Debunking the Myth that Donald Trump is More “Pro-Israel” than Barack Obama

Barack Obama is more “pro-Israel” than Donald Trump.  Yes, you read correctly.

If true, that Obama is more “pro-Israel” than Trump, why would so many Israel-conscious voters cite Trump’s “pro-Israel” policies as justification to capitulate all moral clout to a man they claim to be the “most pro-Israel President ever?” More astonishingly, how do they have the nerve to call President Barack Obama “anti-Israel” and “anti-Semitic?”

It’s quite simple if you ask them.

They’ll tell you that…

President Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem.  Obama did not.

President Trump closed the PLO office in DC and cut off its humanitarian aid.  Obama did not.President Trump pulled out of the Iran deal.  Obama created it.

President Trump turns a blind eye to settlement expansion.  Obama did not

President Trump recognized Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan Heights.  Obama did not.

President Trump protected Israel at all costs at the UN.  Obama did not

Oh, and did I forget? Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem.

Don’t get me wrong, these aforementioned actions of the president are certainly in the interest of the current Netanyahu government and both, Trump’s and Netanyahu’s, bid for reelection.  But are they really “pro-Israel” actions, or are they just short term symbolic political wins?

Pro-Israel

In my view, being pro-Israel means that you believe the State of Israel has the right to exist as it defines itself.  It means that you agree with the fundamental principles stated in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. It means that you are committed to Israel’s security and protection from its enemies.  And — somehow far more controversially — being pro-Israel means that you believe it is not the destiny of the Zionist project to occupy, control, and reign over the lives of others forever.

Security

On matters of security, Obama’s record is unmatched.  In a speech in 2012, then-defense minister Ehud Barak highlighted that the “The security ties between us and the current administration (Obama) are at the highest level they have ever been.”  Further, Dennis Ross, who served as a special assistant to president Obama, stressed in his book, Doomed to Succeed, that he “had no doubt that he (Obama) was genuinely committed to Israeli security”  In an interview in 2014, Obama, in his own words affirmed that “The US commitment to Israel’s security is not subject to periodic policy differences. That’s a rock-solid commitment and it’s one that I have upheld throughout my tenure”  Are the words of Ehud Barak, Dennis Ross, and Obama himself merely “alternative facts?”  Let’s take a look: President Obama supported a 38$ billion dollar military aid agreement over 10 years, enforcing Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge; Obama agreed to give Israel 14 F-35 fighter jets; Obama agreed to provide Israel with Bunker-busting bombs (an act that even President Bush refused to do); and Obama led the charge in funding the Iron Dome, Israel’s highly effective missile prevention system.  In an interview with Haaretz, then-IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot submitted that in regard to the highly contested Iran Deal, “the agreement, with all its faults, is working and is putting off realization of the Iranian nuclear vision by 10 to 15 years.”  Moreover, just last week, Antony Blinken NSA advisor to Vice President Biden, in response to Mort Klein, President of the ZOA, questioning Obama’s concern for Israel, relayed a specific instance in which Obama’s care for Israeli security was on full display: “Amb. Dermer asked to see me late one night at White House in the midst of 2014 Gaza crisis. Israel urgently needed more Iron Dome interceptors. I related to Pres Obama next morning. His response: Get it done. We secured $250 million from Congress 3 days later.”   Would an “Israel-hating anti-Semite” provide support like this? The facts speak for themselves; regardless of any policy difference, Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security was ironclad.

Jewish and Democratic

A genuine friend of Israel will put Israel’s security above all else.    However, supporting Israel means more than just military and financial backing.  So why let your greatest ally engage in reckless policy? The answer is, you don’t.  And Barack Obama didn’t. According to Gill Getz, an Israeli media person who attended an Obama speech in an N.Y.C. synagogue in 2017, “(Obama)was visibly frustrated when he spoke about the settlements. His main message was that being a true friend to Israel means not only giving it military and security backing but also speaking honestly about how the building in the settlements endangered Israel and hurt its’ vision as a Jewish and democratic state.”   Obama understood this. Trump does not. If leading Israel down a path to one-state, an act Ehud Barak describes to be one that  “will lead to an Arab majority and a prolonged civil war, or, alternatively, an apartheid state steeped in violence and facing an ongoing threat of collapse”  is your vision for Israel, then Trump is your guy. However, if you seek a Jewish and Democratic Israel, which ensures “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex” you will acknowledge the wisdom of Obama’s policy towards Israel.

Bi-Partisanship

Donald Trump cares about one thing, and one thing only: himself.  So If you think Donald Trump “loves” Israel, you are sorely mistaken.  Trump cares for himself and his re-election and is willing to do whatever it takes. In an effort to “to weaponize the issue of Israel in America’s partisan political wars,” in the words of Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, Trump has labeled- absurdly- the Democratic party “anti-Jewish” and “anti- Israel.” Aside from the fact that such an assertion is completely unfounded, a man that has labeled Neo-Nazis “very fine people” and liberal Jews “disloyal”, is probably not the best person to be commenting on anti-Semitism. Thomas Friedman in his recent New York Times column warned that “Few things are more dangerous to Israel’s long-term interests than its becoming a partisan matter in America, which is Israel’s vital political, military and economic backer in the world.”  I say, Mr. President, stop using Israel as your political pawn. If you genuinely care-as your supporters say you do-you will realize that your efforts to make Israel a wedge issue in American politics make her more vulnerable.

In an article entitled “Trump Is Bad for Israel,” Bret Stephens of the New York Times noted that President Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem was “mostly a matter of symbolism,” like everything in the Trump-Netanyahu era-I might add-where short-term political gain supersedes all.  I hope to see the day where those who claim to be “pro-Israel” will finally realize that Donald Trump is using Israel as a political pawn.  He cares zero about Jewish self-determination or the strength of Israeli democracy.  And I hope one day “pro-Israel” voters will see what is right before their eyes: President Obama, in the words of the late Shimon Peres,  “is a friend of the Jewish people and the state of Israel and there is no doubt in this matter.”

About the Author
Elie Jarashow is a graduate of the Jewish Week Write on for Israel program. He also has served as research assistant to Peter Beinart, columnist for the Atlantic and a CNN contributor. He was raised in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Elie will be attending Yeshiva University following his upcoming gap year at Yeshivat Orayta in Israel.
Related Topics
Related Posts
Comments