People take part in the 51st annual Israel parade in New York City last year.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Donald Trump spoke for 76 minutes, late into the evening of the final session of the Republican National Convention. By almost all accounts, the speech was a smash hit, delivered with humility and even some uncharacteristic self-deprecation. It touched upon core conservative values, such as reducing government regulation, streamlining the tax code, promoting school choice and rebuilding the American military.
But the speech went further. It demanded equality for the LGBT community, stressed the need to support the police and other members of law enforcement and called for an expanded effort to end the cycle of violence within America’s inner cities. Trump’s speech also mentioned only a single ally of the United States by name – the State of Israel.
There was a lot to like in Trump’s acceptance speech. Nonetheless, the following morning, before the confetti had been swept from the Quicken Loan Center in Cleveland, Michael Wilner of The Jerusalem Post
had already pronounced that American Jews were not “taking the bait” offered by Trump. Wilner was not basing his analysis on an overnight poll of American Jews gauging their reaction to the speech. Rather, he had come to this conclusion simply by relying upon historical polls of American Jews reflecting their bias for the Democratic Party.
Wilner gives American Jewry too little credit. He is correct when he says that American Jews, all descendants of immigrants themselves, are uneasy about a policy which would shut the door to refugees seeking a safe haven. But American Jews are not so naïve or blindly liberal as to miss the distinction between the huddled masses yearning for freedom and the hundreds of thousands of Muslims fleeing Syria, Libya and Iraq who cannot properly be vetted.
Many European nations now deeply regret their open doors to such immigration and, with the exception of Hillary Clinton, few Americans wish to repeat that mistake.
Wilner also correctly notes that American Jews, as a general principle, also support a “two-state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians, something intentionally left out of the 2016 Republican Platform.
But the “general principle” endorsed by many has now been overwhelmed by the specifics. American Jews, or at least those paying attention, must concede that the scourge of radical Islam that has hijacked the Muslim voice throughout the world has been no less virulent in Judea and Samaria.
Ceding that territory to Palestinian terrorists under the current circumstances makes about as much sense as giving Baghdad (or Paris) over to Islamic State (ISIS).
Finally, Wilner observes that, by a wide margin, most American Jews value “pluralism” above their support for Israel. That may be true, but I believe that Jews who are of this view are assuming a paradigm where Israel is already safe, secure and not subject to existential threats. It is simply not possible that the American Jews of today have descended that far from the dreams and hopes of their grandparents and great-grandparents who prayed daily, under the most difficult and dangerous conditions, that their eyes might witness a return to Zion.
When Israel is under siege, as it is today from the boycott movement, the impending nuclearization of Iran and the presence of 100,000 missiles on the Lebanese border maintained by Hezbollah, American Jews ultimately come through. They will reject the Democratic Party, which already has abandoned Israel in so many ways and is moving ever closer to the vicious anti-Israel advocacy of Cornell West and James Zogby.
They will reject the Iranian appeasement which threatens the safety of the entire world and which gets more and more threatening as the true facts of the deal come to light. The will reject the vice-presidential candidacy of Tim Kaine, one of only eight senators to boycott Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress. And they will most certainly reject Clinton, who has spoken fondly of the rabid anti-Israel rantings of Max Blumenthal, plotted US-backed demonstrations against the Israeli government, rejected out of hand president Bush’s assurances to prime minister Sharon after Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and otherwise proven to be entirely untrustworthy, even as an ally.
In this election, the pro-Israel camp has only one choice – Donald Trump. While it is undeniable that American Jews are a diverse and largely liberal constituency that voted President Barack Obama to a second term by a 70 percent margin, they can only take so much abuse. Watch the results in November and prepare to be surprised.
The author advises Donald Trump on US-Israel relations.