Mike Snyder

Israel, be careful what you ‘Trump’ for…

U.S. President Donald Trump on stage at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Hollywood, Florida, on Dec. 2019. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

“I haven’t spoken to him since. F**k him.”

“[Netanyahu] has been hurt very badly because of what’s happened here. He was not prepared. He was not prepared, and Israel was not prepared.”

“Nobody did more for Bibi. And I liked Bibi,” adding: “I still like Bibi. But I also like loyalty.”

“Israel has to get the war in Gaza over ‘fast’ and warns it is ‘losing the PR war.'”

Surprised or not, all these statements above are from former President Donald Trump, expressing his feelings about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu and Israel. We hear much about President Biden’s criticism of Bibi’s policies and the Democratic Party’s constant public disagreements with this Israeli far-right government, but it is also a good reminder that Trump has a similar sentiment.

Understandably, on the surface, Israelis may remember the Trump presidency as very pro-Israel, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and the signing of the Abraham Accords. On the surface, they would be correct. But as we have seen from Trump’s rhetoric post-presidency about Israel or Netanyahu, by just observing Trump, we know he can change his attitude or policy about anything on a dime.

It is no secret that the upcoming presidential election in the United States is between the two most unpopular candidates in US history as well as the two oldest. Criticizing some of the Democratic Party’s rhetoric against Israel during this war is very legitimate, as is embracing some of the Republican Party’s unwavering support for Israel. But let us not pretend Israel is the same place it was back in 2017 to January 2021. Israel’s inner discord is more apparent than it was before, and Israel is in its biggest security crisis since 1973. Neither of these had anything to do with Biden administration policies; rather, Israel is accountable but will inevitably have to be dealt with by either Trump or Biden until January 2029.

Israel is certainly an autonomous country and ultimately will do what it wants within its moral compass for the duration of this war, but undoubtedly any US President has a major influence. Israel is in a crisis, and President Biden’s support for Israel is “ironclad,” which is apparent during this war. This “ironclad” phrase that President Biden uses often is not just a campaign slogan; there is truth behind it. Back when he was known as Joey as a kid, his late father, Joseph Sr., taught him about the horrors of the Holocaust and how the world was silent and complacent. His record of voting for pro-Israel policies as a Senator stretches decades. As Vice President in 2015, he took his granddaughter on a tour to Dachau, Germany, educating the younger generation about the Holocaust much like his father taught him about never forgetting.

President Biden’s run in 2020 was centered around the lack of President Trump’s moral clarity against the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. Chants of “Jews will not replace us” engulfed the crowd in a sight that could have been mistaken for a march in Berlin, Germany in the 1930s. President Trump’s response to this rally was, “There were fine people on both sides,” drawing a moral equivalence between the white supremacist and anti-Semitic gatherers to the counter-protestors calling out their despicable hatred, one of whom was murdered by a car ramming that night. President Biden has made it clear there should never have been any moral equivalence spewed by President Trump after that rally, and President Biden has carried that same clarity, not making any moral equivalence to Israel conducting its war against Hamas.

Consistency and a moral compass are greatly important for Israel from a sitting United States President during a time of war in Israel. This can never be questioned or contingent on the “loyalty” pendulum that former President Trump has and will continue, if re-elected, to base his decisions and policy. This would be inconsistent and even dangerous for Israel’s needs during this war from the President of the US. President Biden’s moral clarity has been once again put to the test and has stayed consistent with his moral compass, condemning pro-Hamas protests that engulfed college campuses in the US in April and May. This clarity was not loyalty contingent; rather, it may have come at the expense of young potential Biden voters in November and may cost him re-election.

During days like these in Israel, we cannot afford to be nostalgic for pre-October 7th and past US presidencies. Times are different, and our current state is not the same as it was in the past. We need an American leader who has been battle-tested and has proven time and time again that he will stand with Israel. President Biden has been that American President and is someone we can continue to trust and count on. He will stand with us even when others will not because he is our American “ironclad.”

About the Author
American/ Israeli third-year student pursuing a BA in Diplomacy and Government at Reichman University. A former IDF combat soldier, now continues to serve as a reservist in the current war in Gaza. Currently, a fellow of the Argov Fellowship in Leadership and Diplomacy.
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