Gil Lewinsky

The Tale of Two American Coups

It has been a life changing week out of Washington DC. A pro Trump mob broke into the Capitol building delaying election certification proceedings and then social media giants Facebook and Twitter have blocked the US President Donald J Trump, likely for life on their platforms. This all happens as the Democratic led House is pushing for a new impeachment process against the president with eleven days left in office.

The action of the Trump supporters was something I did not expect to see in my lifetime. The center of American democratic power overcame by the power of the mob. Scenes on television of protesters in the Rotunda, the heart of the building, and in the Senate Chamber sent a certain chill. This was something that happens in Iraq or Afghanistan, not in the United States, one of the originators of modern democracy.

Whether or not Trump actually meant for his protesters to enter and damage the Capitol building is uncertain. His speech talked about “showing strength” and “marching on the Capitol” but did not clearly mention to sack the building. He took several hours to call in the DC national guard as American members of congress were taking cover or finding a secure location. Did the president truly care about the well being of the congress members including his vice president? Was this all a stunt gone horribly off track? Or did Trump really want to leave sending a message of defiance against the United States? He soon pledged an orderly transition and only days later publicly condemned the rioters.

Then came the reaction from social media. For months now, Twitter and Facebook have been actively censoring tweets from anyone who raised a conservative point of view with “fact check” information. After the attack on Congress, they went further by suspending Trump. After Trump was allowed back and tweeted that he will not attend the inauguration, this was taken as a sign that he was planning extra insurrection activities (by Twitter who released a statement) and banned him for life. At the same time, various conservative groups across the United States saw their accounts suddenly banned as threats to public safety. Note this was not happening at the hands of government, but a private company megamoth worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Many have since flocked to Parler, a right wing social media platform that has since been put under siege by Apple and Google.

In conjunction to everything is a move by Democrats to quickly impeach Trump with eleven days remaining in office. The trial will likely take place under the presidency of President Elect Biden and its practical implications will not impact the presidents remaining days in office and at worst ban him from a future election campaign.

As such, a tale of two coup de tats is taking place, one failed from the right, and on going purge from the left. While the scenes of the storming of Congress were disturbing to say the least, the retaliation from the left wing sets shape for an attack on almost half the electorate that voted for Trump in November. Instead of calling for reconciliation the events are quickly spiraling into an unprecedented attack on a huge portion of American society. What will happen once the Democrats solidifies control will leave a large portion of American society torn which will not soon forget what the social media giants and Democrats did as Trump was leaving office.

Also it may become much harder to voice your mind on social media. When a $500 billion company controls and censors your thoughts this is near Orwellian. A push away or diversification of social media may be imperative. The creation of such a massive (presently left wing) monopoly in social media impacts our thoughts and ability to network and this should worry everyone reading this article.

Where does this leave Israel? While both Biden and Harris are relative friends of Israel, a huge portion of their constituencies are vocal critic of the Jewish state and its policies. Expect the Palestinian agenda to be back on the map and a strong push to create a new Iranian Nuclear deal. At first, Israel’s moves will be largely ignored by the US, but as the Democrats become more comfortable expect a push toward more traditional Obama and Clinton arguments toward the Middle East. Peace deals with Israel may grind to a halt, if they continue they will largely be the product of the peace deals secured while Trump was in office. Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Cairo may increasingly be our friends, but expect their interests to be very limited. A local alliance against Iran may shape up without the clear backing of Washington. On other international issues expect stronger cooperation between the US and other global parties.

About the Author
Born in Israel but raised in Canada, Gil Lewinsky worked as a journalist in Jewish newspapers including the Jerusalem Post after completing a Masters degree at the Munk School of Global Affairs from the University of Toronto. He also has a LLM in International Law from Lancaster University in the UK. His past topics include a book written about the Status of Gaza under International Law soon after its conquest by Hamas in 2007. He is perhaps best known as one of two people that brought a flock of Jacob Sheep from Canada to Israel in 2016, making history. He currently works as a teacher and English public relations professional in Israel.