Trump and Clinton.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
My, how four years change things. In Obama-Romney in 2012 Israel was a big and serious issue. It came up in the debates. Romney traveled to Israel. Netanyahu was accused of choosing sides.
Four years later, tonight in the Clinton-Trump showdown, Bibi merited a tiny mention in the closing moments of the debate when Trump said he had met with the Prime Minister the day before “and he’s not a happy camper.” He said it in relation to President Obama’s Iran Nuclear Agreement, which legitimized the Mullahs as a nuclear power and will give them $150 billion by which to sew terror mayhem throughout the world.
Hillary Clinton brags about being the original architect of the deal and she strongly defended it in the debate.
Clinton and Trump Debate
Aside from that, Israel was not mentioned at all.
Which is not to say that the Middle East did not come up. It came up plenty. It is to say that, believe it or not, Israel is seen, I assume, by both political candidates as an island of stability in an otherwise horrible region. So why even talk about it? I remember a saying attributed to Golda Meir which said something to the effect that good times would come to Israel when it appears in the media as much as Switzerland.
Well, good times, here we are!! Anyone hear Trump or Hilary talk about skiing in the Alps? Overall, Hillary Clinton won the debate tonight. She was poised, in control, effectively on the attack without appearing rabid, and kept Trump on the defensive. Trump, by contrast, started very strong in arguing how unequal trade deals and towering debt were bankrupting America. He spoke forceful about jobs lost in New Hampshire and Appalachia.
But after that, he allowed himself to be baited by Clinton on everything from charges of racism and sexism to not paying taxes and calling women vulgar names.
But on the Middle East Trump won the argument.
He effectively made the case that President Obama, along with Hillary as Secretary of State, had pulled America out of Iraq way too early, giving an opening to the emergence of ISIS. He pounded away at how horrible the Iran deal was, and how it would allow the Ayatollah’s to have a legal nuclear weapon in a decade. He spoke of planeloads of cash being delivered to the Iranian government as ransom for American hostages.
To all of this Hillary did not have an effective retort, other than to blame the withdrawal from Iraq on a timetable set by President Bush, and to say that at least the nuclear issue with Iran had been settled.
Her answers were ineffective, first because President Obama could easily have changed the timetable based on facts on the ground and second, because the nuclear issue with Iran is anything but settled.
Hillary’s claims that America has instituted an intrusive inspection regime is simply false given how Iran is allowed to self-inspect in some of the most sensitive nuclear sites, making a mockery of the entire agreement. And Hillary did not even try to address Trump’s valid point that in a decade Iran can build a weapon that will be sanctioned by international legitimacy.
But Trump failed to follow up on these issues. He did not mention the porous inspection regime in a huge country by an ineffectual IAEA. He did not mention how German Intelligence had recently reported that Iran had recently tried more than a dozen times to acquire nuclear weapons material in Europe. And he did not mention that Hillary’s own State Department, which, this year yet again, identified Iran as the largest state sponsor of terror. So why give these killers $150 billion by which to murder more innocents around the globe? I’m not faulting Trump on this as time was limited and he did press the attack successfully on Iran.
At this point in time I think it would make sense for Hillary Clinton to admit the flaws of the Iran nuclear agreement and concede the point, as polls show that Americans continue to regard the agreement as capitulation and failure.
But pigs may fly first.
In any event, given Hillary’s overall victory in the debate, she has little incentive to do so, even if doing so is moral and just.
We’ll wait and see what happens in the next debate and whether the Jewish State will make an appearance. Until then we can only hope that Congress will enact new sanctions against Iran for their continued support of terror.Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America” is the international best-selling author of 31 books including his most recent, “The Israel Warrior’s Handbook.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.