The Reality About Trump, the Democrats and Israel

I am going to be blunt. Trump and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) are not telling you the truth about Joe Biden’s and the Democrats’ support for Israel and the Jewish community. They use the fallacy of argument that “the few represent the many.” They focus on Omar and Talib and on progressives connected to BDS, implying that these few anti-Israel and antisemitic individuals represent Biden and the Democratic Party. They conveniently ignore the large number of antisemites and white supremacists in Trump’s Republican party like Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar, Steve King, Rand Paul, David Perdue, and all the antisemitic QAnon followers like Marjorie Taylor Greene running for Congress that Trump embraces because they love him.

The truth is that Democrats and Biden remain staunchly pro-Israel. A survey of 1000 voters by pollster Mark Mellman found that, of respondents describing themselves as pro-Israel, 68% identified as Democrats. Joe attributed his lifetime regard for Israel and the Jewish people to his father who supported Israel’s creation in 1948. Joe’s first trip there in 1973 strengthened his resolve. He fondly tells stories of his meetings with Golda Meir and his one confrontation with Menachem Begin that changed his outlook for the better. His speeches at AIPAC have been full of empathy, genuine caring and a commitment to a secure Israel. Yes, there have been times when Joe has been critical of specific Israeli policies, but his voice was one of moderation and support even when Israel-US relations were at a low point. We can see the degree of his unwavering support in his message to the Jewish Community: A Record and A Plan of Friendship, Support, and Action https://joebiden.com/joe-biden-and-the-jewish-community-a-record-and-a-plan-of-friendship-support-and-action/# .

The Democratic Platform is one of the most pro-Israel platforms in years for either party. Biden will not return the US Embassy to Tel Aviv. It’s in the platform. When progressives attempted to add language to the platform on Israeli “occupation,” Biden directed that the language be removed. When Linda Sarsour spoke to a small group of progressives at the Democratic Convention, Biden immediately disavowed any connection with her and said she has no part in his campaign. The platform supports a two-state solution as does Biden, who is committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians get to the table. His perspective on Iran is to reinstate the Iran nuclear agreement with additional protections against Iranian terrorism, ballistic missile development, human rights violations, and anti-Israel agitation that were not part of the Obama JCPOA. Biden will hold Iran’s feet to the fire. See the Democratic 2020 Platform. https://democrats.org/where-we-stand-/party-platform/

We need to stop believing Trump’s propaganda that the Democrats are not good for Israel or Jewish people. Trump’s “go-it-alone” strategy, his desire to remove the US from the Middle East, and his abandonment of the Kurds is evidence that Trump cannot be trusted. The more Trump espouses an isolationist strategy, the more he places Israel at risk. Finally, the fact that Trump admits that he moved the embassy “because of the evangelicals” means that he is making foreign policy decisions to keep his base happy and less out of concern for Israel. Even with the very positive signing of the peace accords with the UAE and Bahrain, we need to remember that even a broken clock gets it right twice a day.

In contrast, Biden has shown his fidelity toward Israel and toward forming coalitions in support for his Middle Eastern policies. Biden has shown his personal empathy and ability to understand the needs of others over himself giving us all the sense that he will do what is right, not what is expedient. Finally, Biden’s choice of Senator Kamala Harris, whose own record of support of Israel and the Jewish community is strong, cements in place that the policies of a Biden administration toward Israel will continue for many years to come.

So, for those in the pro-Israel community who may still be on the fence, ask yourself if it is wise to support a politician who thinks “there are good people on both sides” and welcomes QAnon believers into his base. Know that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris do not welcome racists and antisemites. And they understand that Israel is central to US foreign policy in the Middle East and that Israel is our truest friend in that region.

A previous version of this editorial was published in the Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal September 21, 2020.

About the Author
Dr. Samuel M. Edelman has served as the first executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. Currently he is one of the founding faculty members of the new Academic Council for Israel, and its executive director, and a member of the Academic Engagement Network (AEN).
Comments