On his current trip to the Middle East, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)—who is among the newest members to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—said that he would like to see “gradual” cuts to Israel’s aid.
The Jerusalem Post reported (emphasis added):
[Senator Paul] said he favored a gradual reduction of US foreign aid, which he said stands at approximately $30 billion a year.
About $3b. goes to Israel annually in military aid, 74 percent of which must be spent in the US.
‘I’m all for gradualism,’ he said. ‘I would start a little more quickly with those who are enemies of Israel, and enemies of the US. I would like to see their aid end more quickly. With regards to Israel, it could be a gradual phenomenon.’
“As we’ve said many times before, Senator Paul’s misguided views on aid to Israel are plain wrong and do not reflect the myriad benefits that come from American assistance to Israel,” said NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris. “As we predicted on Friday, Paul’s appointment to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would give him a bigger platform from which to spout his radical views. It appears that we were correct—and pro-Israel Republicans are utterly failing to intervene. Now is as good a time as any for them to take a stand against Paul’s dangerous vision for Israel’s aid—as many pro-Israel Democratic senators did when he first started pushing for cuts to Israel’s aid.”
On January 4, 2013, Harris responded to Paul’s membership on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
Senator Rand Paul’s membership in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should be raising red flags and provoking severe concern across the pro-Israel community. The decision by Republican Senate leaders to give a bigger microphone and a prominent platform to someone who has repeatedly called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel and used his leadership PAC to push an anti-foreign aid agenda is simply outrageous. As we’ve said for months, Senator Paul and his father’s acolytes are becoming legitimate forces in today’s Republican Party—and pro-Israel Republicans have repeatedly and epically failed to address this growing issue within the GOP ranks. Now this failure has very real consequences. 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.
Senator Rand Paul twice pushed for ending U.S. “welfare” (in his words) for Israel-which prompted seven Democratic Senators to author a letter firmly rejecting Paul’s proposal. Further, Paul has been a staunch opponent of general U.S. foreign aid—which has long been supported by the pro-Israel community—and even used his leadership PAC to push his anti-foreign aid agenda during the 2012 campaign.