On Bannon, Ellison and Double Standards

As a veteran of Israeli elections, both as activist and a candidate, I thought I saw it all. Remembering the raucous elections of 1981, with the victory of the people known as ”Second Israel”, a.k.a Likud under the legendary Menachem Begin, was for me the most extreme display of an emotional political revolution. Well, I have to revise it all in my mind-even Israeli elections are a summer picnic compared with the current mayhem in the US after the election of Donald Trump. What a spectacle of emotions, hatreds widely opening, intolerance and above all, so much hypocrisy and double standards.

As usual, my main concern is with our fellow Jews, we the people who tend always to take politics so seriously, not only in Israel , but also in the US. The Tribe which votes in larger numbers than others[maybe not all the others], donates more and tends to debate more . We are emotional lot, but for me, the scene of Rabbis sitting Shiva over the results is something else and much different than the Judaism which I know. For me, it resembles more a pagan ritual, perhaps fitting the new cult of Tikkun Olam , which the Tru’a Rabbis are developing. As ridiculous as it is, as stupid as it is, this is NOT THE main impression I take from the current in-Jewish fighting. For me, what matters most is what is good for Jews, what is good for Israel.Naive? outdated? irrelevant?, it is in the eye of the beholder. Let me state honestly, that I was both surprised and disappointed with the fact that 30% percent of the Jews voted Trump-a matter of transparency to say that much., but it is also my understanding, that this it , and there is a new President, and he is perfectly legitimate. The rest is to be seen. Time will tell.

There must be a reason for why so many Jews voted Trump, be it the rise of conservatism among Jews, a reaction to the excesses of some of the Liberal and Left Wing so-called Jewish groups, like JVP and others who like to be in bed with our worst enemies, or maybe it was about Israel. Trump presented himself[not that I believed before the elections or even now] as being pro-Israel, more than Hillary Clinton [not that I believe that SHE is genuinely pro or anti Israel], so maybe this was the reason for the surprisingly high Jewish vote for him. There is no available data to prove that I am either right or wrong, so I take the liberty to think that I am right. I remember that 32% of Jews voted Romney in 2012, and 39% voted Reagan in 1980, when there were in place Democratic presidents who lost favor with segments of the Jewish community because of their attitude towards Israel.

What really attracts my angry attention is the debate today about two people , one is Stephen Bannon, another is Keith Ellison. One was already appointed as Chief Strategic advisor in the White House, another is likely to be elected as the new chairman of the DNC. Again with transparency-am strongly against the two appointments/nominations, and not because they will be bad to their respective political parties. In fairness, as an independent, the fortunes of both the Dems and the Gop are not high on my list of concerns, in fact, they are not there at all. As usual, it is the Jews and Israel that I care about. Bannon may not be himself an antisemite, and here I grudgingly accept the opinion of Alan Dershowitz, one of my intellectual heroes. However, Bannon is to be ruled out, from a Jewish perspective, because, he , self-admittedly took pride in opening the columns of Breitbart to the Alt-Right.That, for me, is enough in order to rule him out. Alt -Right and being good to the Jews?, just look at the CNN interview with the self-styled leader of the Alt-Right conference just ending in DC, one Richard Spencer, and what he said about us.

But then there is the problem with Ellison. Surely I am aware of the idea, that you can be ”pro-Israel” in more ways than one. J street claims to be, Beinart and other ”Israel is to be blamed at all costs” Jews maintain they are, so be it. But it is not so difficult to know who is a Israel hater. Someone who consistently votes against 97% of the House of Representatives when Israel is the issue, one who relates to Israel as an Apartheid State, one who defends Hamas, voted against funding to Iron Dome, is in bed with Cair, which is a support group of the Muslim Brotherhood. This one is Keith Ellison. He may not be a classic anti semite, or not at all, he is also one who never related to huge human rights violations in any Muslim country, henceforth not really a Liberal, but this is the business of his party whether they elect him or not. OUR JEWISH business is not to have him as chair of a party, which Jews still favor over the other party. So, here is the problem with double standards. Bannon is ruled out almost universally by Jews, Ellison is favored almost universally, and in both cases, the partisans whether from Right or Left
use Israel to justify their choice.

Forget it brothers, support whoever you want, but do not pretend to be pro-Jewish and pro-Israel in supporting either of the two.

There is NOTHING pro-Israel and pro-Jewish in doing so.

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina