Americans ‘should be boycotting S. Arabia,’ says Clinton-bashing Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)
In an apparent continuation of his attack on Hillary Clinton for taking donations from regimes abusing women, Senator Rand Paul called on American citizens to boycott Saudi Arabia the way the South Africa’s apartheid regime was shunned.

The Republican Kentucky senator said Americans should castigate Saudi Arabia, "a regime that punishes women who are raped," he said, referring to a controversial case of a 19-year-old woman, who was gang-raped and then sentenced by a Saudi court to lashing for violating sex segregation laws.

"Remember when South Africa was misbehaving? We organized a boycott of South Africa. We should be boycotting Saudi Arabia and not taking money from Saudi Arabia’s government," Paul said, while meeting Republican voters and legislators at the BeanTowne cafe on Saturday.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, March 31, 2012. (Reuters / Fahad Shadeed)

The boycott call came as Paul was criticizing Hillary Clinton, a Democrat presidential frontrunner for the upcoming election campaign, for her family foundation accepting donations from Saudi Arabia and other countries where women’s rights are not protected enough.

His words on Saturday escalated an attack he launched on Friday, when he accused Clinton of duplicity by taking Saudi cash while posing as a women’s rights champion at home.

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"I don’t think you can be a champion of women's rights when you take money from a regime that punishes women who are raped," Paul said, calling on Clinton to return the donations.

Deflecting Paul’s offensive, Holly Shulman, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement, "If Rand Paul suddenly cares about women’s rights, then he needs to support equal pay, support the Violence Against Women Act, and support access to women’s health services."

The Clinton Foundation reportedly received $7.3 million from Saudi Arabians from 1999 to 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal. The foundation said the money has gone to “improving the lives of millions of people around the globe.”

Saudi Arabia is a key US ally in the Middle East, hosting its military bases and is a patron of Bahrain, home of US Fifth Fleet. President Barak Obama visited the kingdom to pay his respects to the Saudi royal family after the death of King Abdullah. Obama cut short his India tour to meet the deceased king’s successor King Salman.

Rand Paul is considering running for president in 2016.