In a May 15 JTA article titled “Lugar’s defeat raises specter of more partisanship on foreign policy,” Ron Kampeas notes that the so-called Tea Party poses an interesting conundrum for the Israel lobby:
The problem, the insiders say, is not one of enthusiasm for Israel but in how members of the party’s right wing have proposed changing the mechanisms for allocating foreign aid.The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has always emphasized the importance of backing the entire foreign assistance package. The logic is multifold: Aid overall builds good will for the United States and its allies; the perception that aid to the developing world is inextricable from aid to Israel promotes good will for Israel in those countries; singling out Israel for assistance while neglecting other countries promotes unseemly stereotypes about Jewish influence; and cutting aid inevitably will likely lead to cuts in assistance for Israel, however much the current Congress supports the country.“They want to cut everything but Israel, but in the end, if everything else is cut, assistance to Israel will have to be cut,” said the pro-Israel donor.
The logic of the lobby’s position on foreign aid was surely not lost on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when he challenged Senator Rand Paul on his budget cut plans. “You want to end all foreign aid as well, is that right?” the former editor of AIPAC’s Near East Report anxiously asked the senator from Kentucky. “What about humanitarian aid, for example, to Africa? You want to end all that?”