In his weekly Texas Straight Talk address, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) urged Congress to rethink its bipartisan support for Israel and re-examine America's interventionist foreign policy in the region.
"For years now U.S. financial, military and diplomatic support of Israel has been the central enabling force driving this endless conflict. The bombs Israel drops on the Gazans, and the planes that they use to drop them, and the weapons they use to occupy the West Bank and protect settlements are paid for, in substantial part, by the U.S. taxpayer," Paul said.
Paul also noted how ironic it was for President Obama to claim that "no country on Earth would tolerate rockets raining down on its citizens from outside its borders" when the president has launched hundreds of missiles into Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya.
Paul has been one of the few voices in Congress advocating a drastic shift in American foreign policy, and on the issue of U.S. support for Israel, Paul's statements and non-interventionist foreign policy could not be more prescient. As the Framers advised in the early days of the republic, entangling political alliances overseas breed military intervention, unnecessary wars, and the accompanying loss of prosperity and civil liberties that the former always bring.
Defenders of the incredibly close U.S.-Israeli relationship like to claim that Israel is "the only democracy in the region," our closest ally, and a partner in a supposed fight between Islamic extremism. But this extremely simplistic narrative masks many of the reasons why Paul's advice is as right as it was when he began advocating in Congress in the mid 1970s.
Leaving aside the fact that Israel resembles a theocratic police state more than a Western democracy, the U.S. routinely sponsors authoritarian governments all around the world, including many in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain. If democracy and human rights were really a concern of the U.S., then it would have no problem criticizing Israel's illegal use of white phosphorous, the building of settlements, and the decades-long blockade of the Gaza strip.
But U.S. and media coverage say little to nothing about these policies that would be heavily rebuked if engaged in by any other country (for great analysis the Israeli-Gaza conflict and Israeli policy in general, please read the great journalism of Justin Raimondo and Glenn Greenwald).
From a purely objective standpoint, one could easily make the case that Israel is not only not an ally of the U.S., but an enemy and a liability. What else would you call a country that bombed the U.S.S. Liberty, stole nuclear secrets from the U.S., routinely spies on us, and has tried multiple times to pose as CIA agents in Iran in order to bring the U.S. into a disastrous military conflict?
Even General David Petraeus, no friend of a non-interventionist foreign policy, admits that Israel is a strategic liability in U.S. dealings with the rest of the region.
The U.S. government should treat Israel like it should treat any other country, with a policy of friendship, trade, and neutrality. No subsidies, special privileges or sanctions. And who knows? Without the U.S. backstop of billions of dollars of aid, weapons, and blind support, perhaps the Israelis would see the folly of permanent occupation of the Palestinians and the wisdom of a long-term cease fire and diplomacy.
The U.S., as Paul has recommended to anyone who will listen, should lead as an example to the rest of the world about what a free society looks like, not loot the taxpayer to reward special interests overseas. Especially given that a huge portion of our Bill of Rights has been essentially abolished in the last decade, Paul's message should be heeded now more than ever.