Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Trump and Israel

Last month, I spoke at a synagogue about Trump and the US elections.  I feel pretty good about what I said, as much of what I highlighted has become even more apparent--that the fundamentals favor HRC, that Trump is a lousy candidate and on and on.  I did regret how I answered the last question, which was about Israel.  Folks fear the Democrats these days because there are pro-Palestinian types in the party.  Sure, but what I should have said more clearly is what a disaster Trump would be for Israel.  How so?
  1. Trump is, of course, the candidate of white supremacists, who tend to be very, very anti-semitic.  Many online critics of Trump have faced significant abuse from the Trump fans who do not hesitate to make the most Jew-hating, holocaust-denying or holocaust-celebrating remarks.  Trump's staff is, alas, chock full of these people, even before Steve Bannon of Breitbart came on board.
  2. Trump's vows to support Israel are just as reliable as every other promise he has made.  Yes, politicians do lie sometimes and break promises, but no candidate has threatened to break pretty much every promise he has made like Trump has.  Trump is about as untrustworthy as one can imagine.
  3. Trump's promises (whatever they are worth) to ban Muslims and all the rest are likely to feed Islamist extremism, which is not good for Israel.  Alienating all Muslims is just a dumb move, one that Trump would very much likely make. 
  4. Trump would be bad for the world economy, which would then hurt Israel.  His threats to default on the debt, the promises to get out of most major trade agreements, and on and on would create more than a bit of uncertainty and most likely cause a recession (if not worse).  The United States, given its role in the international economy, tends to share its economic generously, so not good for a smaller country.
  5. Oh, and to underline the first point, a key point of NEVER AGAIN is not just aimed at preventing genocide of the Jews, but opposing movements that aim to threaten minorities in general.  Supporting Trump now would be a betrayal of NEVER AGAIN.  
What about a President Clinton?  I am pretty sure she is not going to have as hostile relationship with Netanyahu as Obama did--that would be hard to achieve.  Otherwise, pretty much more of the same.  Clinton will not throw Israel to the wolves, but she will support the Iran deal.  She will probably not be pleased by yet more settlements in the occupied territories, but she will probably not do much about it.


laderafrutal said...

Well said. You left one out. In one of the debates Trump said he would be "evenheanded" between Israel and the Palestinians and would be sure to make a deal. (He loves making deals, after all.) If a Democrat running for president ever said something like that, imagine how much he'd be excoriated by the Republican pro-Israel crowd. Except for Ted Cruz, I don't think anyone on the right took on Trump for this statement. And there's even a really dumb video circulating this week (by some Canadian journalist) about why Trump is allegedly good for Israel.

Anonymous said...

Since 1968, Democrats haven't been able to exceed 80% of the Jewish vote; they'll finally return (or get very close) to the high water-mark of 90% in November. That, plus Bernie Sanders' new sway in left-wing circles, is a positive development for the party regarding Israel-Palestine issues: it makes it easier for Democrats to thread the needle between pressing the two-state solution while maintaing security agreements/rejecting BDS.

Another silver lining about 2016 is that it has halted Likud's outreach with the GOP. No high-level politician in Israel wants to have "supporting a globally known proto-fascist" on their resume.