Is Ron Paul an Antisemite? No
by Walter Block
Recently by Walter Block: The VP Sweepstakes, Part II
Gay people, it is said, have a radar system (gaydar) which enables them to discern anti homosexual bigotry, even when it is not in your face; when it is not apparent to all. African-Americans rely on blackdar, which, similarly, presumably allows members of this community to ferret out racism no matter where it appears, no matter well hidden. Some of them even see this malady within their own race, and characterize such people as "Oreo cookies."
In like manner many of us chosen people are supposed to be able to peer deeply into the souls of the goyim to determine if and to what degree anti-Semitism lurks. I don't like to brag, but (in all such sentences, the reader is advised to ignore everything that appears before the word "but") my jewdar abilities are second to none. I'll pit them against any other Jew no matter how finely tuned are his abilities in this regard.
I have known Ron Paul for some four decades ever since the 1970s, when he and I would attend many of the same conferences on gold and free enterprise. I have had dinner with him on more than one occasion. I have spoken to Ron on a one to one basis numerous times. We have, and had, many friends in common (e.g., Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, among others), and I have had many chances to see Congressman Paul interact within this smaller circle of people. I can say, then, with absolute confidence, based on these experiences and my own finely honed jewdar that Dr. Paul does not have a single solitary anti-Semitic bone in his entire body.
This of course is not the opinion of many of my co religionists, even those within the Republican party. See on this here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here (just google "Ron Paul" and "Jews" and you'll get dozens more such). These fellow members of my tribe are sadly and tragically mistaken. They ought to go visit the jewdar repairman, because their abilities in this regard are off kilter, way off. Particularly egregious was the decision of the Republican Jewish Coalition to exclude Dr. Paul from its Victory 2008 Republican Jewish Coalition Candidates Forum. Jews are supposed to be "people of the book." Which means, if it means anything, that they are to be open to what appears in books, namely, ideas. By not permitting themselves to even hear the thoughts of the only libertarian running for the office of president at that time, they give the lie to this appellation.
What is their reasoning? Why do they characterize perhaps the least anti-Semitic non Jew in the history of politics in this manner? Simple. Ron Paul opposes foreign "aid" (scare quotes around this last word in homage to the career of Peter Bauer, who did more than anyone else to demonstrate that this is a pejorative; it is by no means true that "government-to-government transfers of funds" — his characterization of this process — is in any way beneficial). The congressman from Texas knows full well that foreign "aid" harms recipients, amounts to a theft from Americans, and has no Constitutional warrant. And, since he is a principled man, he makes no exceptions in this regard. He would cut off the spigot for all foreign countries, including Israel as well.
Jews who look at this superficially see this even-handed policy as anti-Semitic, to their eternal shame. It is nothing of the sort. Our laws against murder and rape make no exceptions for ethnic or religious groups. All people must abide by them. If a Jew commits one of these heinous crimes, he will be charged, along with any others who do so. According to the "logic" of those who charge Ron Paul with anti Semitism for his opposition to foreign "aid," anyone who applies laws against murder or rape would fit this bill as well. When the emotions are in the ascendency, logic flies right out the window. Here, this congressman from Texas applies a principle across the board, to all, equally, and he is condemned as an anti-Semite because he refuses to make an exception for anyone? C'mon, give me a break. This is a shonda (a disgrace) to Talmudic study, which is one of the main foundations of Jewish thought, and prides itself on the depth of its reasoning.
In a previous article, I defended Dr. Paul against these outrageous charges. Please read that essay as an antidote to these scurrilous claims made against him. Before I get to the main point I want to make today, I briefly take note of the fact that according to the latest round of Wikileaks, at least insofar as reported in the New York Times (they always tell the truth and nothing but the truth about all the news that's fit to print, so we can believe them on this as on anything else they say), the U.S. government has been spying on Israel. Note to my fellow Jews: Ron Paul is not now the president of the U.S. Therefore, this anti-Semitic act cannot be blamed on him. Instead, the responsibility for this anti-Semitic act (well, anti Israeli act) must fall on the present Leader of "the free world," Barack Hussain Obama (non anti-Semite?) However, I strongly suspect that this policy was not begun by the present occupant of the White House. I expect that it has been undertaken at the direction of an entire series of "anti-Semitic" presidents, stretching back, perhaps, to the creation of the Jewish state in 1948.
