The Right to Make Peace

Confession: I do not like President-soon-to-be Donald Trump. I would not have voted for him if I would have had the right to vote.

Warning: The future is looking very bleak for the left in America and for the right in Israel.

The right-wing in Israel are gleeful. Obama is OUT – Trump is IN. Finally, after eight long years, we’ll have a president that cares so little for PC politics (or DC politics for that matter); who is not embarrassed to call a spade a spade, or a Muslim a terrorist; whose daughter is Jewish; who seems to have such a shallow understanding of the intricacies of Middle-Eastern history, culture and current events that, with a little begging, we’ll be able to get him to endorse anything we want – from our greatest messianic dreams to our worse nightmares.  Death to the 2-State non-option! Death to Palestinian national aspirations! Death to the Jewish democratic state! Death in the ensuing third Intifada! Death from the rockets from Gaza and Lebanon! Death to hope!

But I think that they are wrong. I don’t mean just their politics; I mean I don’t think that it has to turn out like that. Of course, I may be wrong and, to tell the truth, I hate predictive journalism – it’s only written to fill up space, create a minor panic, a small depression, like the predictions of the imminent collapse of the stock exchanges or the war that will take place next summer or the summer after that. So why do I bother? Just to give some hope to my fellow lefties and instill some doubt into my fellow righties.

Observation No. 1: In his recent book, Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama, the veteran American diplomat Dennis Ross, who for 35 years tried under five different Presidential mandates, to bridge the gaps between Israel and the Arab world, argues, very convincingly, that American distancing from Israel actually discourages the Arabs from making peace: “Every administration that distanced from Israel succeeded only in building expectations of what more we might do to accommodate Arab interests, not what Arab leaders might do in response to our distancing.” Or to put it the other way round: the friendlier the President is towards Israel the more willing the Arabs are to come to the table. Why? Because they know that with full American support behind Israel they stand a chance of losing – big time.

Observation No. 2: Only the right can make peace. When Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres signed the Oslo Accords the right-wing in Israel nearly set the country on fire. Correction: they did set the country on fire and murdered the Prime Minister. When Menachem Begin gave back the whole of the Sinai, destroying the beautiful town of Yamit in the process, he was opposed by the likes of Meir Kahana but supported by the mainstream right and, of course, by the entire left-wing of Israel. Arik Sharon initiated the withdrawal from the hell-hole called Gaza. True, he was opposed by those further to the right but he had the backing of the majority of the country and, even though the withdrawal was traumatic, it didn’t split the country irrevocably as predicted.   In other words, the left will always support the right in peace moves while the right will always oppose the left in (the identical) peace moves.

Observation No. 3: Trump is a triumphalist and will want to show the world and posterity that it was he and he alone that managed to end the quagmire of the Israel/Palestinian conflict. That’s how egocentric he is. And it is, after all, all about ego.

Ergo (not to be confused with ego): When Trump declares that he will make “America Great Again” he doesn’t mean isolationism, he means exactly what he says. And what greater way is there to discredit the legacy of the pussy wimps Obama and Kelly than flexing muscle, smiling for the cameras, and ending the conflict in the Middle East. How will he do that? He will ingratiate us. He will promise us security, stealth bombers, money, an embassy shift: whatever it takes for us to feel vindicated, heard, seen, understood, loved. He will hug us so tightly we will no longer be able breath. Then he will invite us, and them, to negotiate the final solution. Not in Paris but in the Tower of Babel (also known as the Tower of Trump). We will turn up because – how could we say “no” to our best friend? And they will turn up because – how could they say “no” to our best friend? We will end up sufficing with the State of Israel – the one and only Jewish state. They will suffice with Palestine – the one and only Palestinian state.

And Trump will Triumph.

And America will be great again.

Bottom Line: if this line of logic is correct then I find myself in the very awkward situation of, on the one hand, cheering: “Go, go Trump!” and on the other hand, praying: “God Save America!”

About the Author
Michael Kagan is the author of the Holistic Haggadah (Urim), God’s Prayer (Albion-Andalus) and The King’s Messenger (Albion-Andalus Books). He is a scientist, entrepreneur, film-maker and teacher of Holistic Judaism. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan.
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