Sen. Rand Paul has flip-flopped again on his goal of eliminating aid to Israel. First he was for cutting it, then he was against it and now he’s back but with a caveat: not right away.
In an interview this week the Kentucky Republican with presidential ambitions repeated his goal of phasing out aid to Israel as well as every other country.
During the recent war in Gaza he denied he'd ever proposed ending aid to Israel during a 2011 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, but on Friday he switched back and told Blitzer that the original position is once again operative.
He said he's tried repeatedly in the Senate to put restrictions on foreign aid but failed. His "eventual goal," he said, "is to eliminate all aid."
He’ll start by restricting aid to countries that "either hate us, burn our flag or persecute Christians or other religious minorities.” But eventually, he wants to halt aid to friends, including Israel.
Paul insists he does not share his father's well-known hostility toward the Jewish state. Former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas ran repeatedly as a Republican and a Libertarian for president. The father also published several newsletters that were widely considered anti-Semitic and racist, including charging that the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was the work of the Mossad.
The Republican Jewish Coalition shunned the father and condemned his anti-Israel views, but it has opened dialogue with his son. Rand Paul has reached out to Jews and has visited Israel in an attempt to convince top Jewish Republican contributors that he is not his father, and that he is a friend of Israel even if he is not a friend of foreign aid.
It will be a hard sell since so many of Israel’s supporters and so many Israelis consider the $3.1 billion in American aid is critical to that nation’s security. U.S. financing helped make possible the Iron Dome anti-missile system that proved so critical during the Gaza war.
The senator, a Tea Party favorite, told Blitzer he is thinking of running for president and feels he has the “wisdom” and qualifications for the job.