President Donald Trump (R) greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint news conference at the White House. .
(photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
At the latest press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Trump stated unequivocally, “I reject unfair and one-sided actions against Israel at the United Nations.” This is a complete reversal from President Obama, who used his last days in office to have the UN condemn new Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. How did such change happen so quickly?
Over the past eight years pro-Israel voices in America have gained momentum despite the tension in relations under President Obama. These voices have created the public policy environment that has allowed pro-Israel leaders like Vice President Mike Pence, Israel Ambassador David Friedman, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and senior advisor Jared Kushner to come to the forefront today.
One voice in particular has stood out: The Endowment for Middle East Truth, or EMET. This think tank in the heart of DC has been the boots on the ground, the people behind the scenes who have guided leaders in Congress and brought the truth about Israel to successive administrations for the past decade.
They have been quietly building a paradigm shift for US-Israel relations. “We’ve always had an open door in Congress for our ideas on both sides of the aisle,” says Sarah Stern, founder of EMET, “but now we are even more optimistic since the Trump administration has shown a willingness to consider a new policy paradigm for Israel and the Middle East that would never have been considered under the Obama administration.”
How far Mrs. Stern and EMET will advance their ideas is still an open question, but Trump has already signaled that he is considering alternatives to the failed two-state solution, a crucial talking point on EMET’s agenda. It’s looking more like policymakers are listening to what they have to say, which means we might be seeing more good things for Israel.
Stern has just launched a public petition
to continue her momentum to bring new policy ideas to the Trump administration. This Israel petition, which anyone can sign, asks President Trump to stand strong with Israel by implementing six central policies:
1. Move the US embassy to Jerusalem
2. Defund UN bodies like UNWRA
3. Ramp up tough sanctions on Iran
4. Increase defense support for Israel
5. Prosecute Palestinian terrorists
6. Support those fighting against radical IslamThese six policies
are reminiscent of the famous six assurances that President Reagan gave to Taiwan after Carter cut US relations in favor of China. Reagan’s assurances have guided US policy on Taiwan for the past three decades. EMET may be trying to do the same for US policy towards Israel through this petition.
“Yes, there are parallels between what President Reagan did for Taiwan and what President Trump has the opportunity to do for Israel, to strengthen relations in the wake of horrendous political attacks and existential threats,” says Stern.
Yet President Trump is no President Reagan. So it will be up to groups like EMET to ensure that the people around him are equipped with the truth and understand how to design the right policies that address the complex reality in the Middle East.
At that fateful press conference, Trump turned to Netanyahu earnestly and said, “Your perseverance in the face of hostility, your open democracy in the face of violence, and your success in the face of tall odds is truly inspirational.” Let’s hope that inspiration is enough for him to act and stand with Israel.
This article was sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth.