U.S. President Obama greets President-elect Trump in the White House Oval Office in Washington.
(photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
Of all the dumb things that were said about Donald Trump during the campaign, by far the nastiest and most defamatory was that he was an antisemite. This meanest of libels would have had us believe that Trump hates his own daughter, who is Jewish, and his three Jewish grandchildren.
Now that he is President-elect, supporters of Israel are looking optimistically toward a renewed American relationship with the Jewish state.
For those of us in the United States who care about Israel and have fought its battles in the public arena, it’s been a miserable few years. The Obama administration’s naked hostility to Israel’s policies left us bruised and always on the defensive. Yes, President Barack Obama did a lot of good for Israel that should not go unmentioned, including military and financial support. But he also cultivated an air of never-ending hostility to Israel’s leaders and singled Israel out for repeated criticism and pressure while allowing 400,000 innocent Arabs to die in neighboring Syria without lifting a finger.
A cursory reminder of Obama’s repeated clashes with the Jewish state recalls Obama talking about Israel returning to the suicidal 1967 lines. There was Obama showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu out through the back entrance of the White House, the same place he ushered out the Dalai Lama (let’s not offend the all-powerful Chinese). There was the president’s constant bullying of Netanyahu, including instructing Hillary Clinton to berate the prime minister by phone every time a new Jewish apartment was built in east Jerusalem or a settler planted an olive tree in Shiloh. Worst of all, there was the wretched Iran deal that legitimized a genocidal government and gave $150 billion to the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism.
Obama’s Iran deal will forever remain a stain on his legacy and the morality of the United States.
On that particular occasion, the president did everything he could to prevent Netanyahu from even making his case to the American people via a congressional address as to why the deal threatened the survival of his people. When I asked a senior Israeli official whether Netanyahu was staying in Blair House for his address to Congress, he looked at me like I had lost my mind and said, “Are you kidding?”
Netanyahu stayed in a hotel.
How ironic to reflect on the fact that what Senator Tom Cotton told Ayatollah Khameini at the time – that the Iran deal can be undone by the next president with the stroke of a pen – may now come true.
President-elect Trump has vowed to undo the Iran deal.
It should be his first order of business.
Aside from the obvious threat that Iran poses to the US, “the Great Satan,” Trump also has a Jewish daughter and three Jewish grandchildren. Iran is dedicated to the extermination of the Jewish state and its inhabitants. It should be punished rather than rewarded – as President Obama has done by sending Iran planeloads of cash – for contravening the 1948 United Nations Anti-Genocide Charter which expressly forbids genocidal incitement.
Which brings us to the biblical area of Judea and Samaria in the West Bank and the terrorists of Hamas. The official Republican platform passed in Cleveland this year no longer supports a Palestinian state. The reason? It would quickly be overtaken by Hamas, just like Gaza.
Hamas is another genocidal movement which calls for the extermination of all Jews, wherever they are found, including Trump’s family. They are a murderous, bloodthirsty death cult that has destroyed Palestinian life and the Palestinian economy in Gaza. It’s bad enough that they are on Israel’s Western border. But to sandwich Israel between two Hamas states would be suicidal for the Jewish state.
Which leads to Jerusalem.
Tel Aviv is a beautiful city. I have a daughter that lives there. Its beaches are golden. But it’s not Israel’s capital. That would be Jerusalem, one of the world’s most famous, celebrated and holy cities. Tel Aviv is about a hundred years old. Jerusalem goes back 3,000 years to King David.
So what, in God’s name, is the American embassy doing in Tel Aviv?
I have often visited American Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro – a fine man and a lover of Israel – in his office in Tel Aviv. The embassy is an ugly building in an otherwise incredible location. It has the greatest view of the Tel Aviv beach imaginable. I often joke with the ambassador that he can’t possibly get any work done with such a gorgeous view. But the hills of Jerusalem are even more beautiful.
President-elect Trump can move the embassy to Jerusalem by doing, believe it or not, nothing at all. The bill has already been passed by Congress. A presidential waiver gives the president the right to make the decision. All a president need do is refuse to sign the waiver. The US can sell the old, ugly edifice in Tel Aviv for a king’s ransom and build the most beautiful new embassy in Jerusalem, the real estate for which already exists and has been designated.
After so many bruising years of battles between the pro-Israel community in the United States and the White House, we look forward to a president and an administration that values Israel for what it is: the Middle East’s only democracy, and America’s most trusted ally.The author, “America’s rabbi,” whom
The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is founder of The World Values Network and is the international best-selling author of 31 books, including
The Israel Warrior, which has just been published. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.