Since the Six Day War, US presidents and presidential candidates have tended to speak of the US and Israel as great friends and allies. They have also tended to favor the shrinking of Israel's borders. This has reached a low point under the Bush administration,
The US alliance with Israel has been a decidedly mixed blessing.
which is the first one to explicitly make its policy the establishment of an Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Thus, the US alliance with Israel has been a decidedly mixed blessing.
Israel receives military and financial assistance, and also some diplomatic support at the United Nations, but the US puts pressure on Israel to surrender parts of the homeland. Even worse, this relationship seems to foster a mentality of dependence amongst many Israelis who, it seems, cannot imagine Israel defying the United States in any major way.
In the upcoming presidential election, however, there is a chance to change this dramatically, by electing Congressman Ron Paul, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Dr. Paul favors a non-interventionist foreign policy. He has written:
"Yet, while we call ourselves a strong ally of the Israeli people, we send billions in foreign aid every year to some Muslim states that many Israelis regard as enemies. From the Israeli point of view, many of the same Islamic nations we fund with our tax dollars want to destroy the Jewish state. Many average Israelis and American Jews see America as hypocritically hedging its bets.... It is time to challenge the notion that it is our job to broker peace in the Middle East and every other troubled region across the globe.... 'Peace plans' imposed by outsiders or the UN cause resentment and seldom produce lasting peace.... The fatal conceit lies in believing America can impose geopolitical solutions wherever it chooses."
In this, Dr. Paul is hearkening back to what George Washington counseled in his famous farewell address: "The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible."
The Republican Jewish Coalition (a fervent supporter of the Bush administration, which it claims is a great friend of Israel) refused to invite Dr. Paul to its candidates forum because he opposes aid to Israel. But, as we can see, Dr. Paul's position is based upon a principled, modest, non-interventionist foreign policy - not upon anti-Zionism. Indeed, in a way, his foreign policy is mirrored by his small government domestic policy. Both recognize there are real limits to what a government can usefully do.
It is true that Israel is a small state in a highly dangerous neighborhood, but it is an economically and technologically vibrant country - even more so recently, as the shackles of socialism have been somewhat loosened. Cutting the apron strings to the US would, I think, make Israel become more maturely self-confident, because it would be more self-reliant.
A Ron Paul presidency would be healthy for Israel in yet another way. Dr. Paul is opposed to organizations like the United Nations and the International Criminal Court that dilute national sovereignty. If the United States, in a Paul administration, withdrew from the UN and similar institutions, imagine what a blow this would deliver to their power and
Dr. Paul's position is based upon a principled, modest, non-interventionist foreign policy - not upon anti-Zionism.
prestige. I find it a thrilling prospect. Maybe Israel would have a wise enough government to follow suit.
Now, I do not support Ron Paul only for Zionist reasons, nor do I think US pressure is the primary cause for the current politically and culturally debilitated conditions of Israel. The primary cause, in my opinion, is the self-debasement of the Hebrew nation both in the homeland and abroad. This manifested itself most severely in the Israeli government's expulsion of Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria, and in the almost total lack of opposition that greeted this from the Jewish Diaspora.
It seems to me a Ron Paul presidency would be good for Israel and for the United States. Its foreign policy non-interventionism and its concern to protect national sovereignty would provide Israel with a greater impetus to increase its own independence and sense of national honor. I hope American Zionists will resist the immediate, meretricious attractions of American financial assistance for Israel. Ron Paul would both end this infantilizing, and even corrupting, aid and respect Israel's national sovereignty.
Taking the long and deep view, Ron Paul should be the Zionist choice.