If polls are correct, Hillary Clinton is heading for victory against Donald Trump in the November 8 U.S. Presidential election, and that is hardly surprising.
Clinton is a centrist with solid centrist policies. She has many years of valuable experience behind her, and even by Trump’s own admission, she is tough. She would be a good president for the USA and a worthy leader of the free world. Trump, on the other hand, has many flaws that would make him a weak and even dangerous President.
Jews are typically educated people who support good government and social justice. They hold these attributes better than the average population in any place where they reside. That is by necessity perhaps, considering that anti-Semites have been trying to kill them all for over 3,000 years. Or maybe it is because Judaism teaches the values of education and fairness. But whatever the reason, the Jews’ higher intellect and developed social conscience are well-known, even by their worst enemies.
So in this U.S. election, it is not surprising that Jews are supporting Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump by a wide margin. As reported in The Times of Israel, “the Israeli public prefers a Hillary Clinton administration over a Donald Trump ticket by an overwhelming tally of 42% to 24%”. Jewish support for Clinton in the United States is even higher at 61% to 19%.
People who rely on evidence and fact-based analysis, which Jews typically do, know that despite the storm of accusations and well-funded attacks against Clinton, very little of it is true. In the end, it all boils down to Clinton having told some fibs and having made some mistakes, but no more than anyone who has held positions of similar importance to the ones she has held. Jews know that politicians, just like everyone else, are not perfect and should not be expected to be. Besides, if imperfections are reasons to not vote for someone, Trump’s list of imperfections is far longer than Clinton’s.
Undoubtedly, Jews have reasons to vote for Trump, but the vast majority of them also know that those reasons are not solid.
Trump promised to scrap the Iran deal that is very unpopular among Jews, especially in Israel, but Jews are not naïve. They know that Trump’s promises have no solid foundation; in fact, one of his own advisors insisted that Trump would do no such thing. If any improvements can be made to the deal and if any additional measures can be taken to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Jews know that Clinton is in a much better position to achieve them, not only because of her knowledge and intellect, but also because of her good relations with both Democratic and Republican representatives.
Jews also could be concerned that Clinton would try to revive peace talks with the Palestinians whereas Trump would likely ignore the issue. But Jews also know that even President Barack Obama, who is more sympathetic to Palestinians than Clinton is, did not impose any solution on Israel. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said that he is ready to discuss peace. It is the Palestinian Authority that has been far more reluctant to engage in peace talks. Talks, even if they are pointless, do not scare Israeli or American Jews. As reported by The Times of Israel, “Most Israelis — of all political persuasions — believe Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will apply greater pressure on Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians than her rival Trump. But they support her over the Republican candidate anyway”.
The Jewish Week summarizes the Jews’ reasons to support Clinton:
This newspaper has not endorsed political candidates in the past. But this election is an exception. It’s not just about politics. It’s about character, competence and compassion. It’s about values that are American, and rooted in the Bible: Seeing all men and women as created in the image of God, having empathy for “the other” among us, recognizing the power of community, building bridges rather than walls.
We endorse Hillary Clinton not only because Donald Trump presents a danger to this country but because we believe she shares that biblical vision and strives for those goals. For the past year we have seen a Trump who believes his own lies, whose campaign is based on instilling fear in Americans, doubling down on divisions among us, describing virtually every aspect of society as broken, corrupt, defeated. He is too self-centered to listen to others, see beyond his own interests, or appreciate the need for self-reflection.
In his long career Trump has embodied only the first half of our sage Hillel’s famous adage: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I?”
We deserve more — for ourselves, and for others.
This election is challenging for many voters, including Jews. Trump offers easy solutions and simplistic answers that play well to game-show audiences while Clinton’s message is nuanced and often complex, just like real life. However, Jews have risen to the challenge and have proven once again that they are head and shoulders above their critics. As someone who has formed many connections and friendships with Jews over the last few years, this fills me with pride.