He was banned by the Republican Jewish Coalition from a debate on Jewish issues in Washington this week because of his “misguided and extreme views,” according to the group’s executive director, Matt Brooks.
But Newsmax interviewed him specifically about Israel. I read his statements and was astonished at his balanced, cogent, wise and gracious replies to the no-holds-barred questions:
Newsmax: What should our relationship be with Israel?He's the first presidential candidate I can think of who is obviously willing to be "friends with all" but refuses to pander to anyone. And, as his campaign manager wrote Wednesday evening (and as I've been discovering; watch his 2008 interviews; he hasn't wavered on any of the issues; they are as good today as they were four years ago), he's a candidate who "doesn't have to run from his record or explain away inconsistencies."
Ron Paul: We should be their friend and their trading partner. They are a democracy and we share many values with them. But we should not be their master. We should not dictate where their borders will be nor should we have veto power over their foreign policy.
This is not just about Israel, by the way, this is about how we should conduct ourselves with other countries around the world.
Newsmax: But Israel is not like other countries. We have a large Jewish population in America. What do you say to those who criticize your policy toward Israel?
Ron Paul: I think that some not only misunderstand the American Constitution and the role we should have in the world, they also misunderstand Zionism. Part of the original idea of Zionism, as I understand it, was that there should be Jewish independence and Jewish self-reliance. Today, America doesn’t want anyone to be self-reliant. We want to rule the world and be the saviors of the world and we are going broke in the process.
Newsmax: Some object to your policy of cutting foreign aid to Israel.
Ron Paul: I have objected to all foreign aid. I define foreign aid as taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries. We just can’t keep doing this. We don’t have the money anymore.
Stop and consider America’s policy: We give $3 billion a year to Israel in loans; and we give $12 billion or more in assistance to Israel’s self-declared enemies. Some of these are countries that say they will drive Israel into the sea.
Newsmax: What do you say to evangelical Christians who want that aid to continue?
Ron Paul: I say to them that our aid in the region is out of balance and it is wrong. Foreign aid does not help Israel. It is a net disadvantage. I say to them that “the borrower is servant to the lender” and America should never be the master of Israel and its fate. We should be her friend.
In October, 1981, most of the world and most of the Congress voiced outrage over Israel’s attack on Iraq and their nuclear development. I was one of the few who defended her right to make her own decisions on foreign policy and to act in her own self-interest.
Newsmax: What then, if anything, should we do for Israel?
Ron Paul: We should share intelligence for mutually agreed-upon goals. We should honor our pledge to refuse any arms sales that would undermine Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.
But we should stop interfering with them. We should not announce bargaining positions even before she begins her negotiations. We should not dictate what she can and cannot do. We should stop trying to buy her allegiance. And Israel should stop sacrificing their sovereignty as an independent state to us or anybody else, no matter how well-intentioned.