Over the last two years many people who embrace liberal and progressive values in Israel and the U.S. have written extensively about their strong personal dislike for the two men who are the duly elected leaders (although each by a minority of voters) of their respective governments.
And it is really quite shocking how extensively their personalities and character seem to dovetail on so many levels.
Each seems to be an overly selfish pathological liar who is under investigation for apparently violating laws and ethical standards for their own political and financial gain. Each also seems to be an egomaniac with an insatiable need for praise and approval.
Those are troubling qualities that create a lot of headlines in the media but they aren’t the ones that are seriously damaging their countries.
As a Jew who is grateful to be an American. and feels a special connection to the Jewish homeland and to Jewish wisdom and ethics, the most serious damage that these men are doing is to the basic values and morality of the two countries I love and, in the case of Netanyahu, to the country that claims to represent the values of the Jewish people.
Nowhere is that abrupt move to the dark side more apparent than it is regarding the debates and drastic changes in government policies relating to the treatment of immigrants in each country.
For a century, Americans have proudly pointed to the inscription on the Statue of Liberty as the mantra that sums up our national commitment to providing a place where people fleeing “shithole countries” and life threatening situations. Based on the statements and actions of President Trump, that inscription should be erased since he has made it clear that “huddled masses yearning to be free” are NOT the people we want any more. Instead we want well educated white people from countries like Norway.
Many of my fellow Jews and millions of Americans have thrived here based on the willingness of our country to accept and offer a fresh start to our ancestors who showed up here not speaking a word of English and with no modern productive skills.
The same is true of the State of Israel which was created in 1948 in part due to the obvious need for a place where Jews could seek refuge from those in the world who wanted to eliminate us.
Those values and guidelines have survived more or less intact in both countries until Trumpenyahu came along and changed everything in a shameful and heartless way.
Trump is doing all he can to mollify his nationalistic and bigoted base and to rid our country and black and brown immigrants whom he doesn’t believe should be here.
At the same time in Israel, black people who have fled horrific situations in Africa are now facing efforts by the government to send them back to miserable places they fled where they have no hope and no prospects and face life threatening dangers.
It is particularly shameful for the leaders of a country that claims to represent Jewish values to be subjecting others to the same horrible fate that millions of Jews suffered so recently.
My hope is to write about and document specific areas in which each man and the government he controls are damaging in profound and fundamental ways the value systems and broad legacies that have been the legitimate cause of so much proud for all of us over the years..
Hopefully you will find these thoughts and links to real reporting and real news (highlighted in blue in the copy), are interesting and provocative. Each of us has a responsibility to make a difference and do what we can to make sure that countries we live in and love behave in ways that reflect our values and core beliefs and not those of people who are doing their best to pervert and change them.