A top aide for US Senator Rand Paul is working for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election campaign.
Vincent Harris, the 26-year-old top digital strategist for Paul, is helping Netanyahu win his fourth term as prime minister, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Harris, who is based in Austin, Texas, has made two trips to Israel and has been working for Netanyahu’s Likud party for more than six weeks, he told the Israeli newspaper.
Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, hired Harris last November to be his chief digital strategist. Harris has also worked for Republican senators Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz.
Harris has denied that he was sent by Senators McConnell or Cruz to help Netanyahu.
“I have not spoken to Sen. Cruz or to Mitch McConnell about my job here,” Harris told the newspaper. “My Israeli work is completely separate from my work in the US, so what is being reported is not true.”
In 2012, Harris served as an online strategist for Texas Governor and then presidential candidate Rick Perry. He was hired by Newt Gingrich to run his campaign’s online and social media operations after Perry dropped out of the White House race and endorsed Gingrich.
In 2011, Paul came under pressure by members of the American right who hold strong pro-Israel views for proposing a budget that would eliminate all foreign aid, including to Israel. As a consequence, Paul’s more recent budget proposals have included aid to Israel.
Harris is not the only US political strategist involved in the Israeli election. Jeremy Bird, the former national field director for President Barack Obama, is advising a coalition of groups that are working to unseat Netanyahu.
Netanyahu’s planned trip to the US in March has sparked controversy because House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner invited him to address Congress about Iran without informing Obama. Some Democrats are planning to boycott the speech.