Now, at last, I arrive at the main topic for the present essay. My fear is that the larger Jewish community will not trust the assessment of Dr. Paul's foreign policy as it affects Israel, based on the Jewdar of a boy born in Brooklyn who has never so much as set foot in that country. So, I want to acquaint you not only with some Israeli voices in general, but with those whose Zionist credentials are impeccable. (I am greatly indebted to Michael Makovi of Jerusalem, Israel, for sending me this material.)
Op-Ed: Ron Paul Should be the Zionist Choice for US President Published: 15/11/07, 10:04 PM He opposes US foreign aid to Israel Shmuel Ben-Gad
Shmuel Ben-Gad is a librarian at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, a registered Republican and an overseas member of Manhigut Yehudit. The views expressed are his own.
Since the Six Day War, US presidents and presidential candidates have tended to speak of the US and Israel as great friends and allies. They have also tended to favor the shrinking of Israel’s borders. This has reached a low point under the Bush administration, which is the first one to explicitly make its policy the establishment of an Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Thus, the US alliance with Israel has been a decidedly mixed blessing.
The US alliance with Israel has been a decidedly mixed blessing.
Israel receives military and financial assistance, and also some diplomatic support at the United Nations, but the US puts pressure on Israel to surrender parts of the homeland. Even worse, this relationship seems to foster a mentality of dependence amongst many Israelis who, it seems, cannot imagine Israel defying the United States in any major way.
In the upcoming presidential election, however, there is a chance to change this dramatically, by electing Congressman Ron Paul, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Dr. Paul favors a non-interventionist foreign policy. He has written:
“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. Many average Israelis and American Jews see America as hypocritically hedging its bets…. It is time to challenge the notion that it is our job to broker peace in the Middle East and every other troubled region across the globe…. ‘Peace plans’ imposed by outsiders or the UN cause resentment and seldom produce lasting peace…. The fatal conceit lies in believing America can impose geopolitical solutions wherever it chooses.”
In this, Dr. Paul is hearkening back to what George Washington counseled in his famous farewell address: “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition (a fervent supporter of the Bush administration, which it claims is a great friend of Israel) refused to invite Dr. Paul to its candidates forum because he opposes aid to Israel. But, as we can see, Dr. Paul’s position is based upon a principled, modest, non-interventionist foreign policy – not upon anti-Zionism. Indeed, in a way, his foreign policy is mirrored by his small government domestic policy. Both recognize there are real limits to what a government can usefully do.
It is true that Israel is a small state in a highly dangerous neighborhood, but it is an economically and technologically vibrant country – even more so recently, as the shackles of socialism have been somewhat loosened. Cutting the apron strings to the US would, I think, make Israel become more maturely self-confident, because it would be more self-reliant.
A Ron Paul presidency would be healthy for Israel in yet another way. Dr. Paul is opposed to organizations like the United Nations and the International Criminal Court that dilute national sovereignty. If the United States, in a Paul administration, withdrew from the UN and similar institutions, imagine what a blow this would deliver to their power and prestige. I find it a thrilling prospect. Maybe Israel would have a wise enough government to follow suit.
Dr. Paul’s position is based upon a principled, modest, non-interventionist foreign policy – not upon anti-Zionism.
Now, I do not support Ron Paul only for Zionist reasons, nor do I think US pressure is the primary cause for the current politically and culturally debilitated conditions of Israel. The primary cause, in my opinion, is the self-debasement of the Hebrew nation both in the homeland and abroad. This manifested itself most severely in the Israeli government’s expulsion of Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria, and in the almost total lack of opposition that greeted this from the Jewish Diaspora.
It seems to me a Ron Paul presidency would be good for Israel and for the United States. Its foreign policy non-interventionism and its concern to protect national sovereignty would provide Israel with a greater impetus to increase its own independence and sense of national honor. I hope American Zionists will resist the immediate, meretricious attractions of American financial assistance for Israel. Ron Paul would both end this infantilizing, and even corrupting, aid and respect Israel’s national sovereignty.
Taking the long and deep view, Ron Paul should be the Zionist choice. Source
Israeli Economists Agree with Rand Paul: End Foreign Aid Written by Daniel Sayani The New American Monday, 07 February 2011
The question of foreign aid is one that has pitted economists against politicians, special interest groups, and foreign policy demagogues for decades. No stranger to this controversy is Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who like his father, Texas Representative Ron Paul (both Republicans), has proposed ending U.S.foreign aid to all countries, including Israel, a decision that has earned the scorn of numerous groups on both the Left and the Right.
