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Monday, 7 March 2016

Jews Don’t Know What to Think About Donald Trump

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[Ed. note – Is Donald Trump “good for the Jews” or not? There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on that question. Below are two opposing arguments, one from Tablet Magazine, the other (the pro-Trump position) put forth by  Israel Hayom, Sheldon Adelson’s rag. There is also a Jews for Trump Facebook page, and you most likely by now have heard about the silly anti-Trump tirade of Jewish comedian Louis C.K. But, of course, it isn’t only Jews. Republican bigwigs like House Speaker Paul Ryan hate Trump with a passion, while Sarah Palin is an ardent Trump supporter. And even on the liberal-left, the jury is split. Many liberals are aghast at Trump’s position on immigration, while others, such as Paul Krugman, have voiced approval at his position on economic issues, including his willingness to tax the rich.
And despite his comments on Muslims, Trump even has Muslim supporters. The candidate garnered 7 percent support in a poll of US Muslims conducted by the Council for American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. The poll attempted to gauge Muslim support for candidates from both parties. Trump finished third–behind Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. One Muslim who supports the real estate tycoon is Sabah Ahmed, who admires Trump for his anti-establishment views as well as his business acumen. “He has worked with Muslims all his life, and he has properties all over the Middle East, despite [his] anti-Muslim rhetoric, and many business dealings with our constituency and knows we’re good people,” said Ahmed.
Trump, then, seems to have a unique talent for tapping into widespread public anger and discontent, while at the same time making himself appear to be all things to all people. He is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, and in that sense he may be, though a political outsider, the shrewdest politician to have come down the pike in a long time.]
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Donald Trump, Human BDS
By Liel Leibovitz | Tablet
If you want to understand the ascent of Donald John Trump, consider the BDS movement.
Factually, of course, they’ve little in common. But facts don’t matter here because facts don’t always make sense. Factually, it’s as hard to understand why any serious person would advocate sanctions against one nation while condoning far worse offenses in others, as it is to imagine the Mexican government paying for a wall between itself and its neighbor to the north. It’s 2016, and facts, sadly, hold as much currency as a Jeb! campaign button. Only emotions matter now. And emotionally, you can learn everything you need to know about Trump’s rise by observing the mechanics of organized Israel-hating.
Both BDS and Trumpism are movements predicated on petulance. Both begin with a similar rejection of politics—which is the craft of compromise, the art of building frail coalitions, and the practice of learning to live with the occasional defeat—and both offer a chauvinistic, borderline hysterical, mindless reaction: divide the world into us and them. Wage total war. Bully anyone susceptible to bullying. When you get called out, claim you’re a victim.
Like Israel’s supporters, Trump’s opponents tried to answer tirades with facts. They pointed out inconsistencies and lies, cracked sophisticated jokes, and watched, baffled, as the mad mob continued to grow. And while BDS, thankfully, isn’t nearly as trenchant as Trump seems at the moment, it draws its adherents from the same murky waters the bloated billionaire draws his: the childish and the entitled, the peddlers of identity politics, the fools who howl much and do little.
Observers of both movements frequently try to offer, if not excuses, at least plausible explanations for their growth. Sure, they’d say, BDS is morally repugnant, but can you really blame those activists who are so frustrated with Israel’s political recalcitrance as to resort to such desperate measures? Of course, Trump is odious, but can’t you understand his appeal to those working-class folks left behind by a tiding plutocratic economy they can no longer understand and from which they no longer gain?
The answer, in both cases, must be the same: No.
No, because while these explanations may be salient, they don’t matter. Whatever Trump’s supporters feel, they’ve a duty to consider their civic responsibilities and resist juvenile urges like stickin’ it to the man or tellin’ it like it is or votin’ for the funny and outrageous dude. If they fail this basic duty—and, by failing, shatter the solid democratic ground upon which The United States of Amera has stood for 240 years—they can hardly complain about whatever disasters come rushing down on their heads as a result. The same is true for the BDS crowd.
Our fight isn’t political our ideological. It’s more basic than that. It’s foundational, and it’s being waged right now between self-centered children—who would like to redress their grievances by burning everything they don’t like to a crisp—and weary adults—on the left and on the right, critical of Israel and supportive of it, fiscal conservatives and welfare state adherents, giddy atheists and worshipful believers—who are still standing with their fingers in the cracked dam, and doing their best to keep the flood from coming. God help us all if the grown-ups lose.
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‘If I Win, I Will Be Israel’s True Friend in the White House’
By Boaz Bismuth | Israel Hayom
Everything has already been said about the stand-out Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — that the Republican establishment is wary of him, that he intentionally makes provocative declarations, that in the grand scheme of the 2016 election he is nothing more than a passing fad, that he will ultimately fail. So what? In the meantime, the billionaire from New York has won three consecutive primaries and managed to draw support from almost every sector, making him the race’s hottest commodity.
Last December, I met with Trump in Las Vegas just before the Republican debate there. In that interview, he leveled some harsh criticism at incumbent President Barack Obama, made a great deal of promises regarding what he would do if he entered the White House and showed quite a bit of love for Israel. This week, after his big victory in Nevada, I sat him down for another interview.
Q: Mr. Trump, yesterday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tried to question your support for Israel. How is his commitment to Israel stronger than yours?
“My friendship with Israel is stronger than any other candidate’s. I want to make one thing clear: I want to strike a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It is what I aspire to do. Peace is possible, even if it is the most difficult agreement to achieve. As far as I understand, Israel is also interested in a peace deal. I’m not saying I’ll succeed, or even that an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is within reach, but I want to try. But in order for an agreement to happen, the Palestinians need to show interest. It’s a little difficult to reach an agreement when the other side doesn’t really want to talk to you.
“Don’t get confused there in Israel: I am currently your biggest friend. My daughter is married to a Jew who is an enthusiastic Israel supporter, and I have taken part in many Israel Day parades. My friendship with Israel is very strong.”
Q: This week you spoke very negatively about the Iran nuclear deal. You even said that in some cases, violating deals is permissible.
“This deal was the worst deal that Israel could have gotten. Think about it: Beyond the deal itself, Iran also received $150 billion. And to think that they signed that deal without discussing it with Israel! As far as I’m concerned, this deal is the worst thing that ever happened to Israel. There is a clause in it that stipulates protecting Iran’s nuclear facilities should they come under attack. You have to read it to believe it. It may very well be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t understand what it means, that America will attack Israel if Israel attacks Iran? That’s ridiculous.”
Q: Many presidents have promised to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. What is your position on the issue?
“I can only say that I like the idea.”
Q: I’ve been covering the U.S. elections for many years now. The pundits said that you wouldn’t run, then they said that you would crash and burn, then they said that the voters wouldn’t vote the way they said they would in the polls. In reality, you are crushing everyone. Let’s play the pundit for a moment — explain the Trump phenomenon to me.
“The pundits misread the intense anger that exists in the U.S. today. No one foresaw the anger of the American people — toward the administration, toward the bad deals that the U.S. has signed, like the trade agreements and the Iran nuclear deal. What do you think? That the American people liked the deal? The deal with Iran is also one of the reasons for the great anger that exists in the U.S. today. It was a terrible mistake. And look at the way the administration is handling the military: We are not winning any wars. America is not winning, and America always needs to win. It is important for America, and it is important for the world.
“President Obama isn’t good. For Israel, he has been the worst president in history. Look at how frustrated Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu was every time he visited Washington. All of Netanyahu’s claims are correct; he is 100% right. Is this any way to treat our friends? I will make sure that changes.”
Q: Am I speaking with the next president of the United States?
“There is still a long way to go, but we are on the right track. If I make it to the White House, you will have a true friend there.”
Q: Thank you for the interview, Mr. Trump.
“Shalom.”
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[Additional ed. note – Obviously, one can’t go on being “all things to all people” forever, and when and if Trump does get elected, the genuine texture and substance will emerge from the enigma. In the meantime, though, the media in all likelihood will go on with their attacks–but in a country in which trust in the media is at an historical low, that too could work in Trump’s favor. ]
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