Open Letter to the Republican Jewish Coalition on Ron Paul
by Walter Block
Recently by Walter Block: Response to Alexander McCobin
The Republican Jewish Coalition bars Ron Paul from their Presidential Debate, saying he is too “misguided and extreme.”
According to the website of the RJC, "seven of the top Republican presidential candidates (will) gather next week at a forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition." They do not condescend to name Ron Paul as the one top candidate who will be shunned by this group, but their spokesman elsewhere makes this clear: "He’s just so far outside of the mainstream of the Republican party and this organization,” Brooks said. Inviting Paul to attend would be “like inviting Barack Obama to speak."
Outside of the Republican party mainstream? No, not at all. Rather, Congressman Paul's seven competitors, all invited by the RJC, are the ones outside of the Republican mainstream, at least if this includes people like Robert Taft and Howard Buffett; see on this here, here, and here. States Taft: “It follows that except as such policies may ultimately protect our own security, we have no primary interest as a national policy to improve conditions or material welfare in other parts of the world or to change other forms of government. Certainly we should not engage in war to achieve such purposes." No, it is not Ron Paul who is out of step with (at least this kind of) Republicanism. It is, rather, the seven dwarfs (Romney, Gingrich, Cain, Bachmann, Perry, Huntsman and Santorum) who are marching to a non Republican drummer (actually, a neo-con drummer, comprised mainly of ex-commies, Trotskyites and Democrats).
Is Dr. Paul "far outside of the mainstream of … this organization?" Well, that depends upon what are the goals of the RJC. Here is its mission statement: "We seek to foster and enhance ties between the American Jewish community and Republican decision makers. We work to sensitize Republican leadership in government and the party to the concerns and issues of the Jewish community, while articulating and advocating Republican ideas and policies within the Jewish community. We are committed to building a strong, effective and respected Jewish Republican voice in Washington and across the country." And here is its position on Israel: "We fully embrace a pro-Israel foreign policy. The RJC is a Jewish organization; we recognize and support the importance of Israel as a Jewish state to Jews and non-Jews worldwide. As the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel shares our values and is a bulwark against the forces of repression and anti-human rights regimes. It is our obligation to ally with other nations who share our fundamental values – there are few enough of them – especially those who are willing to stand up and fight for those values. Israel is our only ally that has never asked for American blood to be shed in her defense. " I could not find anything on their website discussing anti-Semitism, but I think I may take it as a given that the RJC opposes this scourge.
So, to repeat, is Dr. Paul "far outside of the mainstream of … this (RJC) organization?" I think not. Congressman Paul, a U.S. air force veteran, the only non chicken-hawk of the group of seven (apart from Perry), "fully embrace(s) a pro-Israel foreign policy." Is it the same policy as that of the other contenders for the Republican nomination? Of course not; otherwise, he, too, would have been welcomed by the RJC to their "debate." But it is a different "pro-Israel foreign policy." How so?
For one thing, Ron Paul espouses a policy of ending all U.S. transfers of funds to foreign nations; since the Arab countries, all together, receive far more than does Israel, although this "hurts" (read Peter T. Bauer for an explanation of these scare quotes) Israel absolutely, it helps that country relative to its enemies. Jews are supposed to have great intelligence, and they do. But sufficient to grasp this admittedly complicated point (I'm kidding, here)? Evidently, not enough of this intellectual ability has percolated down into the membership and leadership of the RJC. I wonder; given their obtuseness, are they real Jews? Surely, Israel's absolute power to impose its will is as nothing compared to its power relative to that of its enemies.
For another thing, the Representative of the 14th congressional district of Texas favors Israeli sovereignty, unlike the other candidates for the Republican nomination for president, and, presumably, the RJC. This means that Ron Paul trusts the population and leadership of Israel to defend itself more than he trusts the population and leadership of the U.S. for this vital task. Under a Paul Administration, Israel will no longer have to ask U.S. permission before it sneezes. More to the point, before it erects buildings wherever it wants to, before it bombs installations it deems hazardous to its national health, before it negotiates with bordering peoples (e.g., Obama's claim that the 1967 borders must serve as a jumping off point for any subsequent treaty between Israel and its neighbors.) Had a non-interventionist of the Paul stripe been in charge of U.S. policy in the 1950s, the land of Greater Israel would now include the entire Sinai Penninsula.
But what about Iran? Ron Paul alone of the all the candidates for the Republican nomination, has seen all this before, with Iraq. The neo-cons whipped up public sentiment for that disaster, and are now attempting to satisfy their blood lust yet again. How many countries has Iran actually invaded in the last epoch? None, that is how many. They want to kill every Jew in Israel? Why, then, have they not started with the Jewish community of Tehran? Is bombing innocent men, women and children in Iran really the best way to safeguard Israel? Or will poking yet more sticks into more hornet's nests only achieve blowback against Israel and the U.S. as well? The U.S. and the Soviet Union endured several decades of Mutual Assured Destruction. Would it not be better for the Israelis to go through a MAD period like this with Iran, when and if the latter gets a nuclear device? Are these ideas, for goodness sakes, not even worth discussing?
