Another sudden move by Mr. Trump, and what it means for Israel

Any objective person keeping tabs on Donald Trump’s attitude towards Israel would admit that he has been a friend of the Jewish state. Described by some of his supporters as “the most Pro-Israel president ever,” this isn’t off the mark considering his moving of the U.S embassy to Jerusalem, recogition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and his toughness on the Iran regime. Nevertheless, he has managed to outdo himself and his unpredictability with his most recent removal of U.S Troops from Northwestern Syria. The move itself wasn’t unpredictable; but the suddenness and timing seemed to be out of left field. The removal quickly proved to be a shortsighted, unthoughtful, and amoral escapade that is spelling out disaster for the Kurds, worry for many Israelis, and long held predictions of doom by Trump’s opponents.

Trump’s middle east policy is a batch of inconsistent and impulsive decisions. For his supporters who espouse the “America First” philosophy, the withdrawal of these troops is laudable. But for those of us who are concerned about the future of the region, the events that transpired this past week were disappointing. Trump’s inability to think long term doesn’t seem to bode well for Israel, considering Iran’s aggression in Syria and full support of the Assad regime. Moreover, the looming threat of the re-emergence of ISIS without U.S troops present in the area is another consequence to consider.

At this point in the game, it is crucial to remember who we are dealing with. Donald Trump at his core is an egomaniac. Many of his decisions, even those outside of foreign policy, come back to revolving around his resolute narcissism. There’s no doubt that he has been a friend to Israel, but his policies regarding the Jewish state and the Middle East are convenient for him. They make him look good to his supporters, certainly because some of these policies (moving the embassy and recognizing the Golan) were campaign promises that have been fully realized. So will this spell doom for the state of Israel as it has for the Kurds? Probably not. Israel is capable of defending itself, unlike the Kurds. Trump’s most recent announcement to keep some U.S troops in Syria, close to the Israeli-Syrian border is surely a good sign. Albeit, that decision was also made in part to retain control over oil fields in the area, another convenience for Trump.

As we watch from the sidelines, we must hope that Trump’s future decisions surrounding Israel and the Middle East will continue to align with the Jewish State’s survival and his bizarre and ego-centric personality.

About the Author
Josh Less is a Rabbinical student at the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, CA. His interests range from Middle Eastern History and politics to health and nutrition. He is a lover of Torah, hiking, Israel, and music. He studied International Relations with a focus on the Middle East before pursuing the Rabbinate.
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