Following a fence-mending meeting with GOP megadonor and leading Israel supporter Sheldon Adelson earlier this week, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2016, expressed confidence that "American Jewry" may jettison the Democrats and vote Republican next year.
Paul's past support for cutting foreign aid to Israel and his skepticism of foreign interventions has alarmed Republican neoconservatives, although the senator has maneuvered to court the party's hawks ahead of his White House run. Tuesday's meeting with Adelson, a Las Vegas-based casino magnate, signaled his determination to woo GOP interventionists.
Appearing on the radio program "Jewish Moments in the Morning," Paul said that Adelson told him there was "no truth" to the report that Adelson was prepared to bankroll an anti-Paul effort in 2016.
"That's another thing where people spread mistruth," Paul said. "I sat down with he and his wife yesterday and they assured me there was no truth to that. That was somebody spreading falsehoods, and we have good relations and we had a great, very informative discussion."
The senator added that tensions in the relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could lead Jews to abandon the Democratic Party.
"I think that should send a message to a lot of American Jewry that really the time to think about who supports Israel is now," he said.
While there's quadrennial speculation that Jewish voters will drift toward the GOP, Jews remain overwhelmingly Democratic. Polling shows that Jews hold strongly liberal views on issues like abortion, gay rights, and the size of government, putting them out of step with the modern GOP. Meanwhile, foreign policy issues like Israel don't rank highly on their list of priorities.