My Word: Ladies and the Trump

Friends mentioned having awkward conversations with their children this week following the release of the video showing Trump’s ignoble attitude to women and life.

October 13, 2016 20:49
US debate

Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton answers a question from the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, US, October 9, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Somebody who should know better asked me recently: “What are you going to do when you don’t have Barack Obama to bash?” I resent the implication that my admittedly frequent criticism of the US president is baseless – a nasty habit.

I was also astonished that anyone at this stage of the presidential race might think that whoever wins – Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump – would be beyond reproach and unlikely fodder for a future column.

I’m relieved I don’t have to vote in the US presidential elections.

The idea of the world being a better place – let alone women’s rights improving – “under Trump,” as it were, does not come naturally. Yet, if Clinton takes over from Obama there is also cause for concern on the gender front. Remember how the appointment of the first black president was expected to have a positive effect on race relations in the States?

I’d ask how well you think that worked but I don’t want to open myself to more charges of Obama-bashing. Suffice to say, one hopes that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have the same impact on the status of women.

Friends mentioned having awkward conversations with their children this week following the release of the video showing Trump’s ignoble attitude to women and life.

I tried to make sure that my teenage son realized that there is a difference between having power and using it to harm people – not only women. I believe it’s more pertinent to consider how Trump deals with the weak in general, rather than how he deals with women specifically.

Nothing is going to turn Trump into a gentleman; he lacks the “gentle.”

Not that Clinton is much better.

I’d like to know why that tape surfaced only now – more than a decade after it was made and, more to the point, many months after it was apparent that Trump was a leading candidate for the Republicans.

Similarly, as I wrote last week, the way WikiLeaks drips tidbits on Clinton is clearly orchestrated, the question is by whom? As an Israeli, I’m not proud of the fact that we have a former president in prison for rape and sexual harassment and a former prime minister in jail for bribery.

It’s better, however, than having people with huge clouds over their morals battling it out in public in a race to take control of a country once worthy of its superpower title.

The trial of former president Moshe Katsav, by the way, demonstrates Israel’s democratic nature, unique in this region. In no neighboring country would the former president be tried and sentenced for rape by a panel of judges comprising a Christian man and two Jewish women.

As Jerusalem Post political reporter Gil Hoffman noted in an analysis headlined “Israel has come a long way,” although all is not well, “There is much less tolerance for any mistreatment of women. Even flimsy allegations that are later proven false can end a man’s candidacy for any political post from president to student council.”

Israelis do not pussyfoot around and Trump’s in-your-face, anti-politically correct style is not rare in Israel. But there are certain limits.

Women, too, have to be careful not to abuse this newfound power and use lies and false allegations as a tool.

THE PHYSICAL and ego trip of the 13 women aboard the Zaytouna- Olivia, “Women’s Boat to Gaza,” part of the campaign to break the blockade on the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory, ended last week when the boat was peacefully intercepted by IDF soldiers, male and female.

The Palestinian supporters were not carrying humanitarian aid and the whole point of their effort was a PR stunt to draw attention to, in the words of one of their statements, “the oppressive Israeli siege on Gaza.”

I’m relieved the boat trip – why do people insist on grandly calling it a “flotilla”? – ended well.

The violence of the so-called peace activists on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 led to a bloody situation in which 10 Turkish activists were killed by Israeli soldiers responding to attacks – soldiers were stabbed, clubbed and thrown overboard as they tried to intercept the ship, the offers of checking the load for weapons before passing it on through the regular land crossings having been turned down.

For a moment last week I fantasized what would have happened had the Zaytouna activists been allowed to dock in Gaza. They could have stayed at one of the five-star hotels that you rarely read about, but first they would have had to go shopping (at one of the rarely mentioned malls). Women – even Western peace activists – would not feel comfortable (or be safe) wandering around Gaza wearing skimpy T-shirts and shorts.

There is oppression in Gaza, particularly of women: It comes from Shari’a-abiding Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which makes the rules there.

Refreshed and suitably dressed, the women could then have sought souvenirs before they returned home. I wonder if the perfumes named M75, after the Hamas-produced rocket, are still available. They were reportedly all the rage in Gaza City at the end of 2012, following Operation Pillar of Defense, I doubt Egypt would have let the women out via their joint border with Gaza even if the M75s were only cheap vials of perfume.

The “peace activists” would no doubt have decried Israel’s air strikes on Gaza – without mentioning they were in response to rockets fired on Israel from Gaza the day they tried to steal international headlines.

What they lacked in originality, the Zaytouna crew made up for in chutzpah. Welcoming their “brave sisters” home, the Women’s Boat to Gaza website declared: “While the world media celebrate another Nobel Peace Prize awarded in Oslo, they somehow managed to ignore that the 1976 Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire was among a group of women illegally detained [by Israel] while taking a stand for human rights.”

I’ll tell you what else the world managed to ignore: On October 9, it barely registered the terrorist attack in Jerusalem in which 60-year-old Levana Malichi and 29-year-old, newlywed police officer Yosef Kirma were shot dead.

Nevertheless, the pro-Gaza activists got me thinking: Working on the Obama principle, I think both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Let’s face it, for a while the world was distracted enough to not notice (or not care about) the mass casualties in places like Aleppo and Yemen. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and elsewhere was blown from our collective minds.

Altogether, Trump and Clinton are proving to be mind-blowing: And they give a new twist to the term gender politics.

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