A Trump victory: The worst thing for Israel right now

November is speeding towards us, and as election campaigns and preliminary polling ramps up, the redo Biden-Trump run-off is set to be determined by only a few states. With razor thin margins, there’s a good chance that Trump will take the cake and the next four years will be spent making America great again. As an Israeli, I often hear subtle rejoice in people’s voices when speaking about Trump a “but he’s good for Israel” quip. But is he?

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Trump supported Israel in his last presidency with his most public display of support being the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem. This move however was hotly disputed and viewed as instigative and unnecessarily risky; there were credible fears that it would cause chaos and strife. As we all know, this did not happen. Not because the Trump administration took measures to prevent, mitigate, or avoid these risks; they simply got lucky. By November, even if we aren’t still in a war, we will be on too shaky ground for uncalculated risks.

More importantly however, the Trump that left office in 2020 is not the Trump we are facing today. Rather, the America of 2020 is not the America we are facing today. Both candidates are catering to a different political landscape than that of the previous race. As the landscape ebbs and flows, each candidate contorts to best adapt to reach the farthest votes. This being the case, Israel cannot expect that Trump will fulfill the same role that he did in the last administration. During the war, Trump has already come out with comments that have been critical, impulsive, and inconsistent. Whether this foreshadows the Trump 2024 administration or is a shallow critique of the Biden administration is still to be decided.

We can’t stick our head in the sand on this one: Israel needs America. Ignoring America’s massive assistance, both on a tangible monetary level and a globally influential level, could lead to decisions that will erode this partnership. Going forward, if Israel wants to, or is able to, change the nature of this partnership it is our prerogative. Right now, however, we need to accept the terms and recognize that we need to keep America on our side. Either candidate’s victory leaves about half of the US unhappy. While both are divisive forces, Trump is also a destructive force. Trump plays an active role in breaking down America’s democratic infrastructure. Not to mention, social conflict and violence spiked under his last presidency.

We could, naively, claim that America’s problems and pain points are not of Israeli national interest. This could not be farther from the truth. A cornerstone of the Trump camp is the “America First” approach; watching out for their own before others. Trump in recent months has expressed disregard and disrespect towards mutual defense agreements – NATO. Some have viewed his statements as provocations and even encouragement to Putin. The “America first” perspective serves to relinquish him of contractual obligations. If this is his approach to a contractual agreement, who’s to say his military support for Israel will continue?

Of course, Biden is by no means Israel’s knight in shining armor. Though Biden’s support during the war has been impressive both in extent, duration, and publicity, we see his stance shifting. The Democratic voter base has been displeased, to say the least, about how Biden has addressed the Israel-Hamas war. With November around the bend, Biden needs to round up as many votes in his camp as he possibly can. Even without the polarization around the war, this election was poised to be a tight one. Michigan’s primaries demonstrated a clear threat to Democratic victory. Raised stakes in November will hopefully shake protest voters into reality, but there is no guarantee.

This dissatisfaction will not expire in November. The American public at large, though still supporting Israel, is growing more critical. American perspective and understanding of this war are removed and algorithmically curated, yet their voices and opinions ripple through the policies and aid packages that we, in Israel, ultimately face.

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If Trump were elected president, regardless of the stance he takes, it is our responsibility as Israelis to come out of the four-year term being a country that Americans still stand with. The current administration in Israel has let their hubris interfere with long term diplomatic strategy. We cannot take America’s support for granted or expect it to continue simply because it always has. Right now, Israel needs to make sure it’s a cause worth voting for.

Trump is not perfect and neither is Biden. And neither are we.

America and Israel stand together because they share values. The contracts are surface level, the bond is value based. Continuing this joint legacy requires both countries to do their part.

About the Author
Maya is a business administration and economics student at Reichman University. She is also a fellow in the Argov Fellows program for leadership and diplomacy where she partakes in discussions with industry and political leaders. Maya has a background in the fin-tech industry as well as personal financial literacy. Maya is originally from the US and made Aliyah several years ago.
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