The Final Offramp

Trump supporters gather outside the US Capitol building, January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
Trump supporters gather outside the US Capitol building, January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

For many of us, the various outrages of the Trump presidency (and candidacy) far outweighed the good. For others, especially many within the professional pro-Israel community, it was seen as a worthwhile bargain. To some extent – even though I explicitly disagreed with it and opposed it – I could see how the math might make sense if Israel was your one issue.

After all, he did move the embassy to Jerusalem, he did re-impose sanctions on Iran, he did somehow get several Arab states to open their borders to Israelis and normalize relations, and he did recognize the Golan Heights. These were all important things to me, things that at one point or another I personally lobbied for with members of Congress.

In my mind, the damage done domestically and the inability to deal with the rise in right wing extremism and anti-Semitism far outweighed the good. But still, there was a part of me that could at least understand how someone could arrive at a different conclusion. After all, if you were a professional at a Jewish or pro-Israel organization, and your one job in life was literally to achieve those goals, could I really expect you to NOT praise him for fulfilling goals you may have been working towards for DECADES? I thought of how I’d react if I was still a professional in the pro-Israel world and I had a hard time being sure I’d be as resolute about it.

No more.

The President of the United States, after months of ginning up rage and anger at Congress and at his own Vice President (including retweeting and magnifying people who explicitly were calling for violence and assassinations), walked out to a crowd of angry insurrectionists and urged them to never concede, march to Congress and “be strong” with their attempts to reverse the results of the election that he lost. He did this, despite looking out onto a crowd that included people wearing “Camp Auschwitz” shirts, holding anti-circumcision signs, and waving Confederate flags and flags of “Kekistan” – an imaginary country modeled on Nazi Germany.

And then, as the crowd turned into a mob, after he slunk away (despite telling them he would march with them) like the coward that he is, while they were literally banging on the door of Congress, he tweeted more incitement at Mike Pence, his own Vice President.

These disgraceful, anti-Semitic, anti-American traitors had erected a gallows outside the Capitol, and were chanting “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!” And the President was STILL urging them on.

Several of the invaders came with firearms, clubs, and Molotov cocktails. At least one had zip-ties. It is clear that for some of them at least, the plan was to effectively decapitate our government by going after Congressional leadership and the Vice President and either taking them hostage or killing them. Or maybe both.

And Trump (who should never be referred to as a president again) urged them on.

Do you comprehend what I’m saying?

Just in case you missed it the first time, let me re-state it:

THEY WERE CHANTING “HANG MIKE PENCE” AND THEY BUILT A GALLOWS AND THE PRESIDENT WOULDN’T TELL THEM TO STOP.

In the process they injured over 50 police officers and murdered Officer Michael Sicknick, a man who grew up in the same town I went to high school in. And there is no doubt they would have killed more if they could.

A supporter of US President Donald Trump wears a gas mask as he protests after storming the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

This is it folks. There is no justification for this. No embassy or government policy is worth this. You cannot be sedition-adjacent and expect to reap only the benefits and none of the consequences. History will judge Donald Trump and EVERYONE who supported him, no matter what their supposed noble reasons were for doing so.

If you are a Jewish or pro-Israel organization, this is your last chance to distance yourself once and for all from this man. Think clearly about this – if Trump is willing to incite a mob to attack HIS OWN VICE PRESIDENT – what will he stop at? These people weren’t going after Ilhan Omar or Bernie Sanders, as despicable and evil as THAT would be, they were going after members of their president’s OWN political party. There is no ideology here! There is no rationality here! This is no different than when al Qaeda tried to hijack Flight 93 and fly it into the Capitol building!

The only reason THOSE terrorists failed was because a group of heroic passengers sacrificed themselves to stop it. The only reason THESE terrorists failed was because a group of heroic cops and staffers, outnumbered by 100’s to 1, stood firm and barred the doors against them – after being left hung out to dry by whoever was in charge of the federal government at the time.

Finally, do you really think this will be the final outrage? Do you think that this is all that Trump has done or will do during these last days of his reign?

The time to cut ties with Trump was long ago. The damage that has been done to the Jewish and pro-Israel community by associating with such a reviled man will take years to undo. But as the old saying goes…

The best time to have planted a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

Every single Jewish and pro-Israel organization needs to issue a statement condemning what happened in Washington in the strongest terms and must immediately sever any and all ties with anyone involved in the organization or promotion of this attack, including Donald Trump and any member of Congress that participated in it. They should all be pariahs, never to be invited to a dinner or fundraiser or endorsed for office again.

The same way we condemned the attempted destruction of our government by foreign terrorists (and their enablers) on 9/11, is the same way we must stand against domestic terrorists (and their enablers) today.

If embracing the alt-right wasn’t enough for you, if Charlottesville wasn’t enough for you, if promoting QAnon and white supremacists on Twitter and doing nothing about a rising wave of deadly right wing anti-Semitic attacks wasn’t enough… This is it.

This is the final offramp. Anyone who doesn’t take it does irreparable harm to future of the Jewish people, the state of Israel, and the United States of America.

Liran Kapoano is a business owner and a former employee of Jerusalem Online, as well as the former director of the Israel Department at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. He is also the former President of ZOA’s Young Professionals, and was an AIPAC campus liaison when he was a student at Rutgers University. He blogs non-politically at timewearegiven.com

About the Author
Liran Kapoano is a business owner and Israel advocate with a passion for his family, adventure travel and marketing (although unfortunately not always in that order). He is also an Israeli trapped in an American body who enjoys a walk-off home run as much as a 91st minute soccer goal. He can be found agonizing over the current state of affairs @kapoano daily on Twitter.
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