WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who opposes foreign assistance, including defense aid to Israel, has joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Paul (R-Ky.), one of four new Republicans on the committee whose appointments were first reported Thursday by Foreign Policy magazine, has reached out recently to the pro-Israel community and last month announced his intention to visit Israel soon accompanied by Christian Zionists.
Unlike his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a perennial presidential contender who has laced his arguments against assistance for Israel with harsh criticisms of the Jewish state, the younger Paul casts his opposition to assistance as a matter of independence for Israel from undue American influence.
The National Jewish Democratic Council on Friday slammed the Senate GOP leadership for giving "a bigger microphone and a prominent platform to someone who has repeatedly called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel."
The Foreign Relations Committee sets the Senate’s foreign policy agenda, although the primary voice on foreign assistance remains the Senate’s Appropriations Committee.
Both Pauls in the past drawn have persistent criticism from the Republican Jewish Coalition for their postures on assistance to Israel.
Rand Paul is believed to be considering a presidential run in 2016.