Steven Windmueller
Is it Good for the Jews?

This political moment: what lies ahead in the American-Israel relationship?

With the announcement earlier today in Israel of the intention of the Attorney General to pursue charges against Benjamin Netanyahu for “bribery, fraud and breach of trust,” one sees an interesting, if not uncomfortable, parallel between the political fortunes of both the Israeli Prime Minister and President Donald Trump.

As the House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee pursues evidence of the President’s efforts to use US military support for the Ukraine to advance his own political interests, what will be the outcome of such an inquiry on the future of the Trump Presidency? In the case of the Prime Minister, how will his political future be impacted by such legal actions?

For some American Jews and key elements within Israel’s political establishment, this moment is being interpreted as an orchestrated war against two of their political heroes, Israel’s longest serving prime minister and his American friend and pro-Israel defender, Donald Trump. No doubt, each man embraced particular policies and actions specifically designed to promote Israel’s security and to grow the Washington-Jerusalem alliance.

For other Americans, the impeachment inquiry and the corresponding actions within Israel can be seen as the vindication of their discomfort with the existing “special relationship” that has been forged between this President and the Prime Minister of Israel. For this sector, the policies being pursued were seen as problematic to their vision for the Jewish State.

What will be the long-term impact on the American-Israel relationship? Should the Prime Minister appear to be politically wounded, who will evolve on the Israel election stage to challenge Bibi? In turn how will the Trump White House respond to the possibility of a new political regime in Jerusalem? What might be the impact of the impeachment proceedings on producing a different type of Trump Presidency moving forward?

About the Author
Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. is the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Prior to coming to HUC, Dr.Windmueller served for ten years as the JCRC Director of the LA Jewish Federation. Between 1973-1985, he was the director of the Greater Albany Jewish Federation (now the Federation of Northeastern New York). He began his career on the staff of the American Jewish Committtee. The author of four books and numerous articles, Steven Windmueller focuses his research and writings on Jewish political behavior, communal trends, and contemporary anti-Semitism.