Trump and the Jews
Trump and the Jews

There was active and strong support for the Donald Trump candidacy here in many of the New York Jewish communities. But not unlike the mainstream press that got it all so wrong, some well-read Jewish newspapers—specifically the Forward and the JewishWeek—are conjuring up a near-panic about the advent of the Trump presidency, and that is just way off base, irresponsible, and terribly wrong.

The Jewish approach to electing officials—especially at the highest level like president of the United States—is a curious matter subject to a combination of varied opinions and high-speed spin. The blanket assertion about who Jews on a national basis supported in this presidential election also needs to be carefully qualified and explored.

To say that “Jews Reject Trump,” like the Jewish Week said on their cover last week, is a continuation of the misleading stories that have dominated the liberal ethnic press in the same fashion that the mainstream media misreported the election and just plainly got the whole thing incorrect.

Yes, Hillary Clinton won in New York and garnered 70% of the Jewish vote nationally. But Jewish support of Democrats on a national level is more of a comment about the distortion of Judaism and Jewish values than it is a rejection of Trump or support of Mrs. Clinton.

For the readers of this newspaper, and in most of the areas of New York where it circulates, it seemed that support for the Trump candidacy was not just strong but widespread. It may have been a minority, but it was a strong and concentrated bloc minority which is valuable in the larger realm of the political process.

In Boro Park, according to statistics released a few days ago, over 70% of the votes were cast for Mr. Trump. Here in the Village of Lawrence in the Five Towns, 76% of the presidential votes were for Donald Trump. The victory was resounding as it was surprising. Liberal Jews were thrown off balance and are still being revived.

We do not know where the Trump presidency is headed, but the early momentum, while shrouded in come controversy, is otherwise positive. This past Monday afternoon, President Obama held a news conference where he calmly and nonchalantly spoke about how good and successful his eight years in office have been. It sounded nice and convincing, but it’s just not accurate.

The president cited statistics that are wholly misleading. One of his favorite claims is that the national unemployment rate is only 4.9%. Millions of Americans who have been looking for work for a year or more have dropped out of the labor market. In addition, millions of Americans have opted for part-time work because finding a full-time job has proven to be impossible. The unemployment statistic does not account for those factors.

And more importantly perhaps was the president’s refusal to unequivocally condemn violent protests being mounted in some places by paid agitators in an effort to claim that the Trump victory last week was not legitimate. Here in New York our own Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to a Daily News story, is encouraging protesters wreaking havoc and causing damage to continue their protests. De Blasio’s claim that Trump’s election should not be completely accepted because he did not win the popular vote is a clear and direct defiance of the conventions of electoral law. It’s not necessarily a stretch of reality to consider Mr. de Blasio nothing more than just one more paid agitator aiming at shaking up Mr. Trump.

On the matter of Jewish support of Mr. Trump, it is important to note that of the more than 100,000 American citizens who live in Israel and cast absentee ballots in the election, the overwhelming number voted for Mr. Trump. For many of us, the matter of Israel and U.S.–Israel policy is a vital consideration in making a choice for president. Unlike Donald Trump, Barack Obama is a smooth operator able to couch phrases and turn sentences to sound obliquely positive when they are the opposite.

Aside from the ongoing and increasing failure of his signature healthcare program—The Affordable Care Act—most of Mr. Obama’s initiatives have either fallen flat or plainly failed. Eight years ago, he was determined to close Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where enemy combatants are being held, some for more than 15 years. That effort has not succeeded.

One of his early prime objectives was to develop a bit of a distance between the U.S. and Israel on a number of issues, especially the long-stalled peace process. The idea was to curry favor with Muslim states and create a deeper alliance between the U.S. and Arab states as a vehicle to apply additional pressure on Israel to make concessions for peace that would also run the risk of jeopardizing the Jewish state’s security.

This was another abysmal Obama failure that Hillary Clinton was determined to pursue further. The odd thing is that despite the Obama efforts, once again the opposite has occurred. Today Israel is more in line and in greater agreement with countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, The Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan than when Mr. Obama took office in 2009. The rest of the Middle East, especially Syria and Iraq, are in chaos and in the throes of civil war with no end in sight.

Then there is the matter of Iran, which the administration has lied about from the outset. To this day, they insist that Iran’s ability to achieve nuclear status has been stopped. But just like the promise that insurance premiums would be reduced and that you would be able to keep your own doctors under Obamacare, almost nothing that is being presented as truth about the Iran deal is actually true. To Mr. Obama, these are nothing more than bumps in the road and signs of success. History will most likely record that Mr. Obama’s greatest achievement was blurring the distinction between reality and fantasy, between accuracy and absolute deception.

So, no, Donald Trump is not a smooth political genius. He has never held any kind of elected office and there will no doubt be some rough road ahead in the coming months. According to people who have researched the matter and know, like Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the appointment of Steve Bannon, formerly of Breitbart News, and the furor around the appointment is just a matter of additional anti-Trump sentiment and agitation.

Would Trump’s Orthodox-Jewish daughter Ivanka, whose children go to an Orthodox day school, ever allow an anti-Semite to work with her father?
ZOA President Morton Klein stated, “The ZOA welcomes the appointment of Stephen Bannon as chief strategist to the incoming Trump/Pence administration. We wish Mr. Bannon every success in his new position. We urge Jonathan Greenblatt and ADL to withdraw and apologize for their inappropriate character assassination of Mr. Bannon and Breitbart Media.”

Would Trump’s extraordinary pro-Israel advisers such as Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Pence, Sheldon Adelson, and Orthodox Jews Jared Kushner, David Friedman, and Jason Greenblatt ever allow an anti-Semite or Israel-hater to work with them? Would Trump’s Orthodox-Jewish daughter Ivanka, whose children go to an Orthodox day school, ever allow an anti-Semite to work with her father? And, remember, Donald Trump’s platform on Israel was the strongest pro-Israel platform ever. Why didn’t ADL and other Bannon bashers complain that Hillary’s advisers included some anti-Israel people, starting with major donor to Hillary, the Israel-hating George Soros?

Finally, Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal, who has strongly opposed the Trump candidacy from the start, said in his Tuesday column that in all fairness he also opposed the candidacy of Barack Obama in 2008. About the early Obama he said, “I thought he was an overrated talker grandiosely promising the transformation of redemption of an America that needed neither. The cult of personality that went with his candidacy creeped me out. People who wore T-shirts with the candidate posed as a prophet reminded me of religious believers, not democratic citizens.”

So at least Stephens is consistent in the condescending fashion that he writes about presidents of the United States.

There is truly nothing to fear about the upcoming Trump presidency. For Israel there are great days ahead, with the looming fear of the Obama foreign-policy descending on the neck of the Jewish state about to be removed. We gave Mr. Obama a chance to prove himself, and he failed. Why doesn’t Trump deserve the same opportunity?