AS I SEE IT: How the monstering of Donald Trump has confused the Jews

Everyone should calm down and stop jumping to conclusions with every phone call, visit or remark.


Donald Trump

President Donald Trump continues to be the focus of confusion and division, not least within the Jewish world.

At first he was hailed as massively pro-Israel. He said he was opposed to the Iran deal and Israel’s treatment by the UN, promised to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and appointed as US ambassador a bullish supporter of the settlers. Jews on the Right were thrilled, Jews on the Left were dismayed.

But then he invited Mahmoud Abbas to the White House and sent his envoy Jason Greenblatt to make nice with him in Ramallah, asked Benjamin Netanyahu to hold back on settlement building and back-pedaled on moving the embassy. Jews on the Right are now dismayed, Jews on the Left are thrilled.

Everyone should calm down and stop jumping to conclusions with every phone call, visit or remark. We don’t know if Trump is proceeding toward yet another Middle East foreign policy car crash or a genius deal.

A much bigger picture may be in play, involving unprecedented opportunities arising from the political earthquake going on in the Arab world over the threat from Iran. This picture may not become clear for some time, and the signals along the way may be opaque or even deliberately confusing.

There are deeper worries about Trump, though, within the Jewish world. Across the political spectrum Jews are fretting that either he himself harbors anti-Jewish feelings or at the very least has empowered those who have them.

The examples supposedly backing up this preposterous claim, however, don’t stack up at all.

Take the notorious omission of Jewish victims from the White House statement marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. Officials were further excoriated when they said this was deliberate because they wanted to be “inclusive” of all who suffered under the Nazis. It was also reported that team Trump had stripped all references to Jews from an initial State Department draft.

Omitting Jews from the Holocaust statement was indeed wrong. But there’s a widespread liberal approach which similarly downplays Jewish victimization in the Holocaust in order to be “inclusive.”

Indeed Hillary Clinton, when secretary of state, issued a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day 2013 which made no mention whatever of Jews or antisemitism.

What’s more, a White House official said the Trump team hadn’t even seen the State draft before publishing its own.

Further proof of Trump’s anti-Jewish mindset was supposedly provided by his reported speculation, when asked about the wave of bomb threats to US Jewish centers, that rather than assuming all these to be antisemitic incidents “sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people – or to make others – look bad.”

Cue hysteria over “reverse,” by which he was said to mean Jews themselves had invented these threats in line with the classic antisemitic trope that the Jews fabricate attacks on themselves to manipulate public sympathy.

Seldom has one word been invested with so much inappropriate significance. For sure, Trump hardly helps himself. He speaks loosely and inaccurately. He thinks (and tweets) from his gut. He appears emotional, self-absorbed and impulsive. He shoots his mouth off over something he’s seen or heard on TV or talk radio which as often as not turns out to be false. All this is alarming and indefensible.

It was, however, clear from the context that by “reverse” he was suggesting these might be “false flag” attacks by unspecified enemies carried out to damage him. Rightly or wrongly, Trump believes his enemies mounted such attacks at his rallies to smear him with the taint of violence. That, not an anti-Jewish canard, was obviously what was in his mind.

Many, though, just won’t accept this. Their view of the president has been indelibly framed by the onslaught of distortion, fabrication, selective reporting, double standards, wrenching out of context and character assassination by association hurled against him by the mainstream media.

This is all having a distressing effect on American Jews.

They are no longer just divided between Left and Right.

There’s now a further rancorous division between conservative Jews who believe Trump will be the saving of Israel and the West, and conservative Jews who believe he will be a catastrophe for the Jews and America.

In part, the latter comes from an aesthetic distaste for Trump’s crude and boorish public persona. More seriously, it reflects concern about his apparently tenuous relationship with the truth.

At a deeper level still, it also surely reflects the profound fissure within conservatism itself. For decades, progressives have rejected Western national identity and values as a form of white racism and cultural oppression.

Many conservatives bought into much of this onslaught, usually without realizing it.

That’s why millions in the West have felt so disenfranchised; and why conservatives no less than liberals were so astonished by both Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump. Both these phenomena expressed the urgent wish of the people to defend the identity, culture and democratic accountability of Western nations against the attempt to destroy them.

Yet this reasonable, even admirable impulse has been vilified as racism not just by the Left but also by mainstream conservatives – amongst whom are many anti- Trump Jews. That’s why Trump’s philosopher-strategist Steve Bannon, who is driven by the desire to restore Western national identity based on Judeo-Christian values, has been smeared and defamed as a “white nationalist.”

Yet it’s also why ultimately Donald Trump, despite his manifold flaws, is a true ally of the Jewish people. It’s a great pity so many Jews don’t see it.

Melanie Phillips is a columnist for The Times (UK).

March 17, 2017 | 10 Comments » | 69 views

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10 Comments / 10 Comments

  1. All things considered, I’m a Jew on the hardest right. For which the National Rifle Association owes me more thank-yous than anyone could shoot down even with a 30-round Thompson submachine gun, Model M1A1.

