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Ron Radosh

Paul’s views about Israel belie his claim that he too is the Jewish state’s real friend. Writing about a 2009 Republican debate, Kirchick notes that Paul said:

“Why do we have this automatic commitment that we’re going to send our kids and send our money endlessly to Israel?” This is an echo of Pat Buchanan’s 1990 claim that if the United States went to war against Saddam Hussein it would be on behalf of Israel, and that “kids with names like McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales, and Leroy Brown” would be the ones doing the fighting and dying. The assertion that American soldiers are risking their lives to protect Israel and not the United States is as false today as it was two decades ago.

Unfortunately, Paul’s anti-Semitic themes are resonating with others. On his own blog, journalist Joe Klein writes the following in a paragraph that echoes the arguments of Paul:

Iowa Republicans are not neoconservatives. Ron Paul has gained ground after a debate in which his refusal to join the Iran warhawks was front and center. Indeed, in my travels around the country, I don’t meet many neoconservatives outside of Washington and New York. It’s one thing to just adore Israel, as the evangelical Christians do; it’s another thing entirely to send American kids off to war, yet again, to fight for Israel’s national security.

So, reading Joe Klein’s words, it appears that he too wants to join Tom Friedman in the ranks of the self-hating Jews who argue that U.S. support of Israel is part of a neo-conservative plot financed and orchestrated by the all-powerful Israeli lobby. And since he holds such views, he seems sympathetic to Ron Paul’s beliefs.

Soon after his blog post appeared Klein was evidently hit hard by scores of responses. The result was another blog post answering his attackers, in which Klein made his argument even worse than his original comment. The online Jewish magazine Tablet, Klein revealed, asked “(a) if I associated myself with Ron Paul’s foreign policy in general or just with his position on Iran and (b) saying that I was probably going to get hammered as Tom Friedman was last week when he said that the Congress had been bought by the Israel Lobby.” Now read Klein’s answer to the question carefully. He writes: “I don’t associate myself with Paul’s foreign policy, although I sympathize with many of the points he makes, especially about our overreaction to Islamic terrorism since 9/11.”

Which is it? Does he not associate with Paul’s foreign policy, or does he, as he goes on to say as he contradicts himself, “sympathize with many of the points he makes”? If the latter, it is important to recall that Paul believes not that there was an overreaction to Islamic terrorism, but that the truthers who believe 9/11 was a conspiracy are people he takes seriously.

Next, he defends Tom Friedman by calling his colleague’s critics “Israel First/Likudnik bloviators,” ignoring that in fact Friedman was condemned by Democratic legislators like former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, and others who are anything but supporters of Likud. As for the evangelicals, whom Koch correctly praised in his column last week, he admits that he finds them “creepy.” He should consider Koch’s point that “many commentators in our political system denigrate the evangelicals. I honor and respect them. Evangelicals support Israel in larger numbers than the young Jews in the U.S., many of whom have no or little Jewish education or appreciation of the Jewish people’s important contributions to the world, despite our small numbers.”

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