Everyone and I mean everyone, has imperfections. That means politicians too; or, perhaps I should say, especially politicians. Everyone, including politicians, makes mistakes. But there are mistakes and there are mistakes.
Donald Trump, former president of the United States, dined with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes. This was not a mere lapse in judgment, it was a massive mistake. It was a mistake for so many reasons and yet Donald Trump does not think that he erred.
A former US president and a declared candidate for the presidency, once again, in 2024, cannot sit at the same table by his own invitation and dine with declared Jew-haters. There is no way around this. There is no way out of it.
Sitting down with two avowed Jew-haters was not a lapse in judgment. It was a green light, a sign of recognition, a validation of Jew hatred by a top world leader and a man who held the undisputed highest office in the free world.
Trump cannot just brush off this dissing of American and world Jewry as a scheduling mistake or an “I just did not know” incident.
The ramification of this meeting is gargantuan.
The former US President gave credibility to these Jew-haters by sitting down at the table with them. That simple act gave license to Jew-haters across the US and around the world to gloat. Their hateful point of view has been mainstreamed. Trump gave them credence. Trump’s decision to dine with renowned, acknowledged, indisputable Jew-haters deems their actions and their speech acceptable.
Jew-haters are now free to come out of the dark and espouse their vitriol in the open. If a former US president can sit with Jew-haters, that means that the Jew-haters’ perspective is acceptable in mainstream society. After all, over 50% of US voters voted for Trump.
If he entertains Jew-haters, then we can proclaim our true hatred of Jews in public. If he entertains Jew-haters, then Jew-hatred is not a marginal point of view but rather a perspective of the mainstream marketplace of ideas.
Trump, the man, has always been a human lightning rod. When it comes to Trump almost nobody is neutral: You like him or you hate him, you appreciate his style and his moxie or you deride his style and his moxie and you believe his presidency was good for the US, or you are convinced that it was the worst presidency in your lifetime.
AS FOR me, I’m an equal opportunity critic. I criticize, when I think it necessary, both sides of the political aisle, and I try to see the positive and the negative in people, including politicians.
Trump has done good for Israel
I cannot erase the good that Trump did for Israel because of the bad he did with West and Fuentes. Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel when no other world leader, when no other country, would take that unpopular stance. Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem. Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights but what Trump did by meeting with antisemites outweighs the good he did for Israel.
Trump set the groundwork for Jew-hatred and gave it credibility. He gave a credibility that normalizes ideas. He gave it a presidential seal of approval.
When Trump was president I thought, “Finally, a US president who understands us.” I was willing to accept the problems, imperfections and baggage that Trump brought with him. I thought that while flawed, he was, at least, on the correct path. His mistakes were not germane. They were character flaws but they were superficial. On essential issues, he was on target. So I thought.
I also had tremendous faith in Ivanka, his Jewish daughter, and in Jared, his son-in-law. Ivanka and Jared would keep him on the path and insist that he reject the ugly xenophobic underbelly. They would keep him away from the bile and hatred that simmers under the American veneer. I was wrong.
As we all now know, Ivanka and Jared have stepped aside from Trump’s future political dealings and aspirations. They are no longer acting as his advisers; they are distancing themselves. One trusted political thinker told me that had Ivanka and Jared remained in the inner circle, this meeting would never have taken place.
Perhaps, just perhaps, he was spitting at them for leaving him by breaking bread with these avowed Jew-haters.
After this much-publicized meal at Mar-a-Lago and the lack of a serious response from its host, Donald J. Trump, establishment Jewish communities must back away. Jews cannot in good faith back him. Jewish Republicans cannot support him. Jewish donors cannot invest in his campaign.
This sit-down was a huge error and Trump will have to pay a political price and that price might be withdrawing his name as a candidate for president in 2024.
We cannot tolerate Jew-hatred, we should not tolerate Jew-hatred and we cannot give a platform to those who ignore Jew-hatred. Our true friends are not the friends of Jew-haters.
The writer is a social and political commentator. Watch his TV show Thinking Out Loud on JBS.