The latest tumult in respect of Congressman Ron Paul concerns the news of his views on recognizing Jerusalem. It turns out that the congressman is all for America recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. The Web site Business Insider uses the word “surprising” to describe Dr. Paul’s position, which was voiced for the first time last week at a parley the Republican hopeful had with evangelical Christian leaders. The surprise is no doubt owing to all the suggestions in the press that because Dr. Paul does not support foreign aid to the Jewish state, or any other country, he is against Israel.
“The real issue here is not what America wants, but what does Israel want. If Israel wants their capital to be Jerusalem, then the United States should honor that,” Business Insider quotes Dr. Paul as telling the evangelical leaders, adding: “How would we like it if some other nation said ‘We decided to recognize New York City as your capital instead, so we will build our embassy there?’” It said that Dr. Paul’s position on Jerusalem “will likely come as a surprise to GOP leaders, most of whom view Paul's non-interventionist foreign policy ideas — and particularly his stance towards Israel — as his greatest weakness.”
All this is illuminating at a moment when President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton are fighting before the Supreme Court itself to avoid having to list Jerusalem as part of Israel even on such a seemingly minor matter as issuing a birth certificate to an American born in the capital of the Jewish state. The skittishness on Jerusalem afflicts not only the Democrats; President Bush was also loathe to take such symbolic steps to carry out the legislated foreign policy of the United States Congress, which establishes the policy of the United States as being the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
These columns are far more interventionist — more neo-Conservative — than Congressman Paul. But we don’t mind saying that we are enjoying seeing him sketch a more libertarian doctrine. We learned a long time ago, over lunch and dinners with the congressman, that it’s not accurate to set him down as a bigot. His views, however hard to square at first blush with many of our most cherished foreign policy planks, are animated by principles that as often as not lead to policies that confound not us but our adversaries. And that are needed in the presidential campaign that is moving toward the main event.