Libertarian GOP Sen. Rand Paul to meet with ‘Libertarian’ Palestinian president

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
Font Size:

When Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan on Tuesday, he will be meeting — most likely unknowingly — with a fellow “Libertarian.”

At least, Abbas lists his political views as “Libertarian” on his Facebook profile. Nothing in Abbas’s record suggests he is actually philosophically libertarian – or, for that matter, a member of the Libertarian Party in the United States.

Libertarian legal scholar Eugene Volokh first pointed out the bizarre claim on his blog The Volokh Conspiracy. As a commentator on his blog suggested, Abbas, who is also chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, may be confusing “libertarian” with “liberation.”

In no way is the Palestinian Liberation Organization like the Cato Institute.

Paul is in the region to meet with Israeli and Arab leaders. Many speculate the trip is a move to bolster his international credentials before making a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

In Israel on Monday, Paul gave a speech to the actual libertarian-minded Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, in which he reiterated his position on ending foreign aid, including to Israel.

The Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies lists Iddo Netanyahu, brother of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as among its “distinguished friends.”

“It will harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process,” Paul said in his speech, according to FoxNews.com.

“I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits … you destroy your currency by spending money you don’t have.”

Paul acknowledged American aid to Israel is unlikely to be cut anytime soon, and said his preference would be to begin cutting aid to countries with a rocky relationship with America, like Egypt and Pakistan, according to FoxNews.com.

While in the region, Paul is slated to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres. He will reportedly also travel to Jordan to meet with Jordanian King Abdullah and Abbas.

Follow Jamie on Twitter