Jeffrey Kass

Israel is lucky that Trump isn’t president

Image: Shutterstock/noamgalai -Washington DC, USA - September 15, 2020: Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, and Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan attend the Abraham Accords ceremony in The White House.
Image: Shutterstock/noamgalai -Washington DC, USA - September 15, 2020: Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, and Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan attend the Abraham Accords ceremony in The White House.

While supporters of Israel can debate what’s good and bad for the country, there’s little denying that as president, Donald Trump stood up for Israel like no one since President Truman recognized its independence in 1948.

President Trump demanded that the United Nations end, and stop funding, its wildly disproportionate negative treatment of Israel while ignoring atrocities across the globe.

He brokered normalization agreements between Israel and United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, the first three of which have resulted in significant trade, diplomacy, military cooperation, cultural exchange and many Jewish-Muslim friendships and partnerships. And he moved the ball forward on additional future agreements with Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Oman and other countries.

Every president since Ronald Reagan promised to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, but Trump actually did it. And US citizens born in Jerusalem were finally able to list Israel as their birthplace.

Trump recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

He re-imposed and added restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, sanctioned Iran and blocked activities and money transfers to Iranian terrorists.

In 2019, he issued the strongest-ever executive order on combatting antisemitism.

For some Jews, Israelis and Americans alike, Trump was the best champion the Jews or Israel ever had.

But we’d be naïve if we ignored the fact that having Trump in your corner comes with over-the-weight-limit xenophobic, amoral and anti-democratic baggage.

It’s not just what some Trump apologists describe as his so-called distasteful personality, including calling women “fat pigs,” name-calling political opponents (he referred to Jewish Rep. Adam Schiff as Adam Shit), cheating on his wife while she was pregnant, paying off a porn star to keep quiet about their sexcapades, and even calling for the execution of a former military chief who said bad things about Trump.

And it isn’t just how he taught children that empathy is for losers, that mocking the disabled is ok.  Not to ever apologize or take responsibility. That bullying is cool. That reading is a waste of time, science is stupid, and mocking dead people is acceptable. To take credit when no credit is due, and to blame others for anything bad no matter what.

Nor is it that Trump even today continues to lie about the election results, even though his own attorney general and vice president told him otherwise, and despite being prosecuted in multiple courts for his efforts to overturn the election.

The baggage Trump carries isn’t only his celebration and encouragement of the rioters and insurrectionists on January 6.

Or that more Trump administration officials were convicted of corruption and other charges than any other administration in American history. Even Nixon can’t hold a candle to Trump.

All that would be enough to question whether that’s who you want as your champion.

But the worst of Trump’s bad behavior wasn’t his lying and cheating. It was his racism.

Presidential historian Jon Meacham described Trump’s level of racism:

“What the president’s done here is yet again, because I think he did it after Charlottesville, and I think he did it frankly when he was pushing the birther lie about President Obama, is he has joined Andrew Johnson as the most racist president in American history.”

Trump didn’t even try to hide is racism.

He habitually gave the presidential nod to white supremacists — from his “there are good people on both sides” comment about a Nazi march and counter-protest, to inviting known white supremacists to Mar-A-Lago, to including in his administration racists such as Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon and others who regularly attended far-right-extremist conferences.

This, followed by his incessant refusal to denounce white supremacists. He couldn’t even condemn David Duke, oddly claiming he didn’t know who he is. We all know who David Duke is. Even friends of mine from other countries know who the KKK leader is.

But it also was in his African countries are “shitholes” comment.

Demeaning a highly respected federal judge because of his Mexican heritage.

Demeaning American cities with large Black populations.

Stating he wanted to ban Muslims from coming to America.

Labeling Mexican immigrants as rapists (oddly while there were and still are several lawsuits against Trump alleging sexual assault).

Or when he told congresswomen of color to “go back to where they came from.”

He even ended diversity training in the federal government.

None of this was a surprise since Trump’s been the subject of lawsuits since the 1970s for his racism and discrimination.

