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Tea Party rise, Rand Paul win has Republican Jews nervous
by James Besser
N.Y. Jewish Week
May 30, 2010 | 16689 views | 45 45 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<i>Gage Skidmore / Flickr<br>Republican Jews are trying to figure out what to make of Rand Paul, a
self-desribed Tea Party backer and son of former presidential
candidate Ron Paul. </i>
Gage Skidmore / Flickr
Republican Jews are trying to figure out what to make of Rand Paul, a self-desribed Tea Party backer and son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul.
slideshow
WASHINGTON -- Rand Paul, the Tea Party insurgent who was the upset victor in last month’s Kentucky Republican Senate primary, could be the biggest headache yet for a Republican Party that hopes to capitalize on the populist surge without being tainted by the movement’s extremists.

While some political observers say Paul’s strong pro-Israel views could be a magnet for Jewish campaign givers, even some ardent Jewish Republicans are worried about what they see as the political newcomer’s views on U.S. foreign policy and his positions on issues such as civil rights.

All of which led the Republican Jewish Coalition to oppose his candidacy for the nomination and, in an unusual move, to spurn him now that he is the party’s standard-bearer.

“Rand Paul is outside the comfort level of a lot of people in the Jewish community, and in many ways outside of where the Republican Party is on many critical issues,” said Matt Brooks, the RJC executive director, adding that leaders of his group worked on behalf of Paul’s primary opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

Brooks called Paul a “neo-isolationist” and pointed to positions like his strong opposition to federal legislation barring discrimination by private businesses, although after last week’s storm of controversy Paul insists he would not vote to repeal the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

University of Florida political scientist Kenneth Wald said Paul is the leading edge of a Tea Party movement that is “a huge problem pointing right at the heart of the Republican Party” -- and now the most prominent figure in a churning, amorphous movement that could badly undermine the party’s outreach to Jewish voters.

Jewish Democrats, battered by recent controversies over the Obama administration’s handling of the Israel issue, couldn’t be happier.

“This is manna from heaven for us,” said Ira Forman, CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council. “And it’s not just in Kentucky. Like Sarah Palin, Rand Paul is going to be very good for Jewish Democrats.”

But a prominent GOP strategist said it all depends on how the Republican Party responds to the grass-roots surge that has energized the Tea Party movement.

“The two elements that I see that are consistent across the Tea Party movement are demands for lower taxes and smaller government,” said Lee Cowen, who was a fund-raiser for former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney in the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. “Those are things a growing number of Jewish voters agree with.”

Republicans hope to embrace the movement, but many GOP incumbents are also in the crosshairs. First there was the recent defeat of Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah by a Tea Party insurgent at a state party convention. Then came Paul’s victory -- a huge setback for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who supported Grayson.

Paul, 47, is an ophthalmologist and the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), whose libertarian-oriented run for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, while ultimately unsuccessful, aroused a big enough and angry enough constituency to represent the first shot of the Tea Party wars. The senior Paul long has been regarded as one of the least friendly members of Congress on Israel.

Not so his son. While sharing his father’s dark view of big government and the Federal Reserve, Rand Paul has issued position papers that sound like he could be reading from AIPAC talking points, praising the “special relationship” between the two allies and a “shared history and common values.”

In one statement, Paul said he “strongly object[s] to the arrogant approach of [the] Obama administration. ... Only Israel can decide what is in her security interest, not America and certainly not the United Nations.”

Paul, a strong opponent of foreign aid in general, doesn’t say how he would vote on Israel’s $3 billion appropriation, but he did say he opposes aid to Arab countries that could end up threatening Israel. Such sentiments have earned strong criticism from the anti-Israel right, but praise from some prominent conservatives -- including several leaders of the Christian right, a faction that generally worries that the Tea Party candidates focus too little on social issues such as abortion and gay rights.

Paul “opposes earmarking and supports Israel,” said James Dobson, founder of the Focus on the Family Evangelical empire in a statement. “He identifies with the Tea Party movement and believes in home schooling. Sounds like my kind of man.”

Johns Hopkins political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg predicted that Paul’s ascendance could help pull a Tea Party movement with isolationist leanings closer to the pro-Israel orbit.

