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May 9, 2011 10:37 am

Ron Paul and Israel

avatar by Gabriel Martindale

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Ron Paul.

I want Ron Paul to win the Presidential election of 2012. Strictly speaking, it’s none of my business, of course, and I’ll try to avoid being the right-wing mirror image of millions of Europeans who get some bizarre vicarious satisfaction out of seeing a politician win an election in a country they’ll never visit and implement healthcare reform that will never affect them (except negatively, since most new treatments come from American pharmaceutical companies). I do agree with most of Ron Paul’s policies, from abortion to education, but if Americans would prefer other policies that’s their lookout.

On the other hand, the election of Ron Paul would affect me in a very concrete way. America is careering towards a full spectrum economic crisis, involving both an inability to pay its bills and the collapse of the dollar amidst an orgy of inflation. Paul Ryan’s plan would go some way towards averting the first catastrophe, if it’s implemented and if everything goes off without a hitch, but such has been the largesse of the Obama administration (yes, yes Bush was terrible on that front as well) that far more radical action even than he is suggesting is now necessary. However, Ron Paul is really the only prominent politician with a consistent record of discussing both problems, long before the 2006 crash made it marginally more fashionable. Since a collapse of the dollar will mean the implosion of the western economic system upon which my personal wellbeing depends, I think I have a legitimate interest in seeing that averted.

That’s not to say the actions of Ben Bernanke and his money-printing (or more accurately now, ‘money-typing’) chums isn’t unconstitutional – it is – or that it’s not destroying the savings of millions of hard working Americans to benefit rentiers and parasites – it is. If Americans, on reflection, really prefer to have their currency, and hence their economy, controlled by hucksters working on behalf of other hucksters, then I guess that’s up to them. On the other hand, if their actions are set to bring down the western world, then that’s my business too. Accordingly, I’m going to be doing what I can (i.e. basically nothing) to see that Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination and, from there, the Presidency.

Whenever I tell anyone this, though, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, I always get the same response: “but doesn’t Ron Paul hate Israel?”

I’ll admit I don’t care all that much either for a state that spends it’s time persecuting settlers who own weapons for self-defence or arresting Rabbis for teaching Torah, but I certainly don’t hate Israel as a country, so how can I support Ron Paul?

There are two ways of answering this objection. The first is to look at Ron Paul’s stated policies rather than peoples’ conjectures about them. He’s an old fashioned isolationist who wants American troops out of, not only Iraq and Afghanistan, but Germany too. He also wants to end all American foreign aid, whether for military or other purposes, both for moral reasons (since it was taken forcefully from American taxpayers) and because he doesn’t think it does any good. On the first count, I do find it hard to justify why Americans should have money they have worked for taken from them and used to buy weaponry for the army of a country that is in the OEDC. On the second, an end to foreign aid would also apply to avowed enemies of Israel like Pakistan and fake friends like Egypt. On the whole, who do you think would be better able to weather the change? A Ron Paul Presidency would change U.S. Middle East policy from one of constant, but incoherent, intervention to neutral neglect. Israel stands to gain at least as much from that as it has to lose.

But if all that doesn’t wash, let’s try a different tack. Let’s say that Ron Paul really does hate Israel. What would be the likely consequence of an Israel-hater in the White House? I submit that it would be the best thing that has happened to Israel since 1967.

What??!?!?! Well, let me explain. The vast majority of Arabs, people and governments, hate Israel and want to see it destroyed. Most of the rest of the Muslim world agrees with them, with odd little exceptions like Kosovo. But there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it. The military superiority of the IDF ensures that even before nuclear weapons are brought into the equation. No, the material threat to the state of Israel comes from the Israeli Left within and the U.S. State Dept. without. It was the conjunction of these two forces that forced the withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza (with the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish inhabitants), causing the rockets that have subsequently fallen on northern Israel and Sderot. It is these two now that place unceasing pressure on Israel to take the literally deranged step of creating a *Palestinian* state in Judea and Samaria, while stopping it from taking the necessary action either against the terrorist-gangster outfits of Fatah and Hamas or the Iranian nuclear programme.

The Israeli Left is intellectually moribund and deservedly unpopular, increasingly reduced to a sort of self-indulgent hysteria. So the real threat to Israel comes from the U.S. The Obama administration, full of some very nasty Israel haters indeed, appears to mark a shift in the U.S. relationship with Israel, but this is superficial. It was that great friend of Israel, George Bush, who capitulated to Al Qaeda by making the establishment of a Palestinian State official U.S. policy. Before that it was the moderate Clinton who engineered the Oslo accords, resulting in the special kind of ‘peace’ where more people -on both sides, one might add – died than before. The net effect of the Obama Presidency has been positive, bringing out something resembling a backbone from the Israeli government that has spent the last two decades moving from one suicidal concession to another.

