INTO THE FRAY:Trump, Pittsburgh and US Jewry – A view from Israel

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:

Trump, Pittsburgh and US Jewry – A view from Israel

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Trump is the creation of Obama. The divisions in American society he is accused of exacerbating are ones largely precipitated by his predecessor’s policies and prejudices

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):


Several short excerpts:

Why does it seem to a growing number of people that an [Obama] administration professing…to understand Jewish anxieties about the consequences of anti-Semitism in the Middle East does not appear to understand that the way some of its advocates…are framing the Iran-deal fight—as one between Jewish special interests, on the one hand, and the entire rest of the world, on the other—may empower actual anti-Semites not only in the Middle East, but at home as well? – Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, August 11, 2015.

Let’s be quite clear about this. Obama, with extreme irresponsibility, is licensing a new wave of global anti-Semitism. And he knows exactly what he is doing…Greg Sheridan, The Australian, December 27, 2016.

The scathing appraisal of the Obama presidency—echoing the concerns of unequivocally pro-Obama Jeffery Goldberg—was published in Australia’s  biggest-selling national newspaper, and authored by its foreign editor, one of the country’s most influential commentators on international affairs.

My grocery store encounter

The Australian’s Greg Sheridan & The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg

For some reason—probably the overwhelming support of US Jewry for Obama—I was reminded of both these excerpts when, earlier this week, I met a neighbor of mine in our local grocery store…Clearly highly agitated, he approached me as I was leaving the dairy section for the cashier’s till to pay for my purchases—blurting out his shock and dismay at the calls from some of the Jewish community to President Trump not to visit the scene of the gruesome massacre last Sunday in Pittsburgh to pay his respects to the victims—declaring his presence unwelcome.

Unlikely xenophobe

Gina Haspel- First woman director of CIA

Of course, not even the most fervent Trump enthusiasts could claim that he has enhanced the refinement of the political discourse in the US. Indeed, some of his public pronouncements have ranged from the ill-considered to the downright obnoxious. But as regrettable and injudicious as some of his outbursts have been, only a convoluted and partisan interpretation could impart any hint of anti-Semitism to them…When it comes to actions rather than words, none of these seem to corroborate the dark allegations against him.

If anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism

There is a wide body of opinion that plausibly perceives of anti-Zionism as a new mutation of anti-Semitism—with the former substituting the Jewish state for the Jewish people as the focus of Judeophobic animus and Judeocidal action.

Judged by this criterion, it would of course, be preposterous to consider Trump “anti-Semitic”. For, his actions have been hugely supportive of the Jewish state—in the face of withering criticism. As opposed to his predecessor, he has acted with unprecedented resolve against Israel’s enemies.

Disturbing double standard

Trump Withdraws U.S. From Iran Nuclear Deal

But above all, he called out the infamous Iran nuclear deal, brokered by the Obama administration, for the scandalous sham it really was…There thus seems to be a sharp double standard of the Jewish community towards the current President. Indeed, as one White House official muttered bitterly: “We can take justified criticism, but if Obama had transferred the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the American Jewish community would have been united in applauding him!” 

Sadly, it is difficult to disagree.

Damned if he is and damned if he doesn’t

 Indeed, for all his rhetorical shortcomings, Trump’s policies have greatly benefited the very minorities he is accused of despising –with Black and Hispanic unemployment at historic lows…Sadly, it would seem that the President is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. ..After all, just imagine if he had not made the visit to Pittsburgh to pay his respects to the victims. There is little doubt that he would have been accused of anything and everything from crass insensitivity to condoning the atrocity!

Trump is the creation of Obama

In many ways, Trump is the creation of Obama.

The divisions in American society he is accused of exacerbating are ones largely precipitated by his predecessor’s policies and prejudices. By their irrational assault on him, his detractors—including American Jews—are preserving the very fissures they demand he bridge.

US Jewry would do well to remember this –at least that’s what many of us here in the Jewish state think.

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,
Best wishes,

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