Former President Donald Trump recently rebuked Jewish leaders for showing “disloyalty” to him by criticizing his dinner with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and Nick Fuentes. While a former president breaking bread with two notorious individuals who have often gone public with some very nasty comments about Jews is bad enough, his broadside against those speaking up for us went much further.

“How quickly Jewish leaders forgot that I was the best, by far, president for Israel,” Mr. Trump said. “They should be ashamed of themselves. This lack of loyalty to their greatest friends and allies is why large numbers in Congress, and so many others, have stopped giving support for Israel.”


We shouldn’t be surprised that he sees geopolitically sensitive diplomatic moves from his presidency – relocating the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the recognizing Israeli sovereignty of the Golan – in such personal terms. But casting these acts as favors to the Jewish state is fraught with peril. It tells the world, including its antisemites, that Israel got something momentous from the United States that only benefited the Jewish state. Indeed, Trump’s actions broke with decades of American foreign policy.

In fact, the United States has important strategic and tactical interests in a strong, viable, and successful Israel. After being persuaded that they will never be able to make it disappear by force of arms, any number of Arab Middle East states have come to rely on Israel as the key to survival against predatory neighbors. Israel facilitates America’s ability to project its power in that part of the world with far less a footprint than would otherwise be required.

All of this seems to have eluded Trump; and while he may not have caused the current spike in anti-Semitism, he could well have contributed to it. A news report last week noted that, according to the New York Police Department, antisemitic hate crimes across New York City’s five boroughs more than doubled from a year ago this November. In New York City, there are antisemitism-fueled physical assaults on Jews every week. Just the other day a group of Jewish boys was chased by attackers – one firing a taser gun – shouting “Run Jews! Get out of here!” The incident took place in the heart of Jewish Flatbush in Brooklyn. And Jews having their yarmulkes or black hats knocked off their heads are now commonplace.

Whatever one thinks about Trump’s politics or personality, he is clearly a larger than life figure with outsized influence. He should take on the task of countering the ominous emergence of antisemitism as a new normal, not exacerbate a dangerous situation.


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