Republican Senator Rand Paul is an isolationist. This ought to make him a natural ally for appeasers like Steve Walt and John Mearshimer and the whole blame Israel first crowd.
And indeed, he has taken positions, like opposing additional sanctions on Iran that placed him in their camp.
But Paul is a mixed bag.
Last week, following the PLO’s unity deal with terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Paul introduced the Stand With Israel Act. If it had passed into law, Paul’s act would have required the US to cut off all funding to the Palestinian Authority, including its security forces. The only way the administration could have wiggled out of the aid cutoff would have been by certifying that the PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad had effectively stopped being the PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Paul’s conditions for maintaining aid would have required the President to certify to Congress that the PA – run jointly by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PLO –formally and publicly recognized Israel as a Jewish state; renounced terrorism; purged all individuals with terrorist ties from its security services; terminated all anti-American and anti-Israel incitement, publicly pledged not to engage in war with Israel; and honored previous agreements signed between the PLO and Israel.
Paul’s bill was good for America. Maintaining financial support for the Palestinian Authority in the aftermath of the PLO’s unity-with-terrorists deal constitutes a breach of US anti-terror law.
Financing the PA also harms US national security. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are financed by Iran. So by funding the PLO’s PA, which just united its forces with theirs, the US is subsidizing Iran’s terror network.
Ending US financing of the PA would certainly be good for Israel. Indeed, just by sponsoring the bill Paul has helped Israel in two critical ways. He offered Israel friendship, and he began a process of changing the mendacious narrative about the nature of the Palestinian conflict with Israel to one based on the truth.
By extending his hand to Israel, Paul gave Israel an opening to build relationships with political forces with which it has not traditionally had close ties. Because most of Israel’s supporters in Washington support an interventionist US foreign policy, isolationists like Paul have generally either stood on the sidelines of the debate, or in light of their desire to beat a quick retreat from the region, they have been willing, even happy to support the Arabs against Israel and blame Israel’s supporters for getting the US involved in the Middle East.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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