In an interview with Iranian television in 2009, Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul referred to Gaza as a “concentration camp.”
During the interview the Texas congressman criticized then-US President George W. Bush’s policy, saying “it’s our money and our weapons. But I think we encouraged it. Certainly the president has said nothing to diminish it. He justifies it on moral grounds. ‘They have a right to do this’ – without ever mentioning the tragedy of Gaza.
“To me, I look at it like a concentration camp – and people are making homemade bombs and like they’re the aggressors (Palestinians)?” he said.
Addressing Israel-US relations, Paul said, “I think if we weren’t in the Middle East, there would be a much greater motivation for Israel to deal with all the people…Maybe they would be talking to the Arab League every single day to work out problems. But they don’t have the motivation because they know we’ll back them up.”
Paul, who has been under fire from other Republican candidates over his comments on Israel, said he backed the Israeli strike on an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.
Paul’s former aide, Eric Dondero, recently claimed the elderly congressman “wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all.”
The congressman’s view, he said, “is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer. 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.”
Asked by The Daily Caller whether his father still stood by that assessment of Gaza as a concentration camp, Senator Rand Paul said, “I don’t know about that comment,” adding that his father “doesn’t want (Iran) to have nuclear weapons, he thinks it would be destabilizing for them to have them, but he thinks there needs to be a healthy debate in Congress about what our response should be.”
Rand Paul spoke to the conservative website after the Republican primary debate in New Hampshire on Saturday.