However, one critical aspect of the debate that has been neglected from public discourse on the topic — and that Sen. Paul may be unaware of — is the opposition of numerous Jewish and Israeli economists and religious Zionist groups to Israeli foreign aid. Like Sen. Paul, these figures believe that foreign aid is an affront against Israeli liberty and sovereignty, as well as a drain on the development of numerous sectors of the Israeli economy, such as the weapons and biotechnology industries.
Individuals including Israeli economists Ran Dagoni, Yoel Bainerman, and Alvin Rabushka, the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, as well as groups including the Jewish Task Force, the Zionist Freedom Alliance, and the Manhigut Yehudit faction of the Likud Party have long advocated for an end to U.S. foreign aid to Israel. These groups insist that Israel must develop her own economic strength and move towards more free-market economic reforms as a means of boosting national prosperity and strength.
Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that foreign aid may do more harm than good, and proposed efforts to wean Israel off of American military aid payments.
It becomes clear, therefore, that Sen. Paul's proposal to cut foreign aid is one which is not without support from innovative Israeli and Jewish thinkers on the issue.
Manhigut Yehudit (Hebrew for "Jewish Leadership") is considered the most right-wing and the largest sector within the Likud Central Committee. It is committed to Israeli safety, territorial integrity, and the promotion of privatization reforms and traditional Torah values. According to co-founder Shmuel Sackett, its long-term goal is to "perfect the world in the Kingdom of the Almighty."
Chief among the group's priorities is "a modern and open economy based on Jewish Values," and this entails, for the group, "No financial aid from foreign countries." As a result of this, Manhigut Yehudit member Shmuel Ben-Gad, also librarian at George Washington University, in 2007 wrote an editorial in Israel National News actually endorsing Ron Paul, saying he should be "the Zionist choice for President":
The US puts pressure on Israel to surrender parts of the homeland. Even worse, this relationship seems to foster a mentality of dependence amongst many Israelis who, it seems, cannot imagine Israel defying the United States in any major way.
In the upcoming presidential election, however, there is a chance to change this dramatically, by electing Congressman Ron Paul, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Dr. Paul favors a non-interventionist foreign policy.
Dr. Paul’s position is based upon a principled, modest, non-interventionist foreign policy – not upon anti-Zionism. Indeed, in a way, his foreign policy is mirrored by his small government domestic policy. Both recognize there are real limits to what a government can usefully do.
Cutting the apron strings to the US would, I think, make Israel become more maturely self-confident, because it would be more self-reliant. Ron Paul would both end this infantilizing, and even corrupting, aid and respect Israel’s national sovereignty.
In a similar argument, Rabbi Meir Kahane also advocated for an end to American foreign aid for Israel. He was the founder and leader of the Jewish Defense League, and is considered by many to be the first victim of al-Qaeda on American soil, as he was assassinated in cold blood by convicted terrorist El Sayyid Nosair, who was also involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. He also led the right-wing Kach Party in Israel until his death, and once stated that foreign aid "turns Israel into a junkie looking for her fix." In his 1990 essay “Isolation,” he said the following about foreign aid, framing it in religious terms vis — vis the Biblical notion of a Chosen Nation:
Exile has turned the Jew of faith into one who trembles before the man of the dust. Unless we become of might and faith, and unless we ignore both the money and the honey of the United States and their empty threats and condemnation, we stand no chance. We must be a self-reliant, set-apart, and fearless nation doing the Will of the Almighty.
Likewise, the Jewish Task Force (JTF), a group committed to Kahane's ideology, states among its principles a commitment to:
An immediate end to all U.S. foreign aid, even to a genuine friend and ally like Israel, which is harmed rather than helped by her counterproductive dependency on America’s addictive welfare handouts.
Echoing this stance is L' Herut Tzion (Hebrew for "Zionist Freedom Alliance"), a group committed to the ideology of Zev Jabotinsky, father of Revolutionary Zionism, also known as Revisionist Zionism. Jabotinsky was a fierce anti-communist, and opposed all forms of statism, which he labeled "Communo-Fascism." His disciples in the Zionist Freedom Alliance also believe that foreign aid is an affront against Israeli sovereignty, and thus oppose it on ideological grounds.
