Rand Paul Dares To Mention Cutting Israel Aid

January 27, 2011 7:54 pm ET — MJ Rosenberg

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has a bad idea with a kernel of a good one inside. 

He would eliminate all foreign aid in an effort to balance the budget.

No matter that foreign aid constitutes less than 1% of the budget, it is an easy target. After all, none of Paul's constituents are foreign aid recipients.  

Opponents of foreign aid do not  believe that the richest country in the world has any obligation to the poorest people in the world. It's likely that they do not even know that we give a smaller percentage of our GDP to poor nations than many other industrialized countries. That goes against our self-image as the world's most generous people.

But foreign aid is a good thing and the budget for it should be significantly increased, not cut. The religious right's question of "what would Jesus do" is easily answered when it comes to suffering and hungry kids. 

Nonetheless, there is one interesting thing about Paul's proposal. Unlike other conservatives, he would not exempt Israel from his foreign aid cuts.  Every other legislator who proposes these draconian across-the-board cuts exempts Israel. Why? Because they don't want AIPAC on their case.

Not Rand Paul.. Of course, AIPAC has probably not put the screws on him yet.  Although, if he's like his dad Ron Paul (R-TX), he will tell AIPAC "thank you very much" and show it the door. We'll see. 

In any case, it's good that Rand Paul is talking about the Israel aid package.  If we are going to slash domestic programs, military aid to Israel (that is, in fact, what we provide) should be scrutinized too. 

Credit Rand Paul for at least raising the issue and not pretending (like Eric Cantor) that it is okay to deep six programs that benefit Americans but not those for the Israeli military. 

Aid to Israel should not be eliminated but we should consider cutting it by the amount Israel spends on settlements, settlers-only highways, evicting Palestinians from their homes, and on any and all settlement infrastructure.  Why should we pay for projects we oppose?

One more thing. With 99 senators never ever discussing even the possibility of reducing aid to Israel, it will be useful to have Sen. Paul there to at least raise the issue.