The recent Abraham Accords aren't enough to win Jewish voters for Trump

He has given Jewish voters too many persuasive reasons to vote against him.

AMY CONEY BARRETT was chosen by US President Donald Trump, who said he wanted to rush her confirmation so she could be seated if and when his election is challenged and gets to the Supreme Court. September 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA)
AMY CONEY BARRETT was chosen by US President Donald Trump, who said he wanted to rush her confirmation so she could be seated if and when his election is challenged and gets to the Supreme Court. September 2020
US President Donald Trump deserves credit for brokering historic peace deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Israel and the Arabs – other Gulf states may soon follow – were already well on their way to formalizing their relationships, which had been based on mutual security and economic interests.
The US, as in the past, was the deal closer. The initiative was local, not American, but Washington helped seal the agreements with promises of financial, military and diplomatic aid all around. That is what sealed the groundbreaking peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and it remains so.
Trump is mistaken if he thinks this will persuade American Jews to support his reelection bid. Recent polls show he could get 30% of the Jewish vote, but that is doubtful. He got only 24% four years ago. He has given Jewish voters too many persuasive reasons to vote against him.
Trump says he is not an antisemite, and points an executive order condemning it, to his Jewish grandchildren and to praise from the Israeli prime minister for what the president has done for Israel (but said was for the Evangelicals, not the unappreciative Jews).
The evidence suggests otherwise. There’s his embrace of white supremacists and conspiracy theorists like QAnon and InfoWars, and militias with wide streaks of antisemitism and his own words.
Facebook recently removed several Trump campaign ads accused of using Nazi imagery. The campaign has used what the Anti-Defamation League called a “Nazi-related” “hate symbol” that closely resembled the eagle used by Hitler and modern neo-Nazis. The ADL called it a “hate symbol.” Confederate flags and swastikas are often seen at Trump rallies and demonstrations by his supporters.
A favorite Trump scapegoat is George Soros, the Holocaust survivor, billionaire (real one, not fake like Trump), philanthropist and supporter of progressive causes. Trump has blamed him for “caravans” of migrants from Central America, “paid professionals” demonstrating against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, bankrolling antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters and leading the “globalist” (a term often used to refer to an international Jewish conspiracy) attack on America.
Trump has said he moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognized that city as Israel’s capital and accepted Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, in his words, “for the Evangelicals,” and he has repeatedly scorned the unappreciative Jews. He has accused American Jews of dual loyalty. In a talk with Jewish lawmakers prior to Rosh Hashanah, he referred to Israel as “your country,” and afterward commented to aides the Jews are “only in it for themselves” and “stick together.” In front of Jewish audiences, he has referred to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “your prime minister,” called Israel “your country” and said Jews who vote for Democrats are “disloyal.”
Israel is not a determinative issue for most Jewish voters. For starters, former vice president Joe Biden has a long, warm and consistent record of support for Israel and the Jewish community on the broad range of its policy priorities. Moreover, while both parties may take different approaches to Middle East – Republicans more hawkish, Democrats dovish – both are considered fundamentally supportive of Israel and will be there in time of crisis.
Another factor making Israel a low priority for most Jewish voters is the Netanyahu government’s move to the far Right, under the influence of the ultra-religious and ultra-nationalist, plus the prime minister’s engagement in partisan Republican politics and his tight embrace of Trump.
Trump gave Jews an additional good reason to vote against him when he nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court seat held by the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ironically, Barrett, who owes so much to RBG’s pioneering leadership in women’s rights for getting as far as she has, is expected to reverse many of those achievements.
The two jurists are polar opposites on nearly every issue of importance to the mainstream of American Jewry, including church-state separation; abortion rights; gun control; same sex marriage; civil rights; affirmative action; First Amendment protection; environmental protection and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
Barrett was chosen by an impeached president who said he wanted to rush her confirmation so she could be seated if and when his election is challenged and gets to the Supreme Court because he refuses to accept the outcome.
If for no other reason, Barrett should recuse herself if the matter arises.
If Barrett is confirmed before the election, as Republicans intend, the first case she will hear is an attempt pushed by the Trump administration to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, including its essential and popular protection for people with preexisting conditions. Trump says he supports that coverage and signed an executive order he claims protects it, but that’s not true; his order is as phony as the weather maps he draws.
For more than five years, Trump has been promising to introduce his own comprehensive health plan to replace Obamacare, but so far he’s produced bumpkins. Congressional Republicans for twice as long have been promising to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, but they have also failed to produce a viable alternative. They’re counting on Barrett to handle the repeal for them.
Trump’s bungled response to the coronavirus has been a major contributor to the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans, and the number is growing despite his irresponsible assurances that the nation has “turned the corner” and there will be cure before Election Day. He’s the one who said it would just disappear “like a miracle” before he suggested treating the disease with injections of bleach.
Putting opening the economy ahead of fighting the virus, he failed to comprehend that schools, businesses, factories or even sports teams can’t return to any semblance of normal until the virus is under control, and that requires more than a self-proclaimed “cheerleader” lying about a cure being “around the corner” and a vaccine just before election day. Tragically, he pays more attention to the Dow Jones Averages than the pandemic death toll.
The president’s rejection of science and readiness to go along with quacks, nochschleppers and tuchas lekkers who tell him what he wants to hear instead of what he needs to hear, will only prolong the pandemic.
Racial unrest in some of the nation’s cities is the fault of Democratic mayors and governors, in Trump’s view, and his solution is to send in massive military force. He has threatened to cut off economic assistance to blue states to force them to change their immigration policies and show him more appreciation. That happens to be where most American Jews live.
Trump won his spurs as a bona fide racist through his role in the Central Park Five case, his leadership in the birther movement, by lauding the “fine people” at Charlottesville marching with KKK and neo-Nazis chanting “Jews will not replace us,” by defending the Confederate flag and treasonous generals who led a rebellion against the US, by his Muslim ban, by calling Mexicans “drug dealers, criminals and rapists” and by his xenophobia and misogyny.
On all of these issues and more, Biden is more in sync with the majority of Jewish voters. And a mensch.