We are more than half a year removed from the end of the Obama administration, but it seems that editorial policy at the highest levels of Jewish journalism — particularly the Forward’s Jane Eisner and the Jewish Journal’s Rob Eshman—seemingly takes its cues from Ben Rhodes in terms of how to ceaselessly peddle a narrative.
As was noted and explained on this page a few months ago vis-à-vis a certain “memo” to Jewish Trump supporters, Eisner attempted to draw moral equivalences between the Trump administration’s missteps regarding Israeli and Middle East policy—ostensible and otherwise—and the previous administration, admonishing that she wouldn’t “even ask you to imagine your reaction to these events if the president in question were Barack Obama. I won’t even go there”—and, as was shown, did exactly that.
Eshman—or his headline writer—should be given just slightly more credit than Eisner for at least coming right off the bat and declaring there to be “A double standard for Trump on Israel” in bold type. Reading the piece one wonders whether Eshman sincerely believes what he writes, thereby proving himself to be as historilliterate as he imagines Trump to be, or he simply wants to portray Jews to his right as both morally and politically (if not religiously) suspect for their unwillingness to give Obama any credit and failure to vote for Hillary Clinton. Either way, Eshman—like Eisner et al–
First, particularly in terms of getting details of Obama’s ostensible “support” for the Jewish state wrong: crediting him rather than Congress as the driving force behind funding Iron Dome and the $38 Billion aid package is arguable (especially when one considers the extra restrictions added on); Eshman’s assertion that Obama “stood by Israel during the Gaza War” is downright laughable.
Eshman also tries to pretend that no one criticized the “Trump State Department” for the report almost as loudly as they criticized any move by Obama’s State Departments—both under Clinton and Kerry, even if they leave the President’s name out of it, possibly because the State Department is staffed with hard-to-fire holdover career diplomats who likely have as much distaste for the President as they do for the Jewish state. Ostensibly bewildered as to why “Nikki Haley buys Trump all the indulgences he will ever need” (somehow the appointment of David Friedman completely escapes him), Eshman’s willfully ignores the difference in degree and kind regarding the foreign policy approaches of this administration and the last one.
Futhermore, Eshman simply assumes that Trump “reversed himself” by recertifying the Iran deal” it, but if he’d been reading media reports about the White House level discussions, he might have been aware that Trump “wanted to know his options and what would happen if Tillerson didn’t make the announcement” and was “leaning closer to those of his advisers who are pushing him to pull out agreement”, hardly an endorsement of “the agreement that defines Obama’s foreign policy legacy.” Then again, Eshman all but identifies himself as a cheerleader for the JCPOA, so he might be engaging in the same level of deception and disingenuousness as those responsible for its promulgation and implementation.
Even more poignantly, the fact that Eshman might have a point regarding this administration’s “incompeten[ce], unprepared[ness], [being] uninformed and relentless self-concern[ed]” might actually amplify the deliberate policy malevolence of the Obama White House and its diplomatic corps, further underscoring the point that maybe while not true that “Trump can do no wrong”, there is/was a much stronger case to be made for “Obama could do no right”. Anyone with “Israel in their kishkas” knows now that the alternative would have been worse, even if they didn’t necessarily assume so then.
If Eshman and Eisner and their media cohorts actually wanted to provide salient constructive criticism to their coreligionist Trumpers, rather than simply rehashing progressive talking points or gaslighting the kishkas of pro-Israel voters, they simply could have cited “do not put trust in princes” (Psalms 146:3) to make their point. Except that they and their media colleagues HAVE put their trust in “princes”—Obama, Clinton, Kerry, the DNC, the “resistance”, et al.
And that would present a real double standard.