BDS, PC culture and Why Trump is Good for Israel

Donald Trump’s campaign for presidency has evoked strong responses from many who argue that he is a bigoted misogynist who will ruin America. One cannot argue that he is on the threshold of being the Republican nominee and it is specifically this fact, his popularity amongst the electorate that is driving many to criticize him. You can easily see the visceral hatred towards this man simply by scrolling through Facebook. No matter who you are and who you are connected with, someone in your circle is bemoaning the Trump candidacy and denigrating the man. Now, I can understand why those who grumble about Trump do so, the man can be brutal in his criticisms and unapologetically politically incorrect. However, as a Zionist and American-Israeli, I view Trump as the one person who can solve a nagging problem that is plaguing America and affecting the way people see Israel.

One of the fundamental changes to happen to America in recent history has been the rise of the hyper-sensitive culture, specifically on college campuses. The freedoms American’s once had to say what was on their minds are now being stifled on these campuses. So called “safe-spaces” are being established to provide criticism free zones so those who are easily offended can hide from words and opinions that make them feel sad. Movements like Black-Lives-Matter are the new fad, as are BDS rallies and Israel Apartheid Week, the modern incarnations of the ancient Anti-Semitism. What is ironic about all this is that today you can get suspended from college for offending an LGBT person, but if you want to put down the Jews and Israel you will get a permit and usage of the college stadium with the blessing of the administration.

It is no secret that for years, some of the financial aid that the world provides to the Palestinians has made its way to college campuses across America to fund BDS and Israel “delegitimization” campaigns. BDS itself has been called a “political-warfare” campaign waged by Palestinian groups, including the Palestinian Authority leadership who use left-wing organizations on campus as their proxies. The strategy has been working and some might say all too well. According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Israel events on campuses around the U.S. rose by 30% in 2015 with many schools, including UCLA, Stanford and Northwestern passing BDS resolutions last year. This happened despite the growing PC movement meaning being anti-Israel on campus is the politically correct thing to do.

The culture on America’s campus should be of concern to us all. Today’s students will eventually be tomorrow’s leaders and what they experience now will shape their opinions for years to come. The PC culture on campus has gotten so bad that great literary works such as Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, which portrays misogyny and physical abuse, are being removed from required reading lists out of concern it will offend some students. The word ‘microagression’ has sprouted up around colleges to define actions or words that on the surface are not meant to insult but somehow do. Even the president, Barack Obama who is accused of creating this environment has called this “coddling” of student feelings “over the top.” Yet, when it comes to the various anti-Israeli movements and calls for boycotts of our academic institutions and divestment from our corporations, there is no “safe-space” for students who support Israel to retreat to.

So, how does a Donald Trump presidency solve this problem?

As stated above, Trump does not mince words and offending is par for his course. He is an enigma in the U.S. political scene; seemingly gaining strength with statements that most pundits would consider to be gaffe’s that would sink the political careers of anyone else. His call for building a wall on the southern border to stop the flow of illegal immigrants was met with such fury, he was called an anti-Hispanic bigot, and yet he is winning the Latino vote in the primaries even though he is running against two Latino-Americans. The man is making the rules up as he goes along and it is does not seem as his support is waning even slightly.

His policies are vague, seemingly mixing conservative and liberal idioms into his speeches and statements. We know about the wall which Mexico will pay for; we know about the ban on Muslims entering the country; and we know he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare and repeal all of Obama’s executive actions the second he enters the presidency. How will he do this? No one knows, he just will. Seemingly, Donald Trump has struck a nerve with American’s who are tired of the politically correct society that is emerging and it is this fact that will help slow and perhaps stop the anti-Israel activities on American campuses.

Trump is a staunch supporter of Israel, there is no question as to this fact. His daughter Ivanka, who is always by his side during his campaign speeches, is Jewish, having gone through an orthodox conversion in 2009. His ties to the Jewish community go back well before his daughter converted, having been raised in Jamaica Estates in Queens which has a heavy Jewish population. He has stated over and again that he supports Israel and “will fight for Israel 100%, 1000%. It will be there forever.” In January 2016, Trump declared to Wolf Blitzer that one of the first things he will do as President is move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since congress passed a law in 1995 effectively authorizing that move, Clinton, Bush and Obama exercised their waiver so as not to declare Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel – Trump will do it.

As a businessman, Trump has no tolerance for financial waste and he will seek to cut wasteful spending in government. Much of this waste goes towards higher education in the form of grants awarded to student organizations on campus. The U.S. government unwittingly funds many of the associations that call for BDS and actively seek to delegitimize Israel. While the grants are given under the guise of something less contentious, they do help pay for the protests and flyers and posters that sprout up around campus. Yes, much of the money spent on BDS and other anti-Israel activities comes from abroad, comes from the money sent to help build roads and infrastructure in the Palestinian territories, but money also comes from the U.S. taxpayers. Trump will stop this, not because it is being used for nefarious reasons, but because it is just wasteful spending.

The election of the businessman from New York will be a good thing for Israel, and in my opinion it will be a good thing for America. Just because we might disagree with someone, does not make them wrong. Donald Trump might say things that make people cringe; however, it is obvious from his support that people are cringing at how he says it, not what he is saying.

About the Author
Jay Engelmayer is a 47 year old husband and father of four. Professionally his focus has been digital marketing and business development for commercial products. A proud and unapologetic American-Israeli Zionist, he enjoys cooking and yelling at television screens. Some consider him argumentative in nature, although he prefers "purposeful cynic" when describing his disposition. Living in Israel, he hails from New York City and is glad he left before it became the 1970's redux it is today.
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