Trump Victory: Good News, Bad News For Jews – Part I

Donald Trump's victory may be good news for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who congratulated the president-elect and called him a "true friend" of Israel, but it is bad news for the overwhelming majority of American Jews, who voted (71-24) for Hillary Clinton.

Beyond boasting about his deal-making skills and saying he could be an impartial broker in Israeli-Palestinians, Trump has shown no real interest in reviving the peace process; neither have Israeli and Palestinian leaders.  The Israeli right is delighted.

He is opposed to the two-state solution and has no objection to unfettered settlement construction in the West Bank. 

He has talked about demanding Israel reimburse Washington for past foreign aid while saying he won't be bound by the cap on military aid in the recently-signed bilateral military funding agreement.

Trump campaign insiders are saying his choice for secretary of state is former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has called the Palestinians an "invented" people with no claims to a homeland. 

 “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire,” Gingrich said in a 2011 interview when he was running for president. “We have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab people, and they had the chance to go many places.”

Gingrich's failed campaign was primarily funded by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, an outspoken opponent of Palestinian statehood and a top Netanyahu financial backer as well.

Trump has shifted positions frequently on issues like the status of Jerusalem, the location of the U.S. embassy in Israel, American military assistance and peace negotiations. Most recently he said he would move the embassy but don't hold your breath waiting.

Trump has not withdrawn his call to ban Muslims from entering this country, and he wants to keep out all Syrian refugees. He'll have strong Congressional backing for his anti-immigration policies while they try to figure out how to pay for his Mexican wall.

Trump has called for renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal but that will prove easier said than done.  He'll support Congressional calls for new sanctions on the Islamic Republic but America's allies, particularly Russia, which is making billions selling reactors, radars and weapons to Iran, are unlikely to go along with any U.S. demand to reopen the pact.

Russia will be an interesting challenge for Trump.  He has spoken of his admiration for Vladimir Putin, who was among the first to praise Trump's election.  The real estate mogul has said a top priority will be warming ties with Russia, most notably letting Putin take the lead in dealing with ISIS. That has to deeply worry Israel because Putin's role in Syria is to protect his client, President Bashar al-Assad, whose closest allies are Iran and Hizbollah, which have vowed to destroy Israel.

The mercurial president-elect based much of his campaign on renegotiating trade agreements, a potential problem for Israel, which signed the first U.S. free trade agreement during the Reagan years.  Last year the U.S. had an $11 billion trade deficit with the Jewish state. 

Next: Part II, the American Jewish perspective.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.