Sunday, June 06, 2010

Rand Paul leaves RJC concerned

It's something both parties can agree on.

Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coaltion recently commented on Rand Paul's shocking victory over Trey Grayson.
While some political observers say Paul’s strong pro-Israel views could be a magnet for Jewish campaign givers, even some ardent Jewish Republicans are worried about what they see as the political newcomer’s views on U.S. foreign policy and his positions on issues such as civil rights.

All of which led the Republican Jewish Coalition to oppose his candidacy for the nomination and, in an unusual move, to spurn him now that he is the party’s standard-bearer.

“Rand Paul is outside the comfort level of a lot of people in the Jewish community, and in many ways outside of where the Republican Party is on many critical issues,” said Matt Brooks, the RJC executive director, adding that leaders of his group worked on behalf of Paul’s primary opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson.[...]

Jewish Democrats, battered by recent controversies over the Obama administration’s handling of the Israel issue, couldn’t be happier.

“This is manna from heaven for us,” said Ira Forman, CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council. “And it’s not just in Kentucky. Like Sarah Palin, Rand Paul is going to be very good for Jewish Democrats.”[...]

In one statement, Paul said he “strongly object[s] to the arrogant approach of [the] Obama administration. ... Only Israel can decide what is in her security interest, not America and certainly not the United Nations.”

Paul, a strong opponent of foreign aid in general, doesn’t say how he would vote on Israel’s $3 billion appropriation, but he did say he opposes aid to Arab countries that could end up threatening Israel. Such sentiments have earned strong criticism from the anti-Israel right, but praise from some prominent conservatives -- including several leaders of the Christian right, a faction that generally worries that the Tea Party candidates focus too little on social issues such as abortion and gay rights.[...]

The Republican Jewish Coalition, however, still has questions.

“We don’t write off anybody,” said Brooks, its director. “But as it stands now, there are just too many questions about Paul. Is he more like [Sen.] Mitch McConnell, who has been terrific on Israel, or is he more like Ron Paul?

"His civil rights views are another indication of a tone deafness and a point of view that are troubling to a lot of people."

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