American conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro was in the Israel National News-Arutz Sheva studio for a very special interview that touched on many topics.

When asked if liberals and progressives are “the enemy,” Shapiro told former Israel Hayom editor-in-chief Boaz Bismuth: “I don’t think that liberals and progressives are the enemy as people but I think that the ideas of liberals and progressives are extraordinarily destructive to the social fabric in the United States.”

“In order to have a functioning country you have to have a common philosophy, you have to have a common culture, and you have to have a common history. Progressives in the United States are fighting against all three of these things,” he says.

Shapiro explains that to have a culture, a nation has to have a set of values or ideals.

“When it comes to the culture of the United States that sort of requires you to at least speak the same language. You have to speak in terms of facts. And in the United States you have open debate over whether men and women exist caused by the left. It’s going to be tough to have a conversation with people when words have no meaning. When it comes to history, the left in the United States believes that the history of the United States is an unending series of calamities filled with brutality and evil. And again, you can’t have a nation built that way,” he says.

“The ideas of progressives are extraordinarily dangerous to the social fabric in any country,” he adds.

Is is possible today for progressivism and conservatism to go hand-in-hand as was the case at times in the 20th century?

“The idea that the right and left can’t have a conversation anymore that is a new thing,” Shapiro says. “The idea that if you are on the left you literally can’t get in the same room with somebody on the right and have an open conversation without attempting to wreck the person on camera, that’s a major problem.”

He sees a bleak future if “traditional liberals” continue to take their marching orders from the radical left and move increasingly away from the center-left of the political spectrum, where they used to reside.

“The future of the United States rests not on whether people like me speak. It’s really more on whether traditional liberals, people who disagree with me on taxes, on healthcare, whether those people are willing to tell the hard left it’s still important to have a conversation with people like me, or whether they decide they would rather get their policy done by working with the people on the left and then shutting the door on everybody else. A lot of liberals have been intimidated into believing that if they even have a conversation with people on the other side of the isle, this makes them bad. It’s more important to get done what they need to get done in terms of ramming the United States to the left, even if that means ending debate before it begins.”

Shapiro recalls that he entered into political commentary because of defending Israel. He was a philosophy major at UCLA and saw an editorial comparing former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Adolf Eichmann.

“I walked into the [newspaper] office and starting writing a column that turned into a syndicated column that turned into a career,” he says.

The left has only become even more anti-Israel since then, he notes.

“The left in the United States has now been taken over by a sort of ideology that suggests that anything that is successful must be inherently discriminatory and because Israel is successful it’s more discriminatory. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the left’s ideas on Israel began to shift immediately upon Israel winning the Six Day War. Until then Israel was the darling of the left,” Shapiro says.

“What I’m worried about is the rising generation tends to be more progressive. What we’ve watched is that these people tend to come into jobs and then restructure the job. They tend to come into their companies and restructure the company around them. It’s not that they come into institutions and these institutions civilize them, which is normally the way people grow up instead.”

He also believes that many pro-Israel students on American campuses don’t know how to defend Israel or are intimidated by their progressive beliefs.

“The number of people on campus who care about Israel is very low and the people who defend Israel don’t know how to do it. They tend to be very shy about defending Israel, specifically because in order to defend Israel you have to defend principles a lot of people on the soft left are uncomfortable with. You have to defend nationalism, you have to defend religion,” Shapiro says. “Israel is losing the left in America but I don’t think that has to do with Israel. That has to do with the left, the left has gotten significantly more radical over time. The left in America is starting to look a lot like Jeremy Corbyn’s left in Great Britain.”

On the topic of transgender people, Shapiro believes it is part of “secularism as a religion.”

“Gender dysphoria is an actual psychological condition. It’s in the DSM 5. What the left has decided is that if you believe you are a member of the opposite sex, we all have to treat you as a member of the opposite sex, and in fact you are a member of the opposite sex. Once a society decides that standards of actual truth – the meaning of words – it’s gone too far, transgender ideology is violative of biology, it’s violative of reason, it’s violative of basic language,” he says. “What that is in the end is an attempt to cudgel you into joining a particular cult. You have to have skin in the game and the way you demonstrate you have skin in the game is by saying nonsensical things over and over… If you see secularism as a religion, and saying your pronouns as a ritual, then it makes a lot more sense than than the idea that men can be women and women can be men.”

There's an instinctive human drive to reject all this stuff because it's the evidence of your own eyes. Don't reject the evidence of your own eyes in the name of ridiculous gender ideology that the left likes to propose as a measure of equality.”

Shapiro sees modern liberalism as alienating traditional liberals and increasingly pushing them to the right.

“You’re seeing liberals being driven into the conservative camp, people like Elon Musk [who] is not a conservative. He’s been driven into the arms of people on the right simply because the left has decided that if you are not willing to repeat all these mantras you can’t sit at the the table. If you shrink your table enough there won’t be a lot of people at your table anymore.”

