In 2010, before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul said he would vote to end foreign aid to all countries and that if people wanted to give money to Israel, they could give personal donations as citizens.
Paul, the potential presidential contender who recently won the Conservative Political Action Committee presidential straw poll, made the comments in an interview with a Kentucky conservative blogger in 2010.
"If you have to give money to Israel, I'm all for people donating and giving money to Israel but we don't have money for any of those subsidies, it's gone," Paul told blogger Mica Sims in 2010. "We have to borrow money from China to give it to other countries. It makes no sense whatsoever from a fiscal standpoint."
Paul was asked whether he would pull all foreign aid, including funding to Israel. "I won't vote for foreign aid because we're bankrupt as a country."
In another part of the interview, Paul relays details he said he told the the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) during a meeting with the pro-Israel group.
"I understand that Israel is the only democracy in that part of the world, I understand the historical Judeo-Christian kinship we have with them, but I won't always be a rubber stamp with them that we just give them all our money," Paul said of his meeting with AIPAC. "So I will question what we give and how much we give."
Paul said he and AIPAC saw "eye to eye" on many things, such as not censoring Israel for defending itself, and not giving foreign aid to Israel's enemies.
"What happens if bin Laden's people, the radical people, take over Saudi Arabia and we've just given them $200 billion worth of weapons?" asked Paul in the 2010 interview.
"I think we are allies, and that we can work in concert; it should always be our national security first," Paul said in the interview, adding he would vote for policies he said would benefit both Israel and the United States.
In 2011, Paul proposed a budget that would have cut foreign aid, including money to Israel.
Paul has in the past denied that he supported cutting foreign aid specifically to Israel.
"I haven't really proposed that in the past," he told Yahoo News in August 2013. "We've never had a legislative proposal to do that. You can mistake my position, but then I'll answer the question. That has not been a position — a legislative position — we have introduced to phase out or get rid of Israel's aid. That's the answer to that question. Israel has always been a strong ally of ours and I appreciate that. I voted just this week to give money — more money — to the Iron Dome, so don't mischaracterize my position on Israel."
A spokesman for Paul gave the following statement when asked for comment:
Senator Paul strongly believes in America's special relationship with the State of Israel. At no time, did Senator Paul specifically introduce legislation targeting Israel. In fact, Senator Paul's most recent proposed budget includes $5 Billion of foreign aid funding, which would cover aid to our allies.
Additionally, Senator Paul is in complete agreement with Prime Minister Netanyahu who before a previous joint session of Congress stated:
"We are deeply grateful for all we have received from the United States, for all that we have received from this chamber, from this body. But I believe there can be no greater tribute to America's long-standing economic aid to Israel than for us to be able to say: We are going to achieve economic independence….I am convinced that our economic policies will lay the foundation for total self-reliance and great economic strength."
Senator Paul has made it a focus to cut off aid to those who harbor hatred towards the United States and Israel.
Senator Rand Paul has stated in the past: "I would start by cutting foreign aid from countries who are burning our flag and chanting death to America. Countries that don't seem to be acting like our allies."