WASHINGTON – Pro-Israel groups have in recent days invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertisements against Republican Senator Rand Paul over his attempts to block bipartisan security aid to Israel.
Paul, a libertarian from Kentucky who opposes U.S. foreign aid, is using his ability to put a hold on legislation called “the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act,” which codifies into law an agreement signed in 2016 by the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government to provide $38 billion to Israel over a decade.
While the legislation easily passed both chambers of Congress over the summer, Paul is holding it from going up for a final authorization vote in the Senate. As a result, both AIPAC and Christians United for Israel have put up ads attacking him for hurting Israel’s security. The ads appear both in social media and on television stations in Paul’s home state.
“I’m not for foreign aid in general, if we are going to send aid to Israel it should be limited in time and scope so we aren’t doing it forever, and it should be paid for by cutting the aid to people who hate Israel and America. This is a stance I’ve taken for many years,” Paul explained in a statement given to Jewish Insider.
In his statement, Paul also quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said two decades ago that Israel should stop receiving financial aid from the United States. Netanyahu’s words, it should be noted, weren’t directed at military assistance, which is what Paul is currently trying to block.
The Jewish Democratic Council of America issued a statement in opposition to Paul's hold, saying that aid it is in the best interest of both the U.S. and Israel. "Republicans should stand with Democrats in opposing this obstructionist and damaging effort by Senator Paul, and allow the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018 to move forward without further delay,” the statement read.
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Paul is one of Trump’s strongest Republican critics when it comes to foreign policy. He has also attacked the president in recent weeks over his handling of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.