Friday, December 16, 2011

Is Ron Paul Anti-Israel?

A recurring talking point among conservative bloggers and talk radio hosts is that Ron Paul is “great on the economy” but “horrible on foreign policy.” Some radio show hosts (e.g., John Phillips) have even said they think Paul is a threat to Israel. That Paul would “abandon” Israel.

Would Paul “abandon” Israel? Well, he'd likely treat Israel equal to all other foreign nations. No more “special relationship” or lopsided foreign aid.

Would that be wrong? Would it threaten Israel's existence?

Israel is a wealthy nation, with a lavish, European style welfare system. Israel offers heavily subsidized national health care and university education to its residents. (At least to its Jewish residents). Israel even gives significant welfare handouts to its ultra-orthodox men so they can stay at home and study Torah. (No state funding for its Christian or Muslim citizens to stay home and study their religions, as near as I can tell.)

All this is fine if that's how Israel wants to spend its money. The point is, Israel doesn't need U.S. money for its military. Israel can afford to pay for its own military -- it need only divert some of its lavish social spending to its military.

Conservatives or “libertarians” who lament that the U.S. can't cut off aid to Israel, because Israel needs the money for its survival, are either ignorant or lying. (Besides, as Ayn Rand said, “A need is not a claim.”)

Isn't it curious that many American conservatives and "libertarians" denounce their fellow Americans as "parasites, looters, thugs, Marxists" for taking American tax dollars -- yet they want U.S. tax dollars to support Israeli socialism? (Money is fungible, which means that funding Israel's military also subsidizes Israel's socialist and religious spending.)

Another talking point for funding Israel is that the U.S. also funds Israel's “Arab enemies.”

Not really.

Yes, the U.S. should stop funding both sides -- but U.S. military aid to Israel is not comparable to U.S. military aid to Arab dictators. Israel gets money to purchase combat aircraft or missiles (or develop their own missiles). The U.S. is also alleged to have helped Israel develop nuclear weapons.

By contrast, U.S. military aid to Arab dictators is limited to small arms -- rifles and tanks and such. The Arab dictators only get weapons that don't threaten Israel (an Israeli jet can easily destroy an Arab tank), but which are used mostly to suppress their own Arab populations.

If U.S. military aid to Arab states were identical to its aid to Israel, the Israeli lobby would have no problem with ending U.S. aid to Israel, provided the Arab states also lost funding. This is not the case. Israel's lobby wants the aid to continue (though they continue to parrot “The U.S. also funds Israel's enemies” as a useful, if dishonest, talking point), because they know that Israel gets the lion's share of benefits under the current setup.

By contrast, Ron Paul advocates the true libertarian solution -- end all aid (economic and military) to all foreign nations, now. Yes, Israel would lose out, since it gets higher quality aid than does its enemies. But no, this would not threaten Israel's existence, because Israel is a wealthy country that can easily afford to pay for its own military. It just doesn't want to because, hey, why pay for it if you can bully the U.S. into paying for it?

It's disheartening to see some libertarians go ballistic when this simple libertarian principle (support no sides in foreign disputes) is applied to Israel. For instance, on July 28, 2011, Mike Koch posted at Independent Political Report (comment 72):

"If the LP would finally get the balls and get rid of a few dozen, loud, obnoxious anarchists, America and Israel haters, that look like the freak show at the circus and smell like the animal cage, we could be leading the Tea Parties, running Sarah Palin for President and have the endorsement of Glenn Beck.

"Get rid of the anarchists already please. If you hate America and Israel go join the communists or the Nazis. You are not Libertarians you patchouli smelling dope smoking rainbow freaks.

What evidence is there that anyone in the LP “hates America”? They may criticize the U.S. (and Israel), but that's consistent with libertarianism.

It's curious that when libertarians criticize Britain's or Canada's national health care services, they are never accused of “hating Britain” or “hating Canada.” Nor are they excoriated for criticizing Mexico, North Korea, France, Russia, China, Sweden, Saudi Arabia ... pick any state.

Yet some websites (e.g.,, call Ron Paul an “Israel hater” and even an anti-Semite simply because Paul treats Israel the same any other foreign country.

Paul's has criticized many nations -- including the U.S. This does not make Paul an “America hater.” Nor would his policies threaten Israel's existence. Israel can easily afford to be treated like an equal nation -- an adult nation -- which pays its own way.

1 comment:

NY Cynic said...

If those conservatives are so concerned about Israel's well being then under a Paul administration they can feel free to give their own money to them. Paul wants to turn off public spigot which seems to angry so called "small government" conservatives. The conservative calls of "anti-semite" are equivalent to the liberal calls of "racist".