At this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) gathering in Washington, Texas Representative Ron Paul took the clear lead in a straw poll expressing a preference for a GOP 2012 presidential candidate. Paul’s 31% showing—based on more than 3,000 votes cast—bested former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and dramatically outstripped former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and others. Echoing other media reports, Politico noted that the famous straw poll had been “thought to offer a window into which White House hopefuls were favored by movement conservatives.”
Rep. Paul has been widely seen to have a miserable record on Israel, both in Congress and in public statements. During the 2008 campaign, a Haaretz article quoted Paul as saying, “The assumption is that AIPAC is in control of things, and they control the votes, and they get everybody to vote against anything that would diminish the [Iraq] war.” The same article repeated his preference for the cessation of all U.S. aid to Israel, noting that when it comes to the U.S., “Israel doesn’t really ‘need us.’” On his own website, he noted that “Palestinians are confined to a ‘concentration camp’” during the Gaza conflict in January, 2009. In Congress, Paul voted “no” on Iran sanctions legislation; he also voted against recognizing Israel’s 61st anniversary and the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, and he has consistently opposed U.S.-led peace efforts in the region. Ron Paul’s newsletters over the decades have been riddled with racist and anti-gay writings as well.
“Conservatives have come together at their preeminent annual gathering, and they’ve said clearly and loudly who they most want to see as their standard-bearer in 2012 – and to say that person has a horrendous record on Israel and other issues of Jewish concern is a wild understatement,” said National Jewish Democratic Council President David A. Harris. “Ron Paul is a man who misses no opportunity in Congress to vote against the U.S.-Israel relationship, but his record goes much deeper than that. From his unacceptable statements about Gaza, to the Ron Paul newsletter wondering aloud if the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was perpetrated by Israel, Paul is beyond the pale.
“The fact that the hearts and souls of the conservative movement have a clearly expressed preference for Ron Paul as their 2012 candidate demonstrates yet again the vast and growing chasm between the American Jewish community and the Republican, conservative movement,” Harris added.