Gingrich condemns Ron Paul for abandoning Israel

Republican presidential front-runner slams opponent who "dismisses the danger of an Iranian nuclear weapon."

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
December 22, 2011 22:57
2 minute read.
Newt Gingrich [file]

Newt Gingrich 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Less than two weeks before the first official Republican poll of the presidential primary season, right-wing front-runner Newt Gingrich slammed Iowa candidate-to-beat Ron Paul Thursday for abandoning Israel to Iran’s mercies.

Paul, said Gingrich, “dismisses the danger of an Iranian nuclear weapon and seems to be indifferent to the idea that Israel could be wiped out.”

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Speaking on a conservative radio talk show Thursday morning, Gingrich accused Paul of being “a guy who basically says, if the United States were only nice, it wouldn’t have had 9/11. He doesn’t want to blame the bad guys.”

“I think the key to his volunteer base is people who want to legalize drugs,” said the former speaker of the House, and recent Republican front-runner.

During foreign-policy discussions, Paul has said that he would not attack or impose sanctions on Iran to curb its nuclear aspirations, but that he would allow Israel to fend for itself.

“When they want to have peace treaties, we tell them what they can do because we buy their allegiance and they sacrifice their sovereignty to us. And then they decide they want to bomb something, that’s their business, but they should, you know, suffer the consequences,” Paul said during a debate among Republican candidates in November.

Paul, an avowed American civil libertarian and isolationist from Texas, emerged this week as the front-runner in the January 3 Iowa caucus, polling at over 20 percent, in a field of seven main candidates.

Paul was the only leading GOP candidate who was not invited to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s candidates’ forum earlier this month, a decision that the Paul camp said that they only learned about through the media.

Paul has stressed that in advocating cutting financial support for Israel, he is supporting Zionism’s founding values of independence. He has also argued that Arab states receive seven times the amount of aid as Israel, and that that aid too would be cut. Paul’s supporters also cite the congressman’s defense of Israel’s 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak.

But Democrats, including the National Jewish Democratic Council’s President David A. Harris, have tied Paul’s position on funding to other policies that they claim are anti-Israel, including what Harris described as “trying to empathize with Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

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