Senator Rand Paul is holding strong on his proposal to cut all U.S. foreign aid--including Israel's annual check of $3 billion. In an interview with ABC's Jonathan Karl, the Kentucky Republican defended his budget cuts, which rankled Israel supporters earlier this week. "I'm not singling out Israel. I support Israel. I want to be known as a friend of Israel," Paul said, "but not with money you don't have. We can't just borrow from our kids' future and give it to countries even if they are our friends."
Paul said Israel has enough economic and military resources to stand on its own two feet. "They're an important ally, but I also think that their per capita income is greater than probably three-fourths of the rest of the world," Paul said. "Should we be giving free money or welfare to a wealthy nation? I don't think so." Militarily, he said Israel is "10 years ahead of any neighboring country."
For his remarks, he received a groundswell of push back in the media and both political parties. Cutting aid to Israel just doesn't look likely, at least not for now.
- Congress Lashes Back "Over my dead body!" responds Republican Senator Lindsey Graham to Paul's proposal. A number of Senate Democrats responded in kind in a letter to top House Republicans. "These remarks are alarming and aim to weaken the decades-long bipartisan consensus on U.S. support for Israel," they said.
- I Love Observing This, writes neoconservative Alana Goodman at Commentary: "It’s always great to watch Republicans and Democrats in Congress fight over which side is more pro-Israel, because the winner of that argument is always Israel."
- Paul Needs to Step in Line, writes neoconservative Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post: "Paul is outside the mainstream of elected leaders and the American public. Both are overwhelmingly supportive of the aid we supply to our democratic ally and understand that the U.S. cannot withdraw from the region."
- The Man Has Guts! "That a United States Senator would call for eliminating aid to Israel is astonishing given the general consensus prevailing in Congress that the assistance is sacrosanct," writes anti-war conservative Philip Giraldi at The American Conservative. "Considering that Israel is one of the wealthiest countries in the world (with a per capita income at the same level as Great Britain) and is alleged to be going through an economic boom, there is little justification for continuing the largesse." He says Israel doesn't need U.S. funds since it enjoys "complete military superiority" over its neighbors and has the region's "only nuclear arsenal."
- I Get His Point But It's Hopeless "It’ll never pass," writes conservative Allahpundit at Hot Air. "Financial support for Israel is deeply bipartisan in Congress. Even some pro-Israel tea partiers, like Allen West, would be loath to cancel their aid, I suspect, especially with Hezbollah now in control in Lebanon and the Muslim Brotherhood poised to ascend in Egypt. Until Iran’s regime, at least, is replaced with something less feral, there’s simply no way Congress will leave Israel to fend for itself." On top of that, Allahpundit notes that foreign aid is "small potatoes" when it comes the country's biggest fiscal problems.
- I Give Him Credit for Being Specific, writes Matt Schneider at Mediaite: "Although this might be a controversial proposal to some, at least Paul deserves credit for suggesting something to cut, as opposed to most who just say throw out meaningless statements like 'it’s time for an adult conversation' or 'everything is on the table.'"