It is only a ‘friend’ with a financial whip in its hand that can pressurise Israel into so consistently acting against its own interests. A Ron Paul administration that had no leverage over Israel and was perhaps somewhat hostile in its posture would give Israel something more important than money: freedom.

It’s never a good thing, in the long term, to be a client state of an empire, but being a client state of America is particularly bad. Normal empires, motivated by self-interest, have limits to the demands they place, but Pax Americana, whether it be led by liberals or neo-cons, is motivated by a peculiarly neo-Christian altruism, embarking on endless mad missions to spread democracy or what not around the world and dragging its unfortunate clients along with it, before turning on them willy-nilly for all sorts of obscure and ill thought out “moral” reasons.

The editor of Ha’aretz (Hashem y’rachem) once called upon America to ‘rape’ Israel, but the truth is that it has been doing so for decades. Israel either can’t or won’t free itself from this schizophrenic and abusive husband until that husband walks out for himself. That’s exactly what a Ron Paul presidency will mean. With an Arab terror state on the west bank of the Jordan looming ever larger on the horizon, that really can’t come soon enough.

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  • Outsider

    This is a far more civilized and to-the-point discussion than one sees in the English sites (The Guardian`s for instance). Probaly because the US still takes itself seriously (unlike there). Congratulations.

  • Houston(TX)

    Non Interventionalist is looking better every day

  • Shawn

    Great article… Here’s to hoping his campaign isn’t derailed this time around.. I believe more and more Americans are coming around to a more Libertarian way of thinking..

  • Jeff W

    Ron Paul is NOT an isolationist. The term, as used today, is an attack word used to try and destroy the person labeled with it.

    It intimates a childishly ignorant view of world events, inferring the “isolationist” is out of touch with the realities of our modern and, hence, is unfit to hold office.

    Applying the term to Ron Paul is a politically motivated attack, either by an opponent (and obvious lover of the Fed and the status quo), or an ignoramus.

    Otherwise, good blog…it’s important, I think, that Americans realize the global impact of their stupidity.

    • Gabriel Martindale

      Again, if it’s good enough for Murray Rothbard it’s good enough for me. If you think that the connotations of isolationist make it anadvisable to use the term now then make please make the case politely without denouncing those who use the term in its historically noramtive sense as ignoramouses.

  • aberdinah

    If he was so very fussed about the US economy he wouldn’t be spouting this rubbish:

    He can’t get elected this way. What is more important to him – saving America or going off on one about killing the world’s most famous terrorist?

  • Mike Snyder

    Quite an impressive piece despite one error for which the author has been amply flayed. It’s unfortunate that lost among the clamor of freaks and showmen is the voice of Ralph Nader. When questioned about the choice between Bush or Gore, the crusader dryly replied, “What difference does it make who is the engineer of a runaway train?”

  • John C. Randolph

    Let me point out that Dr. Paul refused to vote for a resolution condemning Israel for blowing up Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor in 1981. I don’t recall if he was the only member of the US congress who took the position that Israel’s security was Israel’s business, not that of the American congress.

    If the USA took Dr. Paul’s advice and quit giving foreign aid money altogether, the Arabs lose about three times as much as Israel does. Without American tax money to prop up their corruption, Arabs would have a far better chance of overthrowing their dictators, and they’d also have to take a good hard look at their relations with the strongest economy in the region.

    It’s time for Israel and the United States to deal with each other as equals, not as an empire and a vassal state.


    • JL

      Well said…

      Why most people fail to see this simple truth escapes me.

      I will be campaigning for the Good Doctor for the long haul. Here’s to giving freedom room to breathe once again!

      Ron Paul 2012!

      • belle

        Me too!

  • The last Hope…

    Until I got to “isolationis” then I lost interest in your…

  • stephen

    Isolationist??? Ron Paul is a non-interventionist.

  • Jeff

    Ron Paul is not an isolationist. That is incompatible with supporting the free market. He is a NON-INTERVENTIONIST. It’s sad we live in a time where people just assume that to be engaged in the world you have to do it with military force. You can be engaged by trading with people, talking with people, having exchanges of students and intellectuals, by working on joint project.

    I really wish you please correct this is your article. It’s just factually incorrect.

    • Gabriel Martindale

      C.f. my response to Mike. ‘Isolationism’ is generally understood to entail avoiding military action except for defensive purposes, military and other alliances, and treaties such as NAFTA. All of this would apply to Ron Paul. The fact that some people also use ‘isolationism’ to identify an absurd position that almost no-one actually holds is really neither here nor there. Most ideological descriptions start out as pejoratives. ‘Isolationist’ has a better ring to it than ‘non-interventionist’ and is the term most people use. Get over it and embrace it. No-one’s alleging Ron Paul wants to build a moat round America and stop trading with everyone.

