It's time to give Netanyahu, Trump a break and benefit of the doubt

Those in favor of the move expressed disappointment that it didn’t appear to be happening on schedule. Those opposed took the opportunity to ridicule Netanyahu.

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on January 28 (photo credit: REUTERS)
President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on January 28
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israelis across the spectrum were grumbling this week about the approach of the July 1 deadline that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set for himself to begin extending sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and approximately 30% of Judea and Samaria.
Those in favor of the move expressed disappointment that it didn’t appear to be happening on schedule. Those opposed took the opportunity to ridicule Netanyahu for trying to wriggle out of his promise by orchestrating a fight with his coalition partner, Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, for internal political reasons. But all are accusing Netanyahu of capitulation or machinations, depending on their point of view.
Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, told Army Radio on Wednesday that the issue will not be brought to a vote until US President Donald Trump – author of the “Peace to Prosperity” plan that includes the sovereignty move – makes an announcement on the matter. Akunis was alluding to Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway’s comment last week to White House reporters that she would “leave it to [Trump] to give you a big announcement” on the matter.
In the meantime, officials from Washington and Jerusalem have been convening to discuss how to proceed, poring over maps and delving into other details, such as how to confront the so-predictable-as-to-be-boring international outcry, and equally tired refusal of the Palestinian Authority to play ball with Israel and America.
The idea is that when the teams have ironed out as many potential kinks as possible, they will present Trump with a concrete blueprint and timeline, in accordance with the “Deal of the Century” that he unveiled on January 28 at the White House – with a beaming Netanyahu at his side.
Since that momentous occasion, Israelis on the Right have been divided. Some oppose the plan in its entirety, as it allows for the establishment of a Palestinian state within four years, albeit under certain conditions.
Others are certain that the PA in Ramallah and Hamas in Gaza will never meet those conditions. Therefore, they argue, it is better to act now to guarantee the application of Israeli law to crucial territory – both biblically and in terms of national security – before the US presidential election on November 3, which they fear Trump might lose.
A third group has faith in the goings-on behind the scenes, believing that representatives on both sides are looking out for Israel’s interests, which America shares, at least under its current administration.
IRONICALLY, THE Israeli Left holds with the last view, bemoaning the Netanyahu-Trump relationship as a bond made in hell – you know, between two “corrupt” and “populist” leaders of countries whose populations should be ashamed of themselves for putting such monsters into office.
Which brings us to the events taking place across the United States, ostensibly sparked by the killing on May 25 of African-American George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer who choked him to death with a knee to the throat. The chaos that “erupted,” thanks to lots of organized egging on by well-funded radical groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter, is keeping Trump very busy.
The mass looting of stores – owned or run by hard-working Americans of all races and creeds – is not even the worst of it. Thankfully, that particular display of frenzied thuggery has subsided. But it has given way to a more far-reaching and pernicious phenomenon: the literal and figurative toppling of American history and exceptionalism. This is not being expressed solely in the destruction of monuments, however. Though bad enough by itself, this vandalism is merely the tip of the cancel-culture iceberg into which the US is about to crash full speed ahead.
Indeed, no book, movie, play, product or logo is safe from the scrutiny of self-appointed judges denying everyone else’s right to freedom of speech and thought. Nor is any form of tyranny directed at those who are deemed to personify all that is rotten in the United States forbidden to the culture-cancelers.
One telling example was the guillotine erected outside the Washington, DC, home of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos by protesters demanding that his company be abolished. A sign accompanying the decapitation device read, “Support our poor communities, not our wealthy men.”
Never mind that Amazon has enabled millions of lower- and middle-class citizens to purchase goods at an affordable price, or that it provides gainful employment to hundreds of thousands of job-seekers. Forget that Bezos is among the country’s top philanthropists, giving to many charities, among them NGOs that help the homeless.
And then there’s the aptly named “Left Bank Books” shop in St. Louis, Missouri, which removed all works by best-selling author J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. Her crime? Making fun of a phrase in the title of a May 28 op-ed published on the media platform Devex.
RESPONDING TO the name of the piece, “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate,” Rowling tweeted: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Explaining its decision to rid its shelves of Rowling’s books, the store released the following statement on Sunday: “Rowling’s public comments about transgender people particularly transgender women, is abbhorent (sic), hurtful and willfully ignorant. Not only that, but she has a worldwide platform for that bigotry which makes her even more dangerous.”
Pathetically illiterate. On the other hand, reading comprehension and knowledge of basic writing skills are irrelevant to a book shop with an ideology to peddle.
Yes, this is but a taste of the Maoist-like revolution taking place in what used to be referred to proudly by Americans – and with yearning by foreigners dying to become Americans – as the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Incidentally, those words, part of a poem penned in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, would be put to music and become America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
On June 19, the statue of Key in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park was torn down by protesters, adding his likeness to the list of such targets of the radicals as Christopher Columbus, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt. Naturally, then, the anthem is also on the proverbial chopping block.
Due to the above, Trump is not simply fighting for his political career; he is heading the party and the movement it represents to wrest the United States from the clutches of its internal enemies: those who wish to erase and replace the genuinely liberal ideas on which the republic was founded.
Israeli patriots anxious for Netanyahu to forge ahead with his sovereignty plans should be able to understand this better than anyone. They, too, are in a battle against left-wing landsmen bent on rewriting their state’s historical raison d’être – as the ancient homeland of the Jewish people – and determined to undermine its modern legitimacy as a free democracy worth emulating.
In this respect, the internecine struggles in both countries over their foundational principles are eerily similar. They certainly elicit the same delight from their external foes.
As a result, anyone worried that Trump might be reversing course on sovereignty should take a step back from measuring dunams to realize that the devil in this case really isn’t in the detail. It is in the notion, promoted by the Left on either side of the ocean, that America and Israel were born with the stain of “original sin.”
It’s time to give Netanyahu and Trump a break and the benefit of the doubt.