Religion, peace and politics

Whoever is the next president will be able to improve upon his or her predecessor’s performance so long as they wake up in the morning and are breathing.

Larry Gordon,

OpEds Larry Gordon
Larry Gordon

Forget about change that we can believe in. America is about to undergo a fundamental change that can re-channel the direction of our country. Things might get better on numerous levels. But there is also a chance they will get worse. And it’s not just about U.S. policy on Israel. It is about the long-term emotional and financial health of the country.

For now, the political discourse has tumbled to a new low. While Donald Trump may indeed become the Republican nominee for president, he will need a serious crash course in how to be both a statesman and a gentleman. That Senators Rubio and Cruz—especially Rubio—had to lash out at Trump on his own level unfortunately sent the seriousness of what is at stake here crashing to the basement.

An observer said over the weekend that one of the oddities of this year’s political jockeying for electoral position is that the Jewish candidate, Bernie Sanders, has non-Jewish grandchildren, while Donald Trump, one of the non-Jewish candidates, has Jewish grandchildren. And while we are aware that there is no such thing as being half-Jewish, if there were, Hillary Clinton’s grandchild would fall into that category.

For Hillary, the Jewishness of her son-in-law is essentially irrelevant. For Mr. Sanders, the only mention of his Jewishness was during his appearance on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago. Other than that, it is not just irrelevant but considered unmentionable by anyone in the Sanders campaign or, for that matter, in the press—which usually covers these things with aggressive and curious vigor.

For Donald Trump, the Jewishness of his daughter and son-in-law are a point of apparent pride. As it turns out, so far it’s Jared Kushner’s Jewishness that may provide some assurances that relations between a President Trump president and Israel will be good, healthy, and productive. Talk about personality-driven politics.

For now, if Trump continues to rack up victories, the Republican Party might have to rethink or redefine the nature of its existence. In the aftermath of Super Tuesday and the extensive Trump victories, it might be time to begin getting a grasp on things and to make the very best of what looks like a bad situation.

Conventional political wisdom says that Trump cannot beat Clinton in November, for a variety of reasons. Trump might be smart—and we know that because he says so repeatedly—but he is no match for Hillary Clinton’s depth of experience and coyness.

So there are really two things at stake here that will have to be dealt with over the short term: What if Hillary wins? And what if Trump wins? Both come with a plethora of intriguing problems.

If we have learned anything from Mr. Obama, it’s that you can consistently spearhead failed policies in any number of arenas and survive—as long as you declare them successful.
Luckily we have a new barometer by which we can measure things of this nature. And that is whether the next president, regardless of who it might be, will be better or worse than Barack Obama. If we have learned anything from Mr. Obama, it’s that you can consistently spearhead failed policies in any number of arenas and survive—as long as you declare them successful. According to those ground rules, whoever is the next president will be able to improve upon his or her predecessor’s performance so long as they wake up in the morning and are breathing.

Most of us are concerned about future U.S.–Israel policy, and there is always some uncertainty and anxiety when administrations in DC change. While Trump will be somewhat unpredictable, recent revelations of Clinton e‑mails demonstrate that we possibly need not be as concerned as we thought we might have to be.

Some of the recent Clinton e‑mails released by the State Department detailed plans for the Middle East that Hillary wanted to pursue as secretary of state but could not, due to conditions on the ground. Her central points that impact but also favor Israel are that the PA cease incitement in their schools, textbooks, and media, and that Israel be allowed to continue building in what is commonly called the settlement blocs. Additional Clinton innovation calls for financial incentives for Jews to move out of areas the U.S. considers part of a future Palestinian state.

The good news is that these central points are non-starters. The Palestinian Authority cannot, by its very nature, cease or even curtail incitement against Israel. And they will certainly never agree to continued building by Israel in any part of Judea and Samaria. Additionally, the past and perhaps future Clinton plan calls for shared sovereignty, or internationalization, of Jerusalem. That, too, is nothing more than a fictional waste of time.

So unless something drastic happens, it is going to be Clinton or Trump. Let’s fasten our seat belts. With either one, it’s going to be quite a ride.

Humanizing Hamas To Death

It was impossible to resist the story about Rambam Hospital in Israel training Arab doctors from terrorist-controlled Gaza in the latest medical innovations and advanced technology so they can treat children with kidney diseases in Gaza.

Let’s spell it out. Hamas, determined to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible with missiles and bombs, has among their population an inordinate number of children with kidney disease who require dialysis or, in some cases, transplants. Israel, being the humanitarian country that it is, has long accepted Arab patients from Gaza in need of modern medical assistance. Even in the summer of 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, as Israeli soldiers and citizens alike were targets, being injured and killed, Arabs were allowed to cross from Gaza into Israel if there was a pressing medical emergency.

During this past year, relatives of Ismail Haniya, the infamous terror merchant of Gaza, were permitted into Israel for treatment in Israel’s hospitals. Also, the lead player of incitement against Israel, Mahmoud Abbas, had his wife tested at an Israeli hospital in 2015.

I know it sounds insane, and there is no other country in the world that would conduct itself in this manner. On an emotional level, you have to wonder: what is wrong with Israel? On an intellectual level, however, you have to marvel at how Israel maintains a standard that does not exist anywhere else in the world. And we cannot even say that Israel has an alternate agenda, that they are hoping to curry favor with the international community. That’s not it. Despite its humanitarianism, Israel continues to be vilified and condemned by the UN, the European Union, and others. So there is no agenda other than to treat people with dignity and decency and to save children’s lives.

Hamas dispenses violence and murder; Israel responds with kindness and care. Who else is like this people Israel?

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