U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), known for his opposition to foreign aid, on Monday reiterated that stance during his visit to Israel.
The senator, son of Texas congressman and 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul, said Israel would actually benefit from a decrease in U.S. aid because the country would not need to approach the U.S. about its security-related decisions.
“I don’t think you need to call me on the phone to ask permission for what you want to do to stop missiles from raining down on you from Gaza,” Rand Paul told reporters at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, according to the Associated Press.
Paul, who on Jan. 4 was appointed to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it “will be harder to be a friend of Israel” if the U.S. is out of money. “It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process,” he said. “I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits… you destroy your currency by spending money you don’t have.”
According to Paul, America should only cut aid to an ally like Israel after cuts for countries such as Pakistan and Egypt, whose relations with the U.S. are strained. He fears, however, that aid to both Israel and Egypt can create a Middle East arms race which poses a threat to the Jewish state.
“I’m concerned that some of the weaponry that we are currently giving to Egypt may one day be used against Israel,” he said.
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) on Jan. 4 opposed Paul’s addition to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying the move “should be raising red flags and provoking severe concern across the pro-Israel community” due to his opposition to foreign aid.
“The overwhelmingly pro-Israel American public deserves much better than a radical ideologue on the Senate’s primary diplomatic committee who has demonstrated a singular obsession with slashing aid to the Jewish state,” NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said in a statement.
Paul’s spokesperson, Moira Bagley, told JNS.org “I’m sure Sen. Paul would be happy to respond to [NJDC] when he returns from Israel next week.”