US Senator Ran Paul (R-Kentucky) on Wednesday expressed his disappointment with AIPAC’s opposition to his ‘Stand with Israel Act’ that would halt aid to the Palestinians Authority if Hamas fails to recognize Israel’s existence.
Halting foreign aid to a government that is backed by Hamas “I think is an important debate. I have been opposed to this debate by AIPAC though,” Senator Paul told Jewish leaders and philanthropists at a Jewish American Heritage Month – Shimon Peres Congressional Gold Medal Tribute appreciation lunch on the Capitol, organized by Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group. “I don’t discount AIPAC’s motives to say AIPAC is not for Israel and not for American-Israeli response, but there is a debate and it’s an honest debate and should be thought about.”
“All I say, I don’t condemn other people saying – AIPAC included – that they disagree with me on the bill. But I think you can be a friend of Israel in different ways, and have an honest disagreement how we go forward with this,” Sen. Paul added.
Mr. Paul, a Republican, emphasized that you can be left or right without being labeled as anti-Israel.
“I had a call today with a group of Rabbis.. and the introduction said ‘I think I can introduce him as a friend to Israel.’ And the way I responded is, that absolutely I am a friend of Israel,” he said. “What’s important for all of us to know who are friends of israel is that we are not all identical and of the identical opinion. In israel, you have people who’ve fought in the war of Independence, who are war heroes, who don’t have the same opinion as everybody else. You know – Meir Dagan is not exactly Benjamin Netanyahu. There are different people, but that doesn’t mean neither one of them loves Israel any less.”
“It’s the same in America,” Mr. Paul continued. “Do all Jews the same exact opinion on every political issue, or even how we should resolve peace in the Middle East? no. But i think we need to realize there are a variety of opinions.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Paul vowed to push forward with the bill “because our money should try and influence behavior. And I can’t see giving my money to a government that would include an entity that calls for the destruction of Israel.”
Jacob Kornbluh – JP