In Plain Language: Election reflections

February 2, 2017 14:32
Women’s March

Hundreds of thousands of marchers fill the street during a Women’s March demonstration in Washington, DC, on January 21. (photo credit: REUTERS)

While the smoke has not yet cleared from Donald Trump’s dramatic upset victory – far from it! – it’s time to offer a few salient observations.

The day after tomorrow

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

The protests against the president- elect and his policies will ebb and flow, the shouts of the mob will rise and fall, and life will go on. Calls for Trump to be impeached – the first since Bill Clinton – will fade into the wind.

Yet what concerns me is not the present unrest but the future threat on the horizon. The Democratic Party is moving further and further toward the radical Left, far from its traditional Center.

And as it drifts leftward, it grows continually apart from Israel. Democratic leaders such as Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellington, espousing extremely negative viewpoints toward the Jewish state, grow stronger, and they are joined by the hordes of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions proponents across America’s college campuses.

What will happen if and when the Democrats return to power in Washington? Will they embrace Israel, or will they exact revenge for Trump’s unabashed support for our country?

The POTUS and the pendulum

Back in my college days, numerous programs relaxed the normal prerequisites and requirements for certain ethnic groups, who were accepted with lower GPAs and given a free pass in certain areas, such as learning a second language. When I met with the dean to discuss this – I wrote then for the university paper – he told me that these individuals had been denied a good highschool education and, having faced so many obstacles in their past, they now had to be given “extra credit,” an extra push; the pendulum had to be swung in the opposite direction, in order to create educational equilibrium.

Well, that is precisely what the president of the United States (POTUS) is doing now. For too long, militant Islam has been given far too much leeway; the world has shrugged its shoulders and turned a blind eye to the existential menace it poses to the free world. Carnage follows carnage, terrorism rears its deadly head all over the planet – always with a Muslim fingerprint – and all the world can do is condemn the building of a new balcony in Efrat. Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures, for the pendulum to be swung, at least temporarily, until safety and sanity return to something approaching normal and rational.

Move it or lose it

There is a legitimate debate, globally and in Israel, as to whether the US Embassy should be moved to Jerusalem (as American law requires). Even our own leaders are divided on the issue; the IDF is concerned that it will have its hands full dealing with the violence that may result from the move.

But this is what we might call “a Ben-Gurion moment.” He was urged by numerous allies and advisers to hold off from declaring a state, for it would surely inflame the Arabs and ignite a war. But Ben-Gurion waved them all off. “There will never be a ‘good’ time to declare independence,” he wisely told them. “Either we do it now – or never.”

The Arab world will always react violently to any move that affirms our sovereignty over Jerusalem and our rightful place in the Middle East. The Arabs’ perpetual strategy is to create enough of a riot so that we back off – whether on the Temple Mount, in the territories or anywhere else – and it’s about time we called their bluff and let the whole world know just whose capital this really is.

Rights and responsibilities

Among the many groups who took to the streets for a Women’s March on the day following Trump’s inauguration were several “Jewish” organizations.

No matter that it was Shabbat, no matter that there were numerous pro-Palestinian signs among the anti-Trump ones. But the comment of one speaker, representing something called “Pantsuit Nation-Israel,” caught my ear. “To be a Jew,” she proclaimed, “is to have rights.” And here lies the crux of the conflict.

Everyone is out there screaming for “rights” – gay rights, women’s rights, black rights, immigrant rights, bikers’ rights, animal rights, etc. “I want what’s coming to me!” is the mantra. But sorry, Ms. Pantsuit and others, Judaism is not about rights; Judaism is about responsibilities.

Not what needs to be done for us, but what we must do for others.

Now, you will ask me, what’s the difference? If Reuven is rich and Shimon is poor, why does it matter whether Reuven is required to give assistance, or Shimon is entitled to receive it? The end result is the same, either way! True, but with one crucial difference.

Demanding rights turns us into takers, while keeping responsibilities transforms us into givers. Much of society, with its focus on extreme entitlement, has developed an ugly culture of taking, of arrogantly demanding that its government and fellow citizens bend to its needs, wants and desires. That focus, as opposed to living up to our responsibilities and seeing where we can be of service, is what I call – and this is a Jewish tradition – “The Evil I.”

Parting shots

As if to confirm his real feelings about Israel and the Jews, former-president Barack Obama (I like the ring of that!) left two reminders on our doorstep. Against the protests of several congressmen, he authorized $221 million extra for the Palestinians (after all, they do have to support all those terrorists serving time for killing Jews); and he commuted the sentence of he/she PFC Bradley – “call me Chelsea” – Manning, sentenced to 35 years in prison for releasing three-quarters of a million classified military and diplomatic documents. What makes this latter act so repugnant is that Obama justified it by saying that Manning “had served longer than most people convicted of the very same crime.” Remind you of anyone else that Obama steadfastly refused to pardon?

The writer is director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana; [email protected]

Related Content

Israel police carry a haredi protestor during an anti-conscription demonstration in Jerusalem, March
March 15, 2018
To draft or not to draft - the underlying haredi politics


Israel Weather
  • 10 - 25
    Beer Sheva
    11 - 20
    Tel Aviv - Yafo
  • 12 - 18
    13 - 20
  • 19 - 28
    12 - 25