Republican Congressman Ron Paul, Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and actor Ben Stein recently had a debate on Larry King’s show on CNN about the situation in Yemen. Ironically the strongest debate was between to two Republicans, Ron Paul and Ben Stein who vehemently disagree about interventionism in the middle east.
About the Al Qaeda terrorist suspect from Yemen and his motivation, Ron Paul said “one thing that is missing here is never asking the question what is the motive? He said why he was — he did it. He said it was because we bombed Yemen two weeks ago. That was his motive. Osama bin Laden said that he has a plan for America. First, he wants to bog us down in the Middle East in a no-win war. He wants to bankrupt this country, demoralize us, as well as have us do things that motivate people to join his radical movement.”
Ben Stein disagreed saying “I have never heard anything quite like that in my whole life. What he’s saying, basically, is we are doing something wrong by defending ourselves. Look, if these terrorists are trying to kill the government of Yemen, we’ve got to help defend them. They’re our friends. We can’t just let al Qaeda run wild. If we try to stop them”
Paul asked Stein why, and he responded “Why should we stop them? Because they are terrorists and murderers and they’re very anti-American.” Paul said “Why are they terrorists?” and Stein responded “They’re terrorists and murders because they are psychos.” Paul stated the real reason we are a target of terrorism is because “we’re occupiers.”
Out of no where Stein calls Paul an anti-semite even though Paul did not say anything about Jews or Israel. Stein said “no, we’re not occupiers. That’s the same anti-Semitic argument we’ve heard.” Perhaps it was a Freudian slip, since Stein is a strong supporter of Israel and he feels that Israel would become vulnerable if America were to withdraw from the Mideast. The tactic of calling someone an anti-Semite who criticizes Israel has long been used but Ron Paul did not even call Israel occupiers but said that America was.
Latter on in an article Ben Stein stated that he “said this because in his long experience, those who talk about the U.S. “occupying” Moslem lands soon go to criticism of the U.S. for helping Israel — a line long associated with Rep. Paul, as I understand, and again, maybe I am misinformed — and then to biting criticism of Israel and then to bitter comments about Jews generally.” He went on to say “that if Rep. Paul says he is not taking that line, and is not an anti-Semite, I believe him, good for him and I am happy to know him.
Ron Paul believes in non-interventionism and taking the founders advice of avoiding entangling alliances but many supporters of Israel feel that American interventionism in the Middle East is benefiting Israel. They are not willing to admit this so they try to associate those who support non-interventionism with being anti-Israel or anti-Jewish. However Stein bassically admited that he feels that the non-interventionist position leads to anti-semitism. Ron Paul is right that our interventionist foreign policy in the middle east is the main motivator for terrorism and Bin Laden even admited himself that he wants to see America bogged down in the middle east.