Morris Amitay, treasurer of the Washington PAC, pro-Israel political action committee, said he didn't see his organization choosing sides in the Kentucky race. He added that Paul and most Tea Party backers seems solid on Israel.

“It’s a conservative, populist movement that will have some influence because it’s activated a number of people to become politically involved,” he said. “Looking through my pro-Israel lens, I don’t see it as a negative; I assume most Tea Party people sympathize with Israel’s plight in a region filled with jihadists, even if they don’t support foreign aid. There are some isolationists, but they are a minority.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition, however, still has questions.

“We don’t write off anybody,” said Brooks, its director. “But as it stands now, there are just too many questions about Paul. Is he more like [Sen.] Mitch McConnell, who has been terrific on Israel, or is he more like Ron Paul?

"His civil rights views are another indication of a tone deafness and a point of view that are troubling to a lot of people.”

(This story first appeared at thejewishweek.com.)

Comments
(45)
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joe jackson
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May 22, 2011
we the tea party do not support israel or any of the other arab

countries favoring one over the other. israel is strong and can

stand on its own.
Ivan Chernyakhovsky
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June 02, 2010
Rand Paul and probably almost the entire Tea Party crowd do not want to give any money to Israel. However, they also do not want to give any money to the other 178 countries in the world. But Rand Paul and probably almost the entire Tea Party crowd do want to sell unlimited amount of weapons to the Arab countries and the enemies of Israel and more, to back the Arab countries and the enemies of Israel and to insulate Israel in the international stage, as long it serves their interests as they see it. Their ideology is in manner of Machiavellism.
Steven111
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June 01, 2010
To hell with you anti-white Jews. Rand Paul may not be a racist but I will support him because he's not against the Constitution or the principles like you Jews.
Obama-Lied
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June 01, 2010
American Jews need to wake up and realize that the democrats are not FDR anymore. The democrat party is hostile to Israel. Obama is not a friend of israel. Jews have long been deep in the pockets of the Democrat party. In a strange twist of irony, Obamas 2 largest voting blocks were Muslims and Jews. Obama is showing his disposition to the Muslims. The democrat party is anti-Israel. The term "zionist" is a liberal left wing term that is nothing more than a mask for jew-hate. Jews need to wake up and realize that if they love their homeland and their people, they need to abandon the anti-semitic Democrat party.

FDR is dead. Sorry Jews, he really is. He's been dead a long time.
Ares
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June 01, 2010
The Jews always get nervous when someone who isn't kosher-approved manages to get by the Diebold voting machines. The Jews always claim that the West has been rife with antisemitism, but very few of them have managed to voluntarily find their way out of the West and back to "the promised land" which is now solely under their own people's control. Actions speak louder than words. This just proves that there really is no antisemitism today in the West, and there probably was not very much throughout history either. And any antisemitism that did exist was simply a reaction to Jewish behavior and oppression. Otherwise the Jews would have left ages ago, which would have been very pleasing to most of the non-Jewish White natives of the West, who welcome the end of nutcase liberalism that would coincide with the exit of the Jews.
RJkatz
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March 08, 2013
Obviously you are uniformed and rely on opinions not facts. Israel is a safe haven for Jews since it seems that Jew bashing is great sport for the Islamic Nazis and bigots in Europe and the Middle East. Additionally, since you are woefully uniformed FBI statistic show an alarming increase in anti-Semitism which has been expressed on college campuses and elsewhere. Lastly your remark about Jewish oppression; I'd like to see a credible example about that. In fact it's the other way around. As to the exit of Jews from this country; we've been around since before the revolution and participated in every war fought by this country. We will remain here regardless of your feelings. Why don't you return to Europe where you can commiserate with your fellow white supremacists and Muslim savages.ny
Miss Maccabee
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March 19, 2013
And what do you base that upon? Quote me for a source other than Mein Kampf, The Turner Diaries, or Stormfront. You know, Stormfront? The White Nationalist website where Ron Paul received a donation and they still have money bombs for him. Why do White Nationalists support the Pauls?

Jewish OPPRESSION?? Really? Considering the blood libel issue & the Roman Catholic church, I think you have that backwards, kinderle.

