An Open Letter to the Jewish Community in Behalf of Ron Paul, Part II
On November 3, 2007, I published An Open Letter to the Jewish Community in Behalf of Ron Paul. Among the many letters I received in response to this essay was one from a former student of mine with whom I am still on very good, close personal terms. He is an orthodox Jew and a highly intelligent professional man, who has lived in Israel for a number of years now.
In what follows is a correspondence between the two of us, in response to my Open Letter. I will identify his words by FS, for former student, and my own by WB.
FS: Well, I’ve now read up on Ron Paul. Thanks for your article about why Jews should support him. I’ve read quite a few other items and blogs on Congressman Paul. I can see why you support him from a libertarian point of view, and I as a libertarian myself I have some sympathies there too. From a Jewish point of view, however, which is how I usually view a candidate, I could not see myself supporting him and here are some of my reasons:
Iran. I read what Dr. Paul wrote in the Congressional record on Iran. He would not be in favor of taking out their nuclear sites. But this country is an existential threat to Israel and analogous to that against the Jews from Hitler in the 1930s. Whether the Iranian threat is imminent or not isn’t too relevant. Iran is led by a bunch of Hitler clones who want to destroy the Jewish people in general and Israel in particular. For the US to ignore this in the push for "non-interventionism" is no different, in effect, from the views of Father Coughlin and Henry Ford toward Jews in the 1930s.
WB: right now, under present arrangements, Israel must seek US permission in order to deal with Iran. Surely, that is not a good position for a supposedly sovereign nation to be in. Paul is not in favor the US taking out Iranian nuclear sites. Whether Israel does so or not he regards as none of his business. And, by extension, none of the business of the US government. That is, under a Paul Administration, Israel would not have to have any go ahead from what many consider an Arab oriented state department before it took whatever action it decided upon against Iran.
FS: Aid to Israel: I actually agree that Israel would be better off without US "aid," especially if it would get the US off Israel’s back. Since 1993 and the Oslo accord, this has been quite a thorn in Israel’s side and has led to several disasters, with more likely to come. But there already is a candidate who wants the US to lay off Israel and stop the pressure heaped on the "vassal state." His name is Rudy Giuliani. That is one reason I support Rudy.
WB: Rudy would continue to boss Israel around, despite what he now says. He has flip flopped so much you can’t trust anything he says. According to this bit of folk wisdom, “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” Surely, this would apply to Rudy, or any other US president, given that the US continues its relationship with Israel as patron to client state. Israel would be far better off with a Ron who can be trusted to keep his mitts off Israel, than a Rudy who promises continued foreign “aid” and an unbelievable hands off policy.
FS: The Israel Lobby. Paul has said (I’m paraphrasing because I don’t remember the exact quote) that AIPAC is the best example of a "bad lobby" that we have. In other words they are the bad guys in American foreign policy. He didn’t say that about the Saudi lobby or the oil lobby. He singled out Israel. He never took back that comment.
WB: Paul opposes all lobbies that call for the mulcting of the US taxpayer, not just AIPAC. Ron Paul is an equal opportunity hater of all attempts to promote US interventionism abroad. Of course, AIPAC is just about the most successful of these. “Singling out” Israel sounds like anti Semitism, so I’ll reply to that below.
Not only does Congressman Paul not single out Jews (AIPAC) for condemnation, he is also on record as singling out Israel for support. For example, consider this: "During the Lebanon war last year, he spoke against a House resolution condemning attacks on Israel and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself. He warned that the resolution could lead to an escalation of the war."
FS: Anti-Semites. While I’m sure Paul is not an anti-Semite (and you are someone I can trust to vouch for that), he is supported monetarily and editorially by some of the biggest anti-Semitic people and groups. He doesn’t seem to disavow them, which is a big problem. He didn’t return that $500 from that neo-Nazi. If you don’t disavow them, then you are welcoming their support, even indirectly. It seems that the holocaust denying industry is rallying around him. Am I wrong?
WB: As a Jew, I can vouch for Ron as a non anti Semite. I’ve known him for four decades, personally. Never even a whiff of anything like that have I ever experienced. But this is not just me. There is now an organized group, Jews for Ron Paul, who feel about him as I do. They would hardly join if they thought this charge had any merit whatsoever.
Ron’s view on accepting money from such groups is that “they support us, we do not support them.” That seems eminently reasonable to me.
I think that people who make this charge are “singling out” Ron. Other candidates get money from all sorts of nefarious sources. The Democrats are supported by unions. I regard unions as no better, worse, actually, than criminal gangs. Is there anyone asking the Democrats to return union money?
What about taking government money? Ron refuses, on principle. (I disagree with his stand, on this matter.) The other candidates, all of them, in both parties, would happily and enthusiastically take government money for their campaigns if they thought it would help them financially. Many refuse, but only on prudential grounds. Is there anyone asking any candidate to return government money?
The communists support the Democrats. Is there anyone asking the Democrats to return this money? When Prince Harry of UK wore a swastika, everyone went ballistic. And, rightly so. But, half the kids in the US wear t shirts that support Communists (Che Guevara is the most popular, but there are plenty of others). No one bats an eyelash. Why the vast difference in popular response? The Communists are International socialists. The Nazis are National socialists. Apart from that “vast” difference, they are just about the same: mass murdering scum, the both of them.
Wait, there is one more difference: the Nazis are avowedly anti Semitic, the Communists are not. But so what? They are both evil, pure evil. Actually, according to Courtois, Conquest and Rummel, the Communists killed far more innocent people than did the Nazis. To tell a political candidate like Ron that he can accept money from Communist groups, but not Nazis, is surely to commit a moral blunder.
We must "never forget" that it was the US which overthrew Mossadegh in the 1950s, then undermined the Shah in the 1970s, bringing the mullahs into power in Iran. Engaging in contrary to fact history is a risky endeavor, but had the US not done this, it is entirely possible that Israel would not now be facing its present threat from Iran. Congressman Ron Paul, a Taft Republican, would never in a million years be guilty of any such external meddling. No, for that, you would need a Rudy, or a Hillary.
Here is Ron in his own words on Israel: "”Yet, while we call ourselves a strong ally of the Israeli people, we send billions in foreign aid every year to some Muslim states that many Israelis regard as enemies. From the Israeli point of view, many of the same Islamic nations we fund with our tax dollars want to destroy the Jewish state."Are these the words of an anti-Semite or an Israel hater? Hardly.
Walter Block wishes to acknowledge the help of an anonymous Israeli citizen in writing this essay.