    How this fits my model of right-wing Jewish American relationships with President Trump to be the President of the United States of Americas that my wife and I voted for, is that we wanted — and still want — the USA to be the fully independent country that Jefferson, Washington and all the other founding fathers memorialized by downtown street names in every big city of America.

    And to the same extent and for the same reasons, we want the State of Israel to be fully independent of the rest of the world, including the United States of America.

    That means the government of the USA should be fully empowered to determine which peoples from among whom we will allow immigration, and for whatever reasons the leadership of our country sees fit.

    That also means that the State of Israel has the right — and the practical necessity — to expand Jewish settlements throughout the ancient Jewish territories of Shomron and Yehuda — irrespective of whatever the foreign ministries of any and all other countries may think about that.

    And unless and until the State of Israel has the fortitude and more importantly the foresight to practice that policy, the State of Israel can never and shall never be independent.

    Think it over.

    Arnold Harris, Outspeaker

  2. @ ArnoldHarris:
    Two Things: One you are correct the government of Israel is derelict in simply not acting independently and saying clearly we do not intend to allow a terror state to arise in our midst. That a Pal States main goal would be to destroy Israel and not live by side in peace and that we have a right to Judah/Samaria.

    Second though Trump has been told by many of his advisors that a Pal State is not feasible and that a negotiated true peace is not possible. He has ignored this and stated it may be difficult but it is possible. All White House occupants have egos at least as big as the size D.C., including Trump.

    Trump is not helping by trying to extend the negotiation cycle to nowhere. This slows down the pursuit of a viable paradigm to bring long term peace and stability to Israel.

    Trumps tone is way better towards Israel and the UN Ambassador is certainly a major improvement. Jason Greenblatt must feel very awkward trying to tell Israel not to build settlements as he believes in building Judah/Samaria for Jews.

  3. you better believe hes an ally ……… I really dont care what the libturdians think

  4. Fine attempt to describe the mishegoss that is now ‘American Jewry’, except to note that what remains of the pro-Israel democratic Party has decided to draw their red line in support of the Two-State Solution.

    Good thing that North Korea just got the ‘this (diplomacy & aid$) has not worked for 20 years, time to try something different’ today.

  5. @ Bear Klein:
    You have either missed my main point or are purposely evading it. I want a truly independent, truly sovereign, and truly Jewish nationalist State of Israel. That means a State of Israel which never, ever asks permission of the United States of the United States of America before authorizing construction of Jewish housing, Jewish-owned factories, exclusively Jewish populated villages and full-scale Jewish-controlled cities across the whole of Eretz-Yisrael, and especially all parts of Shomron and Yehuda.

    Moreover, I want the Knesset to be reorganized as a Jews-only elected body, as the central government of the Jewish nation and none other. I am no more interested in democracy than I would have been interested in any other aspect of ancient Greece or their way of life. In any case, it wasn’t Athens that saved their country from conquest by Persia’s Xerxes. The credit for that must be ascribed to King Leonidas and his 300 truly immortal Spartans who fought them to a standstill at Thermopylae Pass.

    I am a Jew born and raised in a largely non-Jewish country. As such, I care very much about who runs this country and how they do it. But because I am a Jewish nationalist as well as an American nationalist, I want a Jewish nationalist State of Israel whose leadership shall never be answerable to any or all goyim. And that includes my fellow American goyim.

    Do I make myself totally clear in regard to the issues described here? I certainly hope so. Because I am not interested in winning friends or influencing people. So I never tip-toe dance around issues, but meet them head on.

    HaShem willing, one day we will have a strong, totally-independent Jewish nation, one that has no relations with anybody or anything outside our particular and specific Jewish nation and Jewish world.

    Arnold Harris, Outpeaker

  6. To Arnold Harris,
    kudos to you for speaking up!
    Just to comment upon your last paragraph of response/letter- I don’t think you meant, “…totally-independent Jewish nation, one that has no relations with anybody or anything outside our particular and specific Jewish nation and Jewish world.”

    The Jewish nation has a track record of helping many terror-struck (natural disaster or otherwise) nations, assisting with their agriculture, and in general, being a light unto the world; be it in irrigation, medicine, or high-tech.

    Our goal is not “no relations”, but to be independent, non-reliant on outside influences to establish our own fate! But to continue to aide and benefit from business alliances and global developments- but without cow-towing to misguided ideologies, commonly spouted by our non-friends in Europe and much of the irreparably liberal US.

  7. @ Bear Klein:
    We, the Jews, are the Jewish nation.

    Israel is — or at least was intended to be — the sovereign state established for exclusive use of and control by the Jewish nation.

    People often mix up the terms “nation” and “state”. But I’m reasonably certain you know the fine points differentiating them, and that you support the concept I laid out.

    Arnold Harris, Outspeaker

  8. @ Deborah Blumenthal:
    1) Speaking up is why folks I know started calling me “the outspeaker”. Now I consider it a title honestly earned.

    2) You’re probably right about that second paragraph. I got carried away. Kowtowing bespeaks failure to assert national independence. And, in any case, when Jews expect something in return for all the international degradation, all that results is what you could truly call cow-towing. Against the will of the cows.

    Arnold Harris, Outspeaker

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