American Jews and Israel in the Trump Era

American Jews mostly supported the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton that would have significantly increased immigration from Muslim conflict zones.

Dr. Aviel Sheyin-Stevens, | updated: 08:30

OpEds US President Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump
US President Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump
Credit: INN:AS

Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency, most non-Orthodox American Jews, the majority of US Jews, generally ignore his accomplishments, mischaracterize them as dangerous, or ascribe them to other people.

In March 2019, President Trump officially recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. liberal American Jews essentially ignored this historic event; however, many claimed it would harm the American Jewish community and endanger its future. This ingratitude comes from the hatred many liberal American Jews have for Trump.

In October 2018, five months after President Trump moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he described as the “eternal capital of the Jewish people,” the Jewish Federations of North America held their annual General Assembly in Tel Aviv, instead of Jerusalem. An astonishing act of insanity.
In October 2018, five months after President Trump moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he described as the “eternal capital of the Jewish people,” the Jewish Federations of North America held their annual General Assembly in Tel Aviv, instead of Jerusalem. An astonishing act of insanity.

After Trump was elected US president, some Reform Jews sat shiva to mourn Hillary Clinton’s defeat as if it was a death in the family, making religion out of politics. Some Conservative and Reform synagogues held ‎mourning services bewailing the advent of fascism in America. A Conservative ‎rabbi in New York compared the Trump victory to the pre-Holocaust rise of ‎Nazism.‎ The essence of politics is persuasion; not hysterics.

When President Barack Obama delivered his last State of the Union Address to Congress in 2016, the then-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley gave the official Republican response. Haley essentially ignored providing a conservative alternative to Obama’s address that focused on socializing healthcare, open borders, the man-made climate change hoax, etc., while attacking a candidate in her own party’s primaries campaign: Donald Trump.

Trump campaigned on stopping immigration from six or so Muslim-majority countries with vetting challenges. Haley has a penchant for open borders for Muslims.

A suitable immigration policy should benefit current citizens and residents, or should not impact them negatively. Non-Orthodox American Jews generally oppose Trump for attempting to implement such immigration policy.

After Israel, the US has the largest Jewish population in the world. Despite credible evidence that Islamic terrorists infiltrate migrants from Muslim conflict zones, American Jews have been at the forefront of the opposition to the Trump administration’s policy to pause immigration for a while, particularly from six Muslim countries with vetting challenges. In America, anti-Semitic attacks are generally by Muslims or radical liberals; however, American Jews mostly supported the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton that would have significantly increase immigration from Muslim conflict zones.

Anti-Jewish sentiment is endemic in the Muslim world. According to Pew Research Center, all Muslims in Lebanon, and 99% of Jordanians have a very unfavorable view of Jews. Large majorities of Moroccans, Indonesians, Pakistanis and Turks, along with Muslims in various countries across the world, also view Jews unfavorably.

After Trump won the 2016 presidential election, he nominated Haley to be US Ambassador to the United Nations. In October 2018, Haley announced that she was resigning her position, effective at the end of 2018.

Haley’s sudden resignation from the Trump administration distressed many Israelis and American Jews, who showered her with gratitude well in excess of the gratitude they showed her boss, Trump. Excessive gratitude to Haley is ingratitude to Trump. Israelis ascribing Trump’s policies to Haley could have been influenced by their seeing Israeli unelected officials cancel government decisions, and dictate policies to the government. American Jews praising Haley for Trump’s UN policy displayed their hatred for Trump.

In America, unelected officials do not make policies. America’s UN Ambassadors do not implement their own foreign policies; they implement the president’s foreign policies.

Susan Rice and Samantha Power, President Obama’s anti-Israel UN ambassadors, were not implementing their own policies when they made hostile statements and took hostile actions against Israel. They were acting and speaking as representatives of their boss, Obama. In the same manner, in defending Israel by her actions and her statements, Haley was a representative of the policies of her boss, President Trump. It was not Haley that ran for the presidency on a foreign policy platform favoring the US-Israel alliance. It was Trump that ran on that foreign policy platform.

