, very unacceptable for somebody in our congress to blame us for enemy terrorists coming to our cities to kill innocent civilians. So there really is a big gap between where I am and where congressman Paul is...


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