Is Ron Paul an anti-Semite? To even ask this question is to insult this good man. I am of a Jewish background and I have known Dr. Paul for more decades than either of us would be happy to admit. I have had numerous discussions with him, I have broken bread with him on more than a few occasions, and have attended many conferences with him. I tell you, my "nose" for this sort of thing is as a good as any other Jew's, and never have I encountered even the slightest whiff of anything of this sort in my long association with Ron. My friends Murray Sabrin and David Gordon have had similar experiences with this member of the House of Representatives, and fully share my assessment. There could hardly be an organization Jews for Ron Paul were there any scintilla of doubt about Dr. Paul on this matter. Want some more evidence? The two economists who are the favorites of the next president of the U.S. are the Jewish intellectuals Murray N. Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises. Ron Paul never tires of citing them when he discusses not only economic subjects such as money, the business cycle, unemployment, Austrian economics, but also, ethics, liberty, freedom. These two are his greatest intellectual and moral influences. Can anyone imagine a real anti-Semite befriending the likes of me, Gordon and Sabrin, welcoming an organization of Jews dedicated to supporting him, and mentioning two prominent Jews as his prime mentors? (I have written about these issues on many occasions; for further elaboration, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.)
But, let us assume, arguendo, that it is indeed true that, as charged, Ron Paul is wildly outside of the mainstream of the Republican party, and, perhaps even more important, holds views that counter by 180 degrees those of the RJC. (In case any members of the RJC do not understand the concept of "arguendo," this does not mean I stipulate these points to be true. As a matter of fact, I sharply disagree with them, see links above. Arguendo means, "for the sake of argument." So, I am now assuming the RJC charges against Dr. Paul to be true.) Does it even then logically follow that you the RJC are wise or even justified in excluding him from your debate?
It does not.
Here are several reasons. Given that the goal of the RJC is to reduce the chances of Ron Paul becoming the next president of the U.S., the last thing it needs is for him to garner more publicity. But its decision to exclude him has already given him an additional and gargantuan amount of press coverage. Thanks to the RJC, more precious ink and electronic time will be given to this man than had he been invited. (Hey, he could have been limited to 89 seconds; there is precedent for that sort of thing. No, maybe, give him two or three minutes; that attempt to shut him up didn't really work.) And not only that. Ron is now an underdog, as a non invitee. People root for underdogs. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if more people voted for him than otherwise would have been the case for this reason alone. If the goal is to squelch him, it has already backfired. Is there a renegade cabal of Ron Paul supporters deep within the bowels of the RJC who concocted this exclusion idea so as to promote his candidacy? Naw; couldn't be. Conspiracy theories, by definition, must all be wrong. (I'm kidding about this too.)
In chess, every time you make a move, you're supposed to ask yourself, "If I do this, what will my opponent do in response?" Well, how will the Paul campaign react to this insult? Take it lying down? Not bloody likely. Dr. Paul might schedule a press conference, where he gives a major speech on how his policies will actually help Israel, and thus demonstrate that he is the very opposite of an anti-Semite. He might schedule this event right before or after, maybe even during your phony "debate." Very likely, the contrast between his creative ideas for the protection of Israel and the tired old shopworn bumper sticker "thoughts" of the other seven (let's throw more money at Israel, let's bomb Iran back to the stone-age) will draw attention away from your event and toward his.
Then, there is the issue of anti Semitism. Have you people lost your minds? Do you not realize that there are real anti-Semites out there, just looking for an excuse in support of their views? Why strengthen them, for goodness sake? They will use this as yet another bit of "evidence" demonstrating the perfidy and unfairness of our co-religionists.
Further, just suppose, hey, for argument's sake, arguendo (if you have forgotten what that means, look it up) that Ron Paul becomes the next president of the United States. (Mathematically, the odds of this occurring are one in sixteen, or 6 percent: there are 8 Republican candidates; let us award each of them a 12% chance; then, take half of that, given that the Democrat candidate also has a 50% shot at winning. Of course, if Ron Paul loses the Republican nomination and runs as an Independent or on the Libertarian Party ticket, and New York City Mayor Bloomberg also launches a foray, then Paul's chances rise to 25%). Do you really want it on record that an important part of the Jewish community gave a gratuitous slap in the face to the man who will lead the country for four years?
We Jews are supposed to be people of the book. This means, if it means anything, that we are supposed to be open to ideas. Your decision to exclude Paul is a disgrace to this precious tradition. It is a shonda for the goyim.
The RJC of course has a right to invite anyone it wants to its functions. This is not censorship; that only occurs when the government prevents free speech. But, it is unwise, unfair, unjust and immoral. It trashes our reputation for lighting a light to the nations. So, I implore you, in the name of Judaism, safety for Israel, protecting our community against anti-Semitism; reconsider. It is not too late. Ron Paul is gentleman enough, I think, to accept an invitation from you, even a belated one.
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.