The NJDC took a stab at Ron Paul today after claiming victory in the oustering of the admittedly reprehensible Cynthia McKinney.
While I agree with Ira Forman’s remarks that “accusing Jews of being disloyal to their country recalls the most vile anti-Semitic canards that have been invoked against Jews throughout the ages,” I do not agree that the state of Israel is a “central aspect of our faith.” In fact, it took many rabbis writing many teshuvot to legitimize the existence of a Jewish state, which most religious Jews before the Shoah viewed as assur (forbidden) by the Torah. The Jewish state that we have today also embodies many characteristics which are considered incompatible with our faith, which is why there is such a stark religious movement in Israel itself opposing the actions of the state. It would be far more accurate to say that for many Jews, Israel is an important part of Jewish identity and of the relationship between American Jews with the larger, global Jewish community. To say it is central to our faith, however, is entirely misleading. The land is central to our faith. Not the state.
Further, while I have little respect for Republicans, Ron Paul is one of the finest Republicans serving in office today. He, unlike most spineless and now-backtracking Democrats, opposed the war in Iraq as well as the Patriot Act from the very beginning. Indeed, Mr. Paul is one of the staunchest defenders of civil liberties and advocates of responsible foreign policy in the American government today, and I for one wish we had more politicians like him in office.
With regards to his statements on the Israel-Lebanon conflict, as an American resident of Israel working with various social justice organizations, I am compelled to agree with Mr. Paul that the United States is ultimately more effective as a netural broker between Israel and its neighbors. We can see, very clearly, from the way American foreign policy is playing out in the Middle East presently, that American partisanship towards Israel is having extraodinarily negative consequences for both Israel and the United States.
Further, I believe it is wholly irresponsible of Jewish Democrats to be endorsing right-wing Zionist and neoconservative perspectives, as they are an extension of the very same ‘forcible regime change’ policy that created our current debacle in Iraq. It takes balls to stand up and say ‘no’ to the right-wing of the pro-Israel lobby, and I for one applaud Mr. Paul’s efforts to speak truth to power, even when it’s abundantly clear that no one is listening.