Donald Trump claims to support Israel, and his claim has won the endorsement of many in the Orthodox community and among hardliners and Hillary-haters, but most Jews – here and in Israel – are not buying it.
"Much more than a president who loves Israel in the narrow sense of the term, what Israel needs is a president who is good for America and for the world," said Prof. Dan Schueftan, director of the University of Haifa's National Security Studies Center. "America has a unique and indispensable global role as the only power that can provide an acceptable world order. It is only in that environment which America alone can provide that Israel can thrive. A president who can be trusted on this is crucial for Israel's wellbeing. In this American election one candidate does not even know what it is all about."
Donald Trump is a clueless isolationist with a volatile temperament, a penchant for autocrats and no clear understanding of America's role as the world's megapower.
A vital pillar of Israel's security is the unwavering support of the United States under every administration regardless of party or personality, but along comes a candidate who is unwilling to make any such commitment to any ally.
If he leaves our NATO allies wondering whether he will feel bound by our mutual defense treaties with them, what does that tell Israel? And Israel's enemies?
There is nothing understated about the Republican nominee on matters of diplomacy and security, areas where subtlety, patience and nuance are critical.
Ilan Goldenberg, a former Pentagon and State Department Mideast expert, said, "Trump's willingness to discard allies, his temperament and ignorance of foreign affairs pose a threat to America's — and Israel's — security…Trump would be a disaster for Israel and for the region."
Goldenberg said Trump sees America's alliances as "purely transactional, that our allies should pay us protection money." The New York billionaire has spoken about requiring Israel and others to reimburse Washington for past defense assistance.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell privately called Trump “an international pariah.”
His Tweets are often vicious and attacking those he feels dissed him.
Many echo anti-Semitic tropes, as when he accused Clinton of meeting "in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers." It was a page almost torn directly from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Before that he re-tweeted a picture showing Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Jew, in a gas chamber with Trump, in Nazi uniform, flipping the gas switch.
He canceled a planned trip to Israel with Jewish supporters last December because he was miffed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for criticizing his call to ban Muslims from the United States.
It is hard to believe that a man filled with so much hatred – for Mexicans, Latinos, Muslims, immigrants and others – and who enjoys the enthusiastic support of so many white supremacists and anti-Semites wouldn't get around to putting Jews on his list as well. You have to ask: What it is that old-fashioned hate groups see in Trump that makes him so appealing?
Trump says he loves Israel, but what does that mean? Various surrogates, notably his real estate lawyer who is also his part time Israel advisor, have made a variety of policy pronouncements, but one thing this campaign has demonstrated repeatedly is no one speaks for Trump but Trump and even then everything is subject to change on a whim.