Any Consequences for Israel’s Love Affair with Trump?

Israel Flag

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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.

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Why Most Jews Vote Biden

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The short answer is: Because they are not stupid. They are educated and informed. They leave conspiracy theories to the uneducated and uninformed. Democracy is important to them above all else. They cherish basic decency in human interaction. They oppose fascism and racism. They believe that immigrants should get a fair shake at the American dream. They rather have peace than go to war. Freedom and liberty for all isn’t just a slogan for them, but a belief. They would like to exercise freely their religion, not to suffer from anti-Semitism constantly. And so on.

Now to the long answer: All these things mentioned above, a set of basic beliefs, come even before Israel. Important as Israel is to them, it is no longer the sole reason for their existence. What the current occupant of the White House fails to understand is that while moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was generally a cause of guarded joy and satisfaction to most American Jews, it did not alter their negative view of him. Nor, they realized, did it solve or advanced the cause of peace with the Palestinians, or generate an avalanche – to say the least – of other countries moving their embassies to Jerusalem. It changed nothing.

The same holds true in regard to declaring Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Other than gaining Trump a place to call ‘Trump Heights,’ with a nice golden sign but no houses or people living there, it achieved nothing. It changed nothing. It didn’t bring closer an agreement between Israel and Syria not one inch. As with Jerusalem, it simply created a momentary cloud of dust, avoiding the real issue: the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. As mentioned above, most Jews are not stupid, and they saw it clearly right away.

Just as they saw and realized that the semi, ‘fake peace’ with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and other such sheikdoms – which were never at war with Israel in the first place, and for quite some time entertained open relations with Israel – will fail to advance the cause of peace with the Palestinians, or push them closer to an acceptable resolution. It’s all dust in the air, not supported by the majority of these undemocratic countries and their oppressed citizens. So now, in another attempt to gain an advantage in next week’s election, Trump has pushed Sudan likewise, even taking it off the list of state sponsoring of terrorism, and offering it billions of dollars in order to sign an agreement of normalization with Israel.

It’s the same way Trump deals with the coronavirus pandemic: avoiding the real issue, the hard way to treat and deal with it, and throwing empty promises in the air. Most Jews realized that from the outset and behaved responsibly, suffering minimal casualties, other than the ultraorthodox communities of Jews, both in Israel and in America, his greatest supporters. His other fervent supporters, among “white supremacy” America, didn’t and still don’t realize that – i.e. the full severity of the global pandemic – and therefore are paying a hefty price for it. This president is a buffoon, an imbecilic dictator in the making who has no business leading the most powerful country – if it’s still the most powerful country, which I begin to doubt – in the world.

Biden is a different person, and leader, altogether. A person of common decency. A person of valuable experience. A uniter—not divider. What America and the world need now, most Jews realize, is a president of the people, for all the people. A president who would reunite the country as much as humanly possible, even if the extremists will always stay in the wings, and will try to resist. He will work to bring black and white together, not apart, People with different sexual orientations likewise. They will find an open door in his oval office. He will continue Obama’s work to give people affordable health care insurance and treatment, not take it away from them. He will give new immigrants a chance at the American dream, not build a wall to lock them out.

He will rejoin the international climate accord on day one, as he had promised he would do. He will work with the European countries, and with China too, to reverse the disastrous effects of human brutality against nature: The pandemic, the hurricanes, the global rise in hot temperatures, the melting of the ice, the flooding of cities, the killing of fish and wildlife. He will work with our allies, and with the young people of this world, to reverse course.

He will rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran, and try to reverse course on this issue too. This major achievement of the Obama administration, which Trump did all he can to destroy. Another thing he thought Jews would like and thank him for. But as pointed out before, Jews are not stupid. And they realize what a disastrous policy it is. Appeasing Israel and Netanyahu, causing Iran –the rest of the world too, mind you, like Russia and N. Korea – to go ballistic with their nuclear ambitions.

Under Trump, the atomic clock moved dangerously closer to striking midnight. Biden will try to reverse it. He will listen to scientists and experts. He will read the intelligence reports and pay attention to them. He will try to reverse the slide of the democratic world – Israel included – towards an authoritarian, undemocratic world. Jews read, learn, and understand what’s going on here, in America and there in Israel. And they don’t like it. The great democracy of the Middle East, the bastion of the rule-of-law there, is in grave danger. Jews, as well as Biden, see it. And, if he is elected, they will work together with him and his administration to reverse it.

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