Donald Trump clearly likes to close deals – he’s said it time and time again, before and since he assumed the office of president of the US.
The first joint public comments by President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could have been a last-chance opportunity for the new American leader to shed his buffoon image and present himself as an informed, reasoned negotiator capable of understanding the complexities and nuances of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Instead he failed miserably.
With his banal generalities, perplexing non sequiturs and general detachment from reality, Trump revealed what has already been evident about him – that the emperor is naked. Two states, one state, no state, it doesn’t really matter to Trump, as if he even has an inkling to what the details to any of the possible outcomes include.
You could just imagine Netanyahu rubbing his hands with glee at the thought of sitting down and filling the president’s head with all of the reasons that his path is the right one – whatever that path is. Beyond his demands of the Palestinians recognizing a Jewish State of Israel and Israel being in charge of its own security west of the Jordan River, he didn’t really present a plan. And it’s clear that unless Jared Kushner has a brilliant blueprint up his sleeve, the Trump administration is not going to be the driving force behind any innovative peace efforts.
But as glib and empty as Trump’s comments about Israel and the Palestinians were, it paled to his answer to the question about the rise of antisemitism in the US. Touting his electoral victory, presenting his convert daughter and Jewish son-in-law as his ‘some of my best friends are Jewish’ defense and then segueing into his “lots of love’ comments confirmed that the US president doesn’t have a clue about dealing with serious issues in a presidential way.
Netanyahu only made things worse by also evading the issue of antisemitism and giving his full ‘Jewish’ seal of approval for Trump and his staff. Trump’s statements were a source of embarrassment. But Netanyahu’s defense of them was a source of shame.