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Any Consequences for Israel’s Love Affair with Trump?

Israel Flag

middleeasteye.net

You bet. But first, let’s spend a minute analyzing the picture above. We see three prominent flags being carried above a river of people—demonstrators, rioters, terrorists—on the way to the Capitol building in Washington D.C. The citadel of our fragile democracy. We don’t know whether the people we see will eventually storm the building too. Maybe they are just behind the storming mob, and will stop at the steps of the Capitol. No matter, we look at their faces and see that they are eager participants, following President Trump’s orders.

The first flag in the foreground, on the right, is the QAnon flag, slightly folded by the wind. QAnon, of course, is the largest and most notorious (alleging that a cabal of Satan-worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring, etc.), most influential of all the Republicans’ conspiracy theories. A completely baseless, alternate reality gibberish. Which, nonetheless, making true believers of the president’s anti-reality, anti-truth supporters. At the center, most prominently, we see the American flag. And then on the right, farther from us, is none other than the Israeli flag.

So what are we to make of this Holy Trinity? We know that Israel was on top of the list of a few countries to benefit from the Trump administration. Any wish Netanyahu and his right-wing supporters—qualifier: almost any wish, as the annexation of the West Bank was not granted, yet was a future possibility—was happily granted by Trump and his sycophants, Ambassador Friedman and Jared Kushner. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: check. The Golan Heights recognized as Israeli territory: check. Disregard, discredit, marginalized the Palestinian issue and people: check. A hurried exit of the Iranian Nuclear Deal: check. More money and more sophisticated weapons and fighting aircrafts: check. And so on.

If you ask yourselves why this lovefest was so strong from the get-go, you couldn’t be more wrong if you thought it was Trump’s love for the Jewish State and the Jewish people. Nonsense. (He could never get used to Jared stealing his beloved daughter Ivanka away from him.) When he came to office he couldn’t point Israel, or Jerusalem, on the map if you put a gun to his head. Two reasons then: First, the Evangelical movement. His greatest supporters. And devotee supporters of Israel’s occupation, annexation, apartheid, you name it. How else will the Messiah come back to earth? And do you know that, even while the pandemic is raging on, and the country is in lockdown, some Evangelicals were allowed to enter the country to volunteer for picking up grapes in the settlements?

The second reason was that he’d hoped—stupidly, of course—or was sure that by granting all Netanyahu’s demands and wishes the majority of Jews in America will vote for him. Fat chance. We know now that between 66-76 percent (depend on the pollsters) of Jews have voted democratic, for Biden. (As yours truly had predicted, and was attacked for so predicting, in a previous post, Why Most Jews Vote Biden, 10/30/2020). Which brings us naturally to the question of what the consequences are, if any, for Israel’s love affair with Trump.

“If Israel were a U.S. state, it would be the reddest state in the Union,” said Alon Pinkas (to the New Yorker), a former consul-general for Israel in New York. But why? But how? Some adulation can be attributed to the dimwitted, or naive belief that to be good to Israel and its people, to safeguard its security and future, a president must grant every wish of its Right-wing government and majority. (Which is, of course, utter nonsense.) The other, and even more problematic, is that the anti-democracy, anti-truth, anti-reality forces in Israel are just as strong, just as large (population-wise) as in America. And that the threat of a criminal dictator like Trump—i.e. Netanyahu—is just as prominent. Hence the continuous struggle, and year-long demonstrations by Israelis fighting for the state young—in comparison to America—democracy. And without a constitution to safeguard it. As a result, the residue of the lovefest with Trump will continue to resonate as the country and its people continue the fight to retain its democracy.

The other consequence is that the gap between Israeli Jews and American Jews—not only liberals, not only reforms, but among conservatives too—is wider than it has ever been. American Jews, on the whole—excluding the ultra-orthodox, ultra-conservatives, and evangelical-prone Jews—abhor autocracy and despise anti-fact, anti-truth conspiracy theories and alternate-reality nonsense. They sew clearly what was in front of them when Trump was in power, and didn’t like it one bit. Just as they didn’t/don’t like what they see going on in Israel. Which, even if they don’t admit it loudly, know it’s way ahead into becoming an Apartheid state.

One hopes that with the change of a president, an administration and party in America, things will change—and they will, to a large or small degree—regarding Israel’s occupation and grand ambitions. But the way things are moving, especially in Israel, I don’t see this gap narrowing any day soon. This will create a fissure, and complications in Jews’ reaction to Israel. Assuming the coronavirus would be defeated at some point in time, soon hopefully, and Jews will return to services at their various congregations, they and their national organizations—even AIPAC, another Trump’s enabler when it comes to Israel—will have to work hard to narrow this gap.

Finally, in Israel, time will tell. And much will be determined in the next elections. The demographics don’t look good, though. As in Israel, unlike America—wherein seven of the last eight elections the majority of the people voted for the Democratic presidential candidates—the majority goes the other way. Traditionally the Likud and Netanyahu were always supported by the majority of Mizrachim, or Sephardim, Jews from Arab and North African countries. Joining them—the fasted growing segment of the population in Israel, and the majority of the West Bank settlers—are the Haredim, the ultra-orthodox. The fervent religious zealots. The most ardent of Trump’s supporters.