  • Brian

    Ron Paul is NOT an isolationist . I am not sure why people keep repeating this lie. he is a NON-INTERVENTIONIST. He does NOT want to Isolate the US. He wants the US to stay the hell out of other countries internal affairs.

    It is amazing that this lie is repeated in the media and then again repeated by people who don’t bother checking into Paul’s positions, but just repeat the lie.

    • Gabriel Martindale

      C.f. my response to Mike. Language is conventional and consensua, get over it.

    • Gabriel Martindale

      There is no lie here, there is a difference over semantics. The truth is that most people use language in a different way from you; you can either engage in some Sysyphean task, scouring the internet for anyone who uses the term ‘isolationist’ to describe Ron Paul, or you can move on and discuss issues not words.
      Finding a solution to the slippiriness of language has eluded philosohpers and grammarians for centuries, you’re not going to to solve it either.

      Btw. This agressive internet-herd approach of Ron Paul supporters, directed even supportive articles! – is actually the least attractive feature of the whole Ron Paul phenonemon.

  • S0lid_Snake

    RP is not an Isolationist. In fact, he is a great advocate of free trade and free markets. We have babied Israel long enough. Cut the cord and let them fend for themselves if they wish to make their home on a block where ALL of their neighbors hate them. Why are the US taxpayers forced to subsidize the constant conflict in the M.E.? Oh, b/c were fat, lazy, apathetic and ultimately deserve whatever leadership we vote for. I love RP, but his message is too much for the welfare babies, neocons, and facists to comprehend.

  • Matthew

    FInal point – If people want to send money to charity/beggar ‘A’ or ‘B’, they can. Don’t make me pay for it.
    Even worse, don’t make the government, which has no money, send the debt to me.

  • Jessica

    Good article. We need to stop meddling in other countries’ sovereignty. When you seek to control, you end up being resented.

    Let’s invest our tax dollars right here in this country. High speed rail, a clean energy economy, and curing diseases are desperately in need of funding.

  • James

    Great article. I want RP in the white house more than anyone. I just hope the American media doesn’t kill his campaign like they did in 2008.

  • James

    As was said, Ron Paul is not an Isolationist, but rather an non-interventionist.

    What I find hilarious is all these people shouting and screaming he’s a wussy Isolationist, and yet current foreign policy IS ISOLATIONIST. Because all the wars and bases around the world turn people away from the US and make them hate America.

  • mike

    Interesting article, but one glaring misconception. Ron Paul is NOT an isolationist. He is an avowed non-interventionist. Big difference.

    • Darryl

      I hear ya. I think many people say “isolationist” but actually mean “non-interventionist.”

      That said, I love Paul’s position on the Middle East and really think it’d increase national security. The fact that we’re giving more money to Israel’s enemies than Israel itself, though not malicious, is certainly misguided.

    • Gabriel Martindale

      ‘Isolationist’ is a legimitimate synonym for ‘non-interventionist’. There is a second meaning of therterm, which means a desire to shut one’s off from the world, in particular through protective tariffs, which would, of course, not apply to Ron Paul. However, my usage is historically accurate and, at least judging by the Wikipedia page on isolationism, is also the contemporary norm.

      You, and other Ron Paul supporters, seem to prefer ‘non-interventionist’ because it has less negative connotations, I can only comment that isolationist doesn’t hold any negative connotations for me. Further, I find the obsession with precision in political descriptions (i.e. what is a ‘real’ liberal) to be a waste of time, unless you subscribe to a particularly naive form of Platonic realism.

      • bondservant

        Hi Gabriel – you might not have a problem with the word “isolationist,” but at one time the word “liberal” didn’t mean what it does today. I would suggest that it doesn’t matter what the word might mean as much as what people understand it to mean.

        Within that context, “non-interventionist” is much more specific, and clarifies any misunderstanding.

        Finally, it’s my belief that many who want us meddling in affairs around the world use the word “isolationist” intentionally, specifically because of what most people understand the word to mean.

  • Garrett

    Yep, that’s pretty much reality of it all, keeping in mind of course that the real motives and agendas for U.S. policies and nimrod actions are well concealed.

  • HoustonTX


    When I take the training wheels off my son’s bike, you know that I run along side him to make sure nothing bad happens. It doesn’t take too long for him to realize that he could do it on his own.

    To say that I hate my son for doing this to him would be preposterous.

  • josh

    Wow! Definitely has some good points…