Dani Dayan: Trump was a political miracle for Israel but a car wreck for the US

Former Consul General of Israel in New York pessimistic about the prospects of calming down political extremism in the United States.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Dani Dayan
Dani Dayan
Arutz Sheva

Dani Dayan, former Consul General of Israel in New York, told Arutz Sheva on Sunday that he was not especially surprised when he saw the violence on Capitol Hill in Washington this past Wednesday.

"I expected there to be riots after the election. As the days and weeks passed after November 3, I was pleasantly surprised that it did not happen. I did not expect the violence to manifest itself in the form of a break-in to the House of Representatives and Congress. That was one step further than I thought could happen," said Dayan, adding, "Any statement by the President or his lawyers about voter fraud in the election simply added fuel to the fire."

"I was very pessimistic, both about American society and the political system, upon my return from the US a few months ago after four years of service in New York," he acknowledged. "The United States has been characterized - and this is what made it such a great superpower - by the fact that the political mainstream included the majority of the population and moderate Republicans and Democrats knew how to cooperate to march their country forward."

"All this disappeared before the Trump administration came into power. The political and social discourse in the United States today is dictated by the extreme right and the extreme left. The political center stands helpless. The fact that Joe Biden was ultimately elected as the Democratic presidential candidate and not Bernie Sanders is a positive sign," continued Dayan.

"The big question is whether Joe Biden, at the age of 78, when in addition to the need to mend the rifts of American society he has to deal with the pandemic, the economy and other problems, will be able to demonstrate the immense leadership ability required to heal the US and American society. I am doubtful he has the ability," he added.

Dayan pointed out that Trump was very good for the people of Israel, but was problematic for the Americans. "I've said that Donald Trump was a political miracle for the State of Israel but a car wreck for American diplomacy and these two things do not contradict one another. As far as the State of Israel is concerned, he was without a doubt the best and most sympathetic President in terms of the American dividends we received during his reign. It does not contradict the fact that the discourse of culture, the accuracy of the facts and what it has done to American democracy - has been defined by me as a car wreck."

Dayan estimates that society in Israel is different than in the US and said he does not anticipate similar riots near the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem in the foreseeable future. "There is no need to panic. We are not in the same culture of violence, weapons and extremism as there is in American society."

"At the same time," he continued, "there is a lesson here that is always good to learn. The moment you do not see your political opponent as he is, but rather as a real enemy, once you believe that if he comes to power your country will be destroyed and you lose the capacity to contain it - democracy is in danger."

"We are not in that situation and it would be better if we do not reach it. The shock of what happened in the United States should teach all democracies to tone it down and find common ground instead of focusing on what separates the political parties," concluded Dayan.