Q. The RJC characterized your views on Israel as “misguided and extreme”. Why do you think they view your views in that way?
Paul: I do not know, as I am the one candidate who would respect Israel’s sovereignty and not try to dictate to her about how she should deal with her neighbors. I supported Israel’s right to attack the Iraqi nuclear reactor in the 1980s, and I opposed President Obama’s attempt to dictate Israel’s borders this year.
Q. Do you think that the American debate on Israel is stifled?
Paul: There is no question that the problems of the Middle East have been intractable and may take new solutions and ideas. These ideas should all be openly discussed. I believe that my opinions have been distorted by those who want to continue America’s current role as world policeman, which we don’t have the money or manpower to sustain.
My philosophy, like that of the Founding Fathers, is that we should use our resources to protect our nation. Our policies of intervention and manipulation in Iran and Iraq and other places have led to unintended consequences and have not made Israel safer. Many in the Jewish community share my opinion, and it’s vital for both nations that we continue to have an open dialogue…
Q. In that same clip, you also say that the motivation of al-Qaida for the 9/11 attacks was American support for Israel. Do you still believe that?
Paul: I think most people in the Middle East and probably in Israel would agree that this was a major factor. That in itself does not make our policies right or wrong. Our policies need to be discussed on their own merits, but as a matter of course, yes, our support of Israel has made us enemies.