I’d wanted to post this blog last Thursday, but the news from America was so vile that – I am not making this up – my computer committed suicide. The fan spun off. The tower heated rapidly. The screen went dark. Electrical smells, then smoke gushing out like something out of a very bad movie. Total disaster.
So I got me a new computer. Actually, my wife got a new laptop and I inherited her old one: a Windows 10 abomination that took me forever to domesticate. Times like these, I really miss my Hewlett-Packard Vectra that ran, most efficiently, Windows 95. I also miss my IBM Selectric III. A memory capacity of one letter, and that only for half a second, but it was fun to watch the ball bounce around with such spastic energy.
Ah, well. Progress. Which brings us to the American election results and a prophetic answer to the sempiternal question: Good or bad for the Jews?
Bad. Very, Very, very, bad. But not necessarily in and of itself. Rather, I suspect, a confluence of forces and events will make it so.
Expert, and not-so-expert, analyses of the complex 2016 election result are available for the price of a few key strokes. I do not propose to add anything. I only note that a sufficient number of adult Americans were sufficiently willing to overlook, or explain away, or glory in, Mr. Trump’s character, life history and demeanor, to buy into the promises and condemnations he churned out so liberally over the last year. A sufficient number were willing to have Donald Trump represent the United States in and to the world.
According to the ancient rites established by the Founders, those geniuses, slaveholders and male supremacists, Mr. Trump has won.
So be it.
I won’t regret the retirements of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama. Should they opt not to pose as elder statesmen, their silence would be appreciated. Go get your next book deals, guys. Lecture fees, too, should anyone still wish to be lectured by you. And leave the rest of us alone.
Nor do I disagree significantly with much of Mr. Trump’s putative foreign policy goals (though he may not be the man to pull it off). A better relationship with Russia is needed. So, also, a more openly aggressive prosecution of the struggle against global Islamist terror. So, also, a new look at that monument to geopolitical obesity and sclerosis, NATO. And, of course, most everything Mr. Trump says and does in support of Israel will be welcome – including abandonment of the fiction that there is a “peace process” to revive or a “Two State Solution” that might be viable in this Age of ISIS and Iranian nukes.
But there it ends.
Except in time of war cum conscription, Americans don’t much care about foreign ventures. “All politics is local,” proclaims the adage, and “local” means the things that impact voters directly. Mr. Trump has promised to abolish (and “replace”) ObamaCare and to arrest or deport millions of illegal aliens. The Republican Party has gabbled on for ages about cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and various other entitlements and “safety net” items.
Should these initiatives get seriously underway, playing kissy-face with Vladimir Putin or blowing up ISIS Central won’t make a bit of difference to the tens of millions of citizens directly affected by loss or diminution of medical coverage, Social Security, Food Stamps, etc. – or to watching the government come down on all those aliens, some of whom will be their relatives and friends, co-workers, employees, maybe even heroes.
And to the extent that law enforcement at all levels declines to investigate or prosecute individual or militia/mob/whatever crimes against illegal aliens, against non-white Americans – and Jews – the tension and the chaos will escalate.
Domestic issues could well lead to nasty, chronic national violence . . . and to the early demise of an effective Trump Presidency as Congress wiggles whorishly, as always, toward the next biennial election.
Good or bad for the Jews?
Now, it’s no secret that “private” anti-Semitism in America has been rising for decades (check out www.adl.org for the latest). But only in the last few years has organized anti-Semitism attained significant political impact. Donald Trump may be saying nice things to Israel these days, and the American Zionist establishment flaunting its fawning of his minions, but an estimated seventy percent of American Jewish voters opted for Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Trump will remember.
Today, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic stances flourish throughout parts of both the political Right and Left. Lots of people, from outgoing and incoming administration officials to media to hackers to assorted hate groups, would love to bring Israel down a peg or three.
The coming weapon of choice: scandal, real or manufactured, endlessly hyped and spun. And if America’s Jews get sucked into the scandal . . . so what?
For fifty years, Israel has been lucky – and very, very adept – at avoiding scandal. But it would be willfully naive to believe that the Israeli/American Zionist closet doesn’t contain at least a few bones to rattle. Money scandals. Sex scandals. Capitol Hill scandals. Intelligence, economic and criminal scandals. I know not what these are. But they’re likely there, and if – once – they’re made public, scandal takes on a life of its own.
And if they emerge as the Trump administration self-destructs over domestic issues . . . so what? Wouldn’t be the first time the world’s Powers That Be turned to anti-Semitism to deflect attention from their own failures and dilemmas.
All his life, Donald Trump has responded to accusations of malfeasance and criminality with So What? The Clintons were a bit more sophisticated; their shtick was Can’t we just move on? And various Israeli administrations have also responded to various accusations and scandals with their own So What?
But the Age of So What? may, paradoxically, be reaching its end. The confluence of a beleaguered Trump administration, a nation in violent torment, and some well-publicized, constantly and breathlessly augmented Israeli/American Jewish scandals would not be confined to American shores. It would, inevitably, affect the Netanyahu regime.
I’m no Likudnik. But I would not want to see the current Israeli government dragged down by scandal . . . to be replaced by a leftist coalition that seems unable to get out of bed in the morning, let alone govern.
So, end of prophecy. Time for the present. Israel, this isn’t the America you’re used to dealing with. Deal with it.
N3ext Thursday: How
Next Thursday: How?