Hollywood had one question for Dr. Rajiv Shah: Why haven’t we heard of you before?
"Starting from zero," the foreign assistance plan touted by leading Republican candidates at a debate, is getting low marks, and not just from Democrats and the foreign policy community. Pro-Israel activists and fellow Republicans also have concerns.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul wants to end all foreign assistance, including aid to Israel. Paul, a Republican newly elected in Kentucky, was on CNN Wednesday outlining where he would cut the $500 billion in government spending he says is critical to sustaining the U.S. economy. His focus was on the departments of energy, education and housing.
This election season in the United States has not been a great one for the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Even as Paul makes headway in some circles, organized Jewish support for his Republican presidential bid is nearly nonexistent, thanks to the candidate's longstanding stance against providing foreign aid, including U.S. assistance to Israel. Still, Paul commands a loyal, albeit small, Jewish following. This Jewish support has followed the same pattern as Paul's backing from other groups -- coming from out-of-the way places on the Internet and taking mainstream media and political organizations by surprise.
There was, if you listened carefully, an undertone of anxiety beneath the hoopla last month,when Israel laid out plans to wean itself off U.S. economic aid.While politicians and pundits celebrated Israel's generous offer to give up its $3 billion-a-year entitlement, some Jewish activists werequietly wondering what it would do to Jewish political clout.