Trump’s decision to remove the US from the antisemitic UN Human Rights Council which Obama joined despite its open bigotry against Jews; Trump’s ending of funding to the genocidal, antisemitic UN Refugee Works Agency for the Palestinians (UNRWA), which Obama expanded; Trump’s decision to cut funding to the terrorist-financing Palestinian Authority; which Obama increased; Trump’s closing the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington, which Obama upgraded; etc.; were moves of historic significance in the fight against antisemitism and for Jewish rights.

After the largest massacre of Jews in US history, Franklin Foer wrote in his “Prayer for Squirrel Hill, and for American Jewry,” posted at the website of the Atlantic Monthly, that, “Any strategy for enhancing the security of American Jewry should involve shunning [President] Trump’s Jewish enablers. Their money should be refused, their presence in synagogues not welcome. They have placed our community in danger.”

Thus, in the shadow of the synagogue massacre, Foer declared war on his fellow American Jews. About 25% of American Jewish voters supported Trump in 2016, and about the same 25% voted Republican in the 2018 midterm election. Foer wants them all ostracized, claiming they are dangerous. His statement was also a declaration of war against Israeli Jews. Foer and his radical American Jewish comrades hate Trump, but Israeli Jews support him. More than 75% of Israeli Jews consider Trump a great friend.

GQ magazine’s Julia Ioffe made clear the hatred these radical left-wing/anti-Trump American Jews have toward Israel. Ioffe posted the following on Twitter: “And a word to my fellow American Jews: This president makes this [massacre] possible. Here. Where you live. I hope the embassy move over there, where you don’t live was worth it.”

In other words, Trump’s support for Israel enables the persecution of American Jews. By supporting Trump for supporting Israel, Republican Jews and Israeli Jews enabled the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

Israel has an interest in working in alliance with America to counter common threats. Trump shares this interest, and has acted to advance it on several fronts.

Since Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish life and faith for 3,000 years, it is proof that Israel is not a colonial implant and that Jews are the native people of the land. By refusing to recognize Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem, the US joined the rest of the world in claiming that Jews are foreigners in their historic homeland. Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and his subsequent decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Golan renunciated this long-standing bigotry against the Jewish people.

Obama not only refused to transfer the US Embassy to Jerusalem, he rejected even symbolic acceptance of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. The Obama State Department erased all the captions on archival photos of American dignitaries in Jerusalem that referred to the location as Jerusalem, Israel; demonstrating a deep-seated hostility and bigotry to the history of the Jewish people.

Trump has spoken far more seriously about antisemitism and the need to combat it than Obama ever has. In January 2015, an Islamic terrorist held Jews hostage and massacred some at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris. Obama refused to acknowledge that it was an antisemitic attack and that the victims were killed because they were Jews. Instead he referred to them as “a bunch of folks in a deli.”

Following the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Obama issued a statement that once again made no mention that the victims were Jews, and that they were killed because they were Jews. He tweeted that: “All of us have to fight the rise of anti-Semitism and hateful rhetoric against those who look, love or pray differently.”

On the day of the synagogue massacre, Trump called it “an anti-Semitic act,” and said, “Anti-Semitism and the widespread persecution of Jews represents one of the ugliest and darkest features of human history. The vile, hate-filled poison of anti-Semitism must be condemned and confronted everywhere and anywhere it appears. There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America or for any form of religious or racial hatred or prejudice.” Trump stated the point more forcefully same day: “This evil antisemitic attack is an assault on all of us. It’s an assault on humanity. It will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of antisemitism from the world. The scourge of antisemitism cannot be ignored, cannot be tolerated and cannot be allowed to continue.”

As Prime Minister Netanyahu noted, no non-Israeli leader has ever made such a strong commitment as President Trump to fight Jew-hatred.

No Jewish interest is served by opposing the friendliest president American Jews have had. No Jewish interest is served by weakening the president most supportive of Israel in the history of US-Israel relations. Far from serving  American Jewry, these Jewish Trump-haters are harming the American Jewish community and endangering its future.

Dr. Sheyin-Stevens is a Registered Patent Attorney based in Florida, USA. He earned his Doctorate in Law from the University of Miami.