Mr. Trump, the self-proclaimed “least” racist person, is still racist.

Trump acolytes, of course, dispute any criticism of their messiah, but there’s simply no denying that Trump almost single-handedly rejuvenated formerly on-the-fringe Nazis and racists and gave them a public platform to say and do whatever they want. You’d have to be living off the grid not to notice.

As you would to be unaware of the bloodbath Hamas unleashed in the Holy Land.

Israel is facing its worst existential crisis in 75 years.

Mass slaughter, rape, burning babies in ovens, cutting off limbs, kidnapping toddlers and the elderly, live-streaming murder.

And Hamas has promised Israel that so long as Jews are still around, they will do it again.

It’s ISIS-style madness all over again.

Israel understandably responded with force and vowed to annihilate Hamas’ ability to ever wreak havoc on its people again.

Protests and condemnation of Israel and Jews was near immediate.

There were no mass protests when over 100,000 Palestinians were killed in Syria’s civil war, or when hundreds of thousands of Arabs were killed in Yemen or Sudan. Or when Kurds were slaughtered. But not more than a day after Israel counter-attacked Hamas, which embeds its fighters among civilians, people were outraged.

But this time is different than other wars.

Numerous world leaders, including in the Arab world, have not tried to pull the plug on Israel’s campaign to destroy Hamas as they had every other time.

England, France, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Germany, Ukraine and other countries have publicly had Israel’s back. They all saw the videos of Hamas’ carnage. Some lawmakers left the viewing in tears of disbelief.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain and other Arab leaders have condemned Hamas and, even in their criticism of Israel’s killing of civilians in their Hamas campaign, have stopped short of the typical more harsher attacks on Israel.

At an emergency summit of heads of states of the Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Djibouti, Sudan, UAE and others rejected Iran’s request that they all cut ties with Israel.

Then the group issued a watered-down, albeit still unwavering, criticism of Israel and a demand for a ceasefire.

Saudi Arabia’s MBS even began the session with a call to release the hostages.

They aren’t as harsh on Israel because Hamas’ savagery is the same type that align with the Muslim Brotherhood that wants to overthrow so many Arab leaders and because much of the Arab world wants to move toward way more global participation and co-existence.

But an even bigger reason not all of the world is attacking Israel is that the president of the most powerful nation in the world has made it clear he will defend Israel.

That leader, U.S. President Biden, is the liberal leader of the Democratic Party. He’s the one who was elected because millions of liberals voted in record numbers.

He’s not viewed by our allies as wild. Or full of hate. Or unpredictable. He doesn’t go around mocking countries and people.

There’s a level of trust and association America’s allies have with him, age criticism aside.

But imagine if Trump, who is hated around the world. Who is despised by many across the globe for his racism and nastiness. Who demeans women and immigrants. Who lies and cheats his way through everything.

Imagine if Israel had him as their world champion right now.

Think about the guy who’s insulted world leaders, stoked the flames of hatred, is on record for how he feels about Muslims, and has praised the likes of Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. What if he were at the helm right now?

I’d wager that Israel wouldn’t fare the same on the world stage. That maybe America’s allies, most of which also despise Trump, wouldn’t be on the same page as they are with Biden. That many wouldn’t want to align themselves with his positions like they do Biden’s.

It’s hard to share any stage with such a bad human.

There’s no celebrating civilian death. Palestinian children dying is no joke. It’s heartbreaking. Israel should do everything it can to avoid more civilian death.

But the threat to Israel is the worst in its modern history, and Israel ought to be thankful that Trump and his lightning rod of hate for so many isn’t leading Israel’s charge worldwide.

About the Author
Jeffrey Kass is an award-winning American author, lawyer, speaker and thought leader on race, ethnicity and society. His writing was nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize literary award, and he was named a top 50 writer on Medium on the issues of race , education and diversity. His newest book, "Black Batwoman v. White Jesus," is a collection of essays dealing with race and ethnicity.
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