The struggle for democracy continues then, both in America and in Israel, with the consequences of the alliance of Trump and Israel to vibrate for years to come.

* The ‘Leave a Comment’ link is the last tag below, in blue.

If America falls, Will Israel Follow?

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“The republic was saved!” So declared Nancy Pelosi, following Biden’s elections’ win. “Welcome back America!” So screamed, with variations, the headlines in Europe. “Long Live Democracy!” Such was the general cry of jubilation among democrats and liberals here and abroad. And yet the assault on the truth by President Trump and his cohorts continues. His refusal to accept the results of the elections, and to accept its consequences, continue unabated. Supported and aided by almost a universal acquiesce and silence from the Republicans in Congress. In short, the battle is yet to be won, it is raging on, with a long winter looming ahead.

While yours truly was indeed jubilant after Biden’s win, he was quicker than most to declare Trump’s actions and inactions, following the elections, a coup d’état. Or, as it actually should be called, a self-coup (since he’s still in power). Other observers, more astute and knowledgeable, followed through with similar assumptions. However, most of these observers and journalists consider Trump just a con man, incapable of executing something more sinister. They believe our institutions, the constitution, and the Army will save us. Inauguration Day will come January 20th and Biden and Harris will be sworn in as new President and Vice President.

Amen to that. Probably so. However, it is clear to me that despite all these voices to the contrary—among them from Trump’s supposed friends and close advisors, insisting that ultimately when the time comes he would leave the White House peacefully—I have strong doubts about that. This scenario doesn’t seem plausible to me. Actually, I see a different scenario in which—yes, very unlikely—he won’t leave the Presidency at all. He is incapable of it, and unable to admitting defeat. He would rather foment his fervent supporters, white extremists all, among whom more than 70% believe—without any supporting evidence—that the election was stolen from him. Fighting in the streets, where his supporters have a clear advantage in arms and ammunition—and in willingness to kill—is not far off. What next: a civil war?

Just saying. Not predicting. But you see, many observers repeat their trust in the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley, who declared before the election that the army will stay out of it. It will leave the matter to our political system and politicians. How appropriate. Most observers see that as proof that Trump does not have the army in his corner, and that without the army he cannot succeed in his self-coup. However, Biden and the Democrats also don’t have the army in their corner. And if the army stays neutral, or controlled by the ‘gang’ Trump had installed there at the head of the Department of Defense, of which he is still the Commander-in-Chief, who then will kick the bully out of the White House?

Here’s something you may not know. There is nothing in America’s constitution, or in its history, regarding a situation where a president is refusing to leave the office. Nothing. Point blank. The framers, giving thought and endless talks to every possibility and detail, didn’t realize such a nutcase, such a scenario may one day come to be. So now, if he refuses to leave, what then? If he continues to be regarded as the legitimate president by most of his 70 million voters—who plan a big demonstration in D.C. ahead of the electoral college rollcall—what then? The armed masses in the street will march on, causing havoc. The senate also might continue its silence. And the army will continue its neutrality. What then?…

Complete chaos. Biden had said before the elections, when this possibility was brought up to him, that we have a way of dealing with trespassers. What a nice soundbite. But who will execute the eviction? Under what authority? Trump will be the one still in control of all the buttons. Of all his cronies and criminals he’s put in a position of power, from Attorney General William Barr to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller. I dread breaking it to you, but this is a highly likely scenario. It will be the end of the republic, and democracy.

Okay, I hear you: I’m blowing things out of all proportions. Got it. But even so, think what would’ve happened had the elections were just a little bit closer. Closer overall, and closer in the battleground states. What then?
While I leave you to contemplate this, I turn my attention to Israel. Over there, the situation is, indeed, not so dire. There is a functioning government (about to collapse?) in place, a Prime Minister in charge—for how many years, oh boy, I can’t remember—and the rule of law, shaky here and there, still apply. The Knesset still functions somehow. However, what looms ahead in Israel, and very soon, is the start of Netanyahu’s trial (delayed to February, as Netanyahu is using Trump’s tactics of delay and dismiss) on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery, and the future possibility of his culpability in the ‘Submarine Affair’ being thrown into the mix as well.

Now imagine, why don’t you, a Prime Minister in office, the strongest politician in the land, being escort by police into court daily. What the political situation will look like then? How his rightwing supporters in the streets will react? I mean, if Trump is in power here as a dictator (just imagine), nothing will stop Netanyahu from canceling his trial altogether, and by any means possible. At the very least, he will subvert the rule of law to his political power, and in the process might do away with democracy altogether. Just as the thousands upon thousands keep demonstrating in the streets for the last few months are claiming.

Furthermore: Assuming the rule of law holds steady, and the Knesset and Government are still functioning democratically. If the trial ends in Netanyahu’s conviction—as I have no doubt it would, at least in part—who will then take him to jail? Or remove him from power? His people—’La Familia’s’ hooligans—will be in the street, armed too. Or he’d call new elections, which he no doubt might still win, thereafter overruling the courts’ judgments and legitimacy. And that’s that, my friends. The collapse of democracy in Israel as well.

Just a nightmare? A prescient vision? You’ll be the judge; you and the days ahead.

* The ‘Leave a Comment’ link is the last tag below, in blue.

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