If progressives don’t believe in "In G-d We Trust”, as it says on American money, who do they trust?

“The government, the experts, you trust the experts always. And if the experts blow it, you trust them even more. It's an amazing double down that they've done,” Shapiro explains.

“The experts failed on all of these things that they said that they could fix and simultaneously they told you that your moral system is wrong and they're the experts on morality as well. You wonder why people are ticked off – that's why people are ticked off. But they have no capacity to really see it.”

For him, this is more evidence that progressive political elites are out of touch with ordinary Americans.

“There's a major disconnect between the political class on the left [in the United States] and the people they're purporting to represent,” he says.

He sees certain parallels with Israeli society.

“It's a mistake to treat any population in a free society as though it's incapable of getting ahead. From what I’ve seen in Israel, there's a mistake that the Israeli government has recently been making a lot in its treatment of the Arab population as though affirmative action and more social spending is necessary and just and good because it's somehow going to create layers of of success in Arab populations in Israel. I doubt it's going to work for any population, whether you're talking about Arabs in Israel, whether you're talking about Black and Hispanic Americans, you have to treat everybody by the same rules and the same rules of success apply literally everywhere. If you get a job, if you get an education, you do these things, you're going to be successful in a free society, and that's true in Israel as well for Arabs who have all the same rights that Jews do in in the State of Israel with regard to these things.”

When asked about why Jews in America vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats, even after the presidency of Barack Obama and anti-Israel Squad Democrats in Congress, he notes that “this is the number one question that I always get asked on college campuses.”

“The answer is most [American] Jews are not particularly Jewish in identity. If you ask a Jew what's your core identity they'll say you know I like social justice and I’m very concerned with the issues of the world –Tikkun Olam – but not in the actual traditional sense,” he says.

“The idea is that most Jews in the United States are not religious. What [they] really are is a secular leftist who really doesn't believe in G-d but feel some sort of very basic cultural solidarity that focuses on a particular history with with bagels and and lox and all the rest of this that's not going to give you any sense of identity with the State of Israel. This is a big mistake that a lot of Republican politicians make with the Jewish population in America. They'll go to a Reconstructionist synagogue and they'll talk about Israel as though this is going to be a resonant issue. Israel is like number 15 on the list for these folks and even when it comes to Israel, they think of Israel in the same way that secular leftists think of Israel on the very progressive left.”

He notes that if you look at the voting patterns of Orthodox Jews in America, around 85 to 90 percent vote Republican and the less religious Jews get, the bigger the percentage of Jews voting Democratic gets.

“Are you talking about ethnically Jewish voters, or are you talking about self-identified Jews, or are you talking about people who actually practice Judaism? People who actually practice Judaism tend to care a lot about Israel. People who don't practice Judaism don't tend to care a lot about Israel. It's not really a mystery.”

“There are lots of Jews who are not Zionists in the United States. For them it's actually sort of embarrassing. The reason that a lot of progressive Jews identify as Jewish is just so that they don't have to identify as white because if you're white in the United States then this means that you're part of the oppressor class but if you say that you're a progressive Jew then you can dissociate from the rest of the Jews and you can say but I’m the good Jew.”

In terms of the 2024 US presidential election, Shapiro, who famously as a conservative did not vote for Trump in 2016, says he hopes that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis get the Republican nomination and not Trump.

Shapiro says DeSantis is “terrific. He’s wonderful.” Although he also praises Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and hopes they are primary candidates.

“There are a bunch of candidates I think are really good on the right side of the aisle. I think that Donald Trump has an enormous amount of baggage. I think that he would have the toughest time beating a Democrat.”

When asked if he believes the 2020 election was stolen as Trump claims, he replies:

“You can talk about how the election rules were were biased, you can talk about the mail in ballots. Were ballots falsified on mass? No. The the evidence is just not there for that. Donald Trump's own people did not allege that in court. He alleges it now. The evidence again is not present for that. There are a lot of things that can be said about the way the election was conducted, again a lot of the rules changed because of COVID, some of those rule changes were really problematic legally speaking… but the the idea that hundreds of thousands of ballots were fabricated on behalf of Joe Biden or that a bunch of pro-Trump ballots just got dumped in a river somewhere. There's no evidence to that effect that I've seen whatsoever.”

In terms of the upcoming Israeli elections in November, Shapiro says that if former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns as prime minister, he feels that it’s good news for the country.

“The coalition government that was established simply in opposition to Prime Minister Netanyahu was obviously going to fall apart. It was only a question of when it was going to fall apart, literally the only thing holding it together was how much people disliked Benjamin Netanyahu. There's been this this sort of log jam at the top of Israeli politics for a long time and it's been exacerbated by of course the prosecutions of Prime Minister Netanyahu,” he says. “If Israel wishes to be governed in any way it's got to be governed on the basis of an agenda and the agenda can't just be we don't like Bibi Netanyahu.”