As he builds his national profile ahead of a potential run for the presidency in 2016, Sen. Rand Paul faces a central dilemma: How can he expand his appeal to a broader constituency without totally alienating his father’s energetic supporters? One issue that’s particularly difficult to bridge is America’s relationship with Israel. During his two runs for the White House, Ron Paul attracted passionate support for his foreign policy views. But those views – which included harsh criticism of Israel – also turned off a large portion of the staunchly pro-Israel GOP base. In 2011, I used the term “Zionist non-interventionism” to describe how Rand Paul was trying to thread the needle by making non-interventionist arguments and framing them as being beneficial to Israel. This approach continues to evolve. …

Though other non-interventionists might attack Israeli construction, arguing it endangers America’s interests abroad by provoking the Arab and Muslim world, Paul is arguing that his non-interventionist views mean that he doesn’t give a toss where or when Israeli Jews choose to build homes.

On the question of gradually phasing out aid to Israel, Paul argues, “It’s really the presumption of whether we should be dictating to other countries — even if they are our friends — whether we should dictate every minute aspect of them building in their country. I think that’s wrong. But I think it’s also a reason you should want to become more and more independent, and not dependent on aid from the United States. Because then you can develop your sovereignty and be more definitive in the things you want.”