Jewish liberalism? Are you aware that 80% of American Jews living in Israel voted for Romney? Catholics are pretty liberal as a group as well, as well as Methodists and Anglicans. Anglicans even allow homosexuals to serve in their clergy! Blue collar workers have become pretty liberal as well. Quit blaming Jews for your problems.
anonymous
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June 01, 2010
israel is better off without our support. it makes more sense they call their own shots than waiting around for us to make a judgment in their behalf. israel will always stand. america will involve itself if israel is attacked by another country.
Ed Stein
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May 31, 2010
I am a Jew and I am not nervous.
Eyecoin
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May 31, 2010
Yes, traditional republicans have done such a good job recently, we should never let anyone else get a foothold. Cant take a chance of moving away from this great paradise repubs and democrats have put us in. Feels great to be sold to the devil, ,in debt beyond repair, and losing our freedoms year by year. God forbid someone mess up that good system.
Benfsfs
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May 31, 2010
Israel's latest massacre on the peace activists should make Israel nervous. Their own actions will be their undoing.
Jim McClarin
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May 31, 2010
I don't know about Rand but Ron Paul's great sin has been his consistency in opposing unconstitutional wars and expenditures. He has defended Israel's right to self defense and self determination in general.

Ron Paul does not view people through the lens of ethnicity. During his 1988 Libertarian campaign for president some group had tried to label him as anti-Semitic and Paul expressed concern about it to an adviser. "Don't worry about it," he was told. "Two prominent members of your campaign are Jews." Paul didn't even know.
libertypimp
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May 31, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NjlG8MuvtM&feature=player_embedded#!

libertypimp
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May 31, 2010
Israel can take care of itself. In most cases the US makes Israel less safe because they support and arm military dictatorships in the region. Rand Paul and tea party people are not anti Israel, they are pro America. They do not want to give handouts to any other country, Israel just happens to be on a long list. If you want racism. Go to Israel, to my knowledge Jews do not marry non Jews and (brown) Muslims are treated like dirt (all terrorists) and pushed out of their homes. They discriminate based on race and religion there. Rand Paul only says he is interested in private property rights for all people but our media wants to paint him as a racist. And like his father who is painted as antisemitic because be doesn't vote to send American tax dollars to Israel (or anywhere else) it is a baseless lie. Our local tea party group has all kinds of members including Jews, Blacks, Hispanics and others who the media and people commenting on this forum claim "tea party" people are against. The truth is that Tea Party meetings/protests are like Roman Forums. They meet in public to discuss or protest the government and talk about our constitution. The Everyone is welcome to attend. We had lots of anti war people and student groups that included groups that wanted to end drug prohibition along with candidates for local and national offices in all three major partys (Ls Ds and Rs).
Adrian_Wainer
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May 31, 2010
" « Gower Leconfield wrote on Sunday, May 30 at 05:21 PM »

As someone who has had occasion to meet a number of Tea Party people and the libertarian right, I can tell you that whatever their position on Israel, there is lots of anti-Semitism there privately. I would not trust them. Much of the main stream GOP is pretty racist, which explains why there are so few black Republicans. Their support for Israel is pragmatic and is not based on a serious opposition to bigotry. It is a big mistake to support any of them. "

There are people who hate Jews all over the place, just as there are people who like Jews all over the place. Many Tea Party and libertarian folks will see Israel as a front-line state in the fight against Islamonazism and Islamofascism and are robust supporters of the State of Israel and friends of the Jewish people. The GOP is not a racist party and it most certainly is not an anti-black party, one should remember that one of the principal activities of the Klan in its early days was to murder and intimidate Republicans out of politics in the Southern States. President Barack Hussein Obama II has received a Nobel Peace Prize for doing what I do not know, the Committee of the Nobel Peace Prize were right to award a Nobel Price to a US President with connections to Africa, except they chose the wrong guy, President George W Bush invested a lot of time, money and effort trying to help decent folks in Africa help themselves and he managed to get practical assistance to the people on the ground that needed to be helped.
Adrian_Wainer
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May 31, 2010
" « Chana Rosenfeld wrote on Sunday, May 30 at 11:33 PM »

I'm Jewish and I place the needs of America FIRST. I live in America, America was the only nation that gave shelter to my ancestors escaping Tsarist pogroms, and my parents taught me to always place America first.

