Donald Trump’s website mentions only two foreign countries by name: in its Positions section it deals with “Reforming The US-China Trade Relationship To Make America Great Again,” and in its Issues section, which is a series of videos with the candidate spending about a minute speaking forcefully on the issues, the one country that’s mentioned as an “issue” is, you guessed, Israel.
Should Israelis and US Jews be concerned that the Jewish State is so clearly a burning issue for Trump? Not if you believe the opening, where Trump straightens his gaze at the camera and declares, “I love Israel, I’m very pro-Israel.” He hasn’t said it about any other country in quite this total fashion.
But what to Trump is the Israel issue begins and ends with what he considered, back in March, when he shot this video, a challenge to his skills as negotiator. You can be a Trump supporter and still be perplexed by the amount of personal prestige the candidate has invested in being that one American president who finally brought peace to “Israel and the Palestinians.”
“Trump is plainly the best bet for the Jews,” Seth Lipsky wrote in the NY Post Wednesday, citing neoconservative Norman Podhoretz, who berated Hillary for the 2012 rejection by the Democratic convention of restoring both God and Jerusalem to the DNC platform.
True enough, but Trump was booed at his AIPAC appearance last December when he, too, refused to commit to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.
“Trump’s also the candidate siding with religious Americans whose rights are in jeopardy from the proliferating series of laws and court rulings in which religious persons are being asked to bow to a liberalism hostile to religious law,” Lipsky argued.
But religious Jews are not under attack by the liberal government anywhere in America: unlike in Europe, Jewish rituals are not under attack anywhere, with the possible exception of the Bay area; why even the latest NYC policy on oral suction in circumcision is restricted to educational pamphlets, rather than court orders.
The problem with Trump regarding Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (and, possibly, eastern Jerusalem) is the candidate’s eagerness to make a difference in the age old Israeli-Arab conflict.
Here is what Trump said on tape in March, which the campaign has chosen to keep up there as one of his key concerns:
“I would love to see a deal be made between Israel and the Palestinians. It’s probably the hardest negotiation there is. Great negotiators have tried and they failed. It’s just so deep seated, the hatred, the level of distrust.
“But I’m going to give it an awfully good shot. I want to remain as neutral as possible, because if you’re not somewhat neutral the other side is never going to do it.
“But just remember, Israel, I love you, we’re gonna’ see if we can get something done, it has to be done for both sides, it cannot continue to be the way it is. Let’s see what we can negotiate, let’s see if it can be done.”
Does the last paragraph strike you as something you might tell your child before taking him for his booster shots? It’ll hurt, for sure, but remember, Daddy loves you very much and when the doctor is done poking you Daddy will buy you an ice cream cone.
There’s no doubt that presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is easily as worrisome when it comes to Israel. She is surrounded by anti-Israel advisors, one of whom is a radical Muslim. It is a tough call to make — which Roman emperor will bring more trouble to tiny little Judea: Hillary, who might end up just talking the talk but avoid the actual walk; or Trump, who might just, God forbid, decide to test his skills — and then what would Israel do when the Arabs agree to some of his proposals and a victorious Trump turns to Netanyahu and says, Brother, I got you a great deal, just hand over control of eastern Jerusalem and take the Jews out of the “territories.”
We welcome a civilized discussion of the concerns raised in this article.