The group's founder, Yehuda HaKohen, also directs "Zionists for Ron Paul," and has also endorsed Ron Paul for President in a radio interview with Israel National News. In addition to advocating for Israeli territorial integrity, the group supports American and Israeli withdrawal from the United Nations, and is steadfastly opposed to foreign aid for Israel, saying the following:
In addition to having no constitutional basis and being an unnecessary burden on the American tax payer, United States foreign aid has also impaired the national sovereignty of the State of Israel. The aid prevents the Jewish state from adopting economic reforms that would make her self-reliant and it creates a mindset of dependency among the Israeli people. A nation cannot be both dependent and independent. ZFA calls upon the government of Israel to stop behaving like the leaders of a vassal state and begin working towards the realization of true political and economic freedom. We also advise the US government to completely end foreign aid to all nations and to concentrate instead on rebuilding the American economy.
In the September 1995 issue of the Middle East Quarterly, economist Joel Bainerman authored an analysis entitled, "End American Aid to Israel?: Yes, It Does Harm." Bainerman outlines a sound economic argument for opposing aid:
Arnon Gafny, who served as governor of the Bank of Israel in 1976-1981, points out that foreign aid has caused Israel to suffer from what economists call the “Dutch Disease,” a generous but temporary gift (such as oil or external aid) that brings short-term benefits but impairs a country’s long-term competitiveness.
It is very difficult to prove that a rich country’s bestowing bilateral aid on a poorer one actually helps the poorer economy.
Ezra Sohar, author of Israel’s Dilemma: Why Israel Is Falling Apart and How to Put It Back Together, notes that the lions’ share of U.S. aid to Israel in the 1970s consisted of loans to purchase military equipment. “The end result should have been known from the start,” says Sohar. “There is logic in borrowing to build a factory with the anticipation of repaying the loan out of profits. But in the case of armaments, it is obvious that there cannot be any profits.”
Likewise, Hoover Institution Fellow Alvin Rabushka says that aid to Israel hurts Israelis:
Free money is the scourge of Israel's economy. It is the difference between a free, prosperous Israel and a statist, dependent Israel. Before U.S. aid began flowing, Israel's economic performance rivaled that of the high-growth Asian Tigers. Since then, Israel's growth rate has fallen by more than half.
An article published most recently in response to the hoopla over Sen. Paul's announcement also articulates this belief. Ran Dagoni, in the Israeli business publication Globes wrote:
The time has come to bid goodbye to the military aid that the US extends to Israel, that generous package (currently worth $3 billion) that enables the Israeli taxpayer to share the cost of procuring equipment for the IDF with the US taxpayer. Israel should itself initiate the process of detachment from the Washington breast. It should be done gradually, on terms that will enable Israel to wean itself off this intoxicating milk, before the Americans take action, on their terms. Israel won’t collapse.
Both the younger and elder Paul, as well as those opposing foreign aid in general, to Israel and all other countries, are also in the good company of none other than Benjamin Netanyahu himself. In 1996, he addressed Congress and declared his intention for an end to foreign aid, according to the Harvard Israel Review:
For their part, the members of Congress gave Netanyahu a rousing welcome, applauding him 14 times, including a standing ovation when he promised to reduce Israel’s reliance on the $3.2 billion in aid the United States provides the Jewish state each year.
In his promise to eventually seek less aid from the United States, the prime minister significantly did not mention any amount that might be reduced, nor did he give a timetable for achieving Israel’s “economic independence.” The day before, at a White House news conference, he said the reduced aid policy would be “pursued over the course of the coming 10 years.” In the next four years, we are going to begin the long-term process of gradually reducing the level of your generous economic assistance,” Netanyahu said. “We are committed to turning Israel’s economy into a free market of goods and ideas, which is the only way to bring true independence.”
"I believe that we can now say that Israel has reached childhood's end, that it has matured enough to begin approaching a state of self-reliance…. We are going to achieve economic independence." In stating this goal, Netanyahu had two major projects in mind: ending U.S. economic aid to Israel and reforming the Israeli economy into "a free market of goods and ideas.”
This sentiment was echoed earlier by Zalman Shoval, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and a leading figure within the Likud Party. Shoval, in 1992, told an American audience that Israel should suggest through its own initiative that the United States gradually phase out civilian economic aid.
Sen. Paul and his father are not without precedent in their proposals to cut foreign aid. Perhaps without their knowing it, they are fulfilling the policy desires of a cadre of right-wing Zionist and Jewish leaders, including Ambassador Shoval, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Rabbi Kahane, and leading economists, such as Bainerman, Rabushka, Sohar, and Dagoni.
Dr. Block [send him mail] is a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending the Undefendable and Labor Economics From A Free Market Perspective. His latest book is The Privatization of Roads and Highways.