Republican presidential contender Congressman Ron Paul would like to see Israel disappear and believes the state should be replaced by an Arab entity, a former senior aide to the 76-year-old Texan alleged on Sunday.
One day after the Ron Paul campaign blamed ghostwriters for racist and anti-Israel content in newsletters sent on the candidate's behalf in the 1990s, longtime aide and campaign staffer Eric Dondero suggested the newsletters did, indeed, reflect his former boss' true convictions when it comes to Israel.
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According to Dondero, who worked on and off for Paul over the past 12 years, the libertarian candidate has challenged both Israel's right to exist and the rationale behind its founding. Paul "is most certainly anti-Israel, and anti-Israeli in general," Dondero wrote on the conservative portal rightwingnews.com.
"He wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all ... He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs."
The Paul campaign has recently scrambled to contain potential damage from a Reuters report on a series of political and investment newsletters, sent around 1993 and apparently bearing Paul's signature, which are said to have included racist, anti-gay and anti-Israel rants.
However, Dondero took pains to stress that Paul's vehement anti-Israel stance does not reflect his feelings toward Jews in general, citing the warm relations the candidate holds with Jewish constituents in his home district. "Is Ron Paul an anti-Semite? Absolutely no," Dondero wrote.
Dondero believes Paul's views stem from his general disapproval of U.S. foreign policy and his desire to see a reduced financial footprint abroad. Paul believes "Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the American taxpayer," according to Dondero.
Dondero claims to have had "numerous private conversations" with Paul when he worked for him, most recently between 1997-2003.
With the Iowa caucuses just days away, this latest development serves as an unwanted distraction for Paul, who had been leading in the state according to most polls. While most experts still believe he has little to no chance of clinching the Republican nomination, a strong showing in Iowa could upset the race and help determine the eventual GOP challenger to President Barack Obama in November.
In an interview with CNN's Gloria Borger last Wednesday, Paul attempted to refute claims that he had been aware of the newsletters' content. "I didn't write them. I didn't read them at the time and I disavow them," Paul said.
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