Does anyone see what a shanda it is when gentiles come to feel that American Jews care ONLY about Israel? Why should they feel any loyalty to us if our only loyalty is to a foreign nation?

If you love Israel so much, GO THERE! "

If Jewish people are American citizens and do not care about America, maybe they should go live somewhere else. For example, if they think America is filth and that Jewish people who support the State of Israel and their families should be put aboard railway cattle wagons shipped to concentration camps and gassed with Zykon B, maybe they should go live in Iran. You are talking rubbish about the Czarist pogroms, since Britain took in many Jews fleeing Czarist persecution. You say that people should place " America first " Ms Chana Rosenfeld, that reminds me of the Woody Guthrie song about the aviator Charles Lindbergh and " America First ", and the line from it, " they say America first but they mean America next ",.

The noble Koran surah 63 AL-MUNAFIQOON (THE HYPOCRITES)

Total Verses: 11

Revealed At: MADINA

Aya 4

YUSUFALI: When thou lookest at them, their exteriors please thee; and when they speak, thou listenest to their words. They are as (worthless as hollow) pieces of timber propped up, (unable to stand on their own). They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies; so beware of them. The curse of Allah be on them! How are they deluded (away from the Truth)!

PICKTHAL: And when thou seest them their figures please thee; and if they speak thou givest ear unto their speech. (They are) as though they were blocks of wood in striped cloaks. They deem every shout to be against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them. Allah confound them! How they are perverted!

Salaam Alekum sister.

Adrian_Wainer
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May 31, 2010


" « A Voice of Reason wrote on Monday, May 31 at 03:25 AM »

Hey, I have an idea, who cares what jews think? Why does the entire political establishment have to bend over backwards to appease and appeal to some minority group of people who make up less than 2% of the population? All these hyphenated Americans should leave if their interests are more with their hyphen than with America, and this is certainly the case with many zionists. "

The Islamonazis and the Islamofascists want to destroy the United States or turn the US in to an Islamic state or some mixture of the two. Israel is a front-line state in the fight against Islamonazism and Islamofascism. If Israel is overrun, that will only embolden the Islamonazis and Islamofascists. Israel holds a place today somewhat similar to Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, if the West can not assure the security of Israel, the Islamist campaign against countries like the USA and Britain will ramp up to new levels of ferocity.

Adrian_Wainer
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May 31, 2010
There is lots of really nasty stuff going on associated with Debra Medina, like for example folks making threats to kill Facebook account holders who do stuff like argue against 9/11 truthing and pro-David Duke soapboxing on the Debra Medina Facebook page. This makes me really suspicious of Rand Paul, given Debra Medina's links with his father.
raju
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May 31, 2010
Of course both father and son are anti-semites. Wake up.
A Voice of Reason
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May 31, 2010
Hey, I have an idea, who cares what jews think? Why does the entire political establishment have to bend over backwards to appease and appeal to some minority group of people who make up less than 2% of the population? All these hyphenated Americans should leave if their interests are more with their hyphen than with America, and this is certainly the case with many zionists.
Mark Montgomery
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May 31, 2010
Hey tea-baggers!! Forget Sarah Palin, now you REALLY have a fool to rally around: Rand Paul. By parsing the 1964 Civil Rights Act we can see what he and the tea-baggers stand for: discrimination based on race and physical ability. But then the tea-baggers are just a sad group of old, white, rich, malcontent republicans who hate blacks, hispanics, asians, the middle class and the poor and can't stand the fact that we have a black president. When they howl "TAKE BACK AMERICA!!!" they mean to take it back from the minorities. Luckily the middle class and the poor far outnumber the tea-baggers so they will have little effect in November and Rand Paul will fade away. Mark Montgomery NYC, NY 10036 boboberg@nyc.rr.com
Henry Miller
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May 31, 2010
It seems to have escaped the author of this article that the primary obligation of either of the Drs. Paul, and every other American policy-maker, is to the US. It's NOT to Israel. Qualifying your support for any American political figure based on their willingness to put Israel's interests ahead of American interests is, as far as I'm concerned, just little shy of treasonous--and propping up Israel with billions of dollars every year is certainly not in American interests.