The Hobson's choice for president
May 8, 2020
The Jewish community in America finds itself in a dilemma concerning the 2020 presidential election. On one hand, President Trump has been a strong ally and friend of Israel. He understands the necessity of Israel moving forward in consolidating its security position and normalizing its relationship with the Sunni Arab world.
In the face of Iranian aggression and Palestinian intransigence regarding the peace negotiations, the Trump administration realistically recognized the nuclear and security threat posed by Iran and the implausibility of a two-state solution in the foreseeable future.
His moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem has for all practical purposes taken the issue of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem off the negotiating table. He has recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and the forthcoming Israeli extension of sovereignty over the Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley as a “fait accompli.”
These policy decisions place President Trump among the heroes of the Jewish Renaissance and the historic and ongoing “Shevat Tzion” (Return to Zion).
However, many of his domestic policies have not found favor with a significant majority in the American Jewish community. His handling of the immigration fiasco, his position on gun control (I prefer the use of the word “regulation”), his opposition to women’s reproductive rights, climate change, the increase in anti-Semitic and other hate crimes inspired by both the radical left and the radical right have not convinced many Jewish American citizens that he is worthy of a second term as president.
Further complicating support for the president’s re-election are his political style, narcissism and not so subtle lust for power. If re-elected to a second term he will no longer have the “burden” of standing again for election.
With no other election to face, the president’s personal style, erratic behavior and off-the-cuff and changing policy statements, along with degrading his own advisors and ignoring the intelligence services, could morph into actions and policies detrimental to our national security and our democratic institutions.
On the other hand, a Biden presidency will be faced with unrelenting political pressure from radical and extreme left Democrats who have embraced anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism as part of policy positions, based on utterly false theories of intersectionality. Mr. Biden has already indicated a backward slide on the U.S unambiguous position that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He has publicly announced that he will re-open the Palestinian consulate in East Jerusalem without any preconditions for the Palestinian Authority returning to bilateral peace negotiations with Israel.
Mr. Biden acknowledges that he cannot win the general election without the support of the radical left represented by the Sanders/Warren wing of the Democratic Party, both of whom curried favor and support with known congressional anti-Semites during the primaries. While both have endorsed Mr. Biden, both will put extreme pressure on Mr. Biden to embrace an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic platform at the Convention in the interest of party unity.
The extreme left has tried to eliminate Jewish participation in promoting policy positions dear to most Jewish American hearts, including the women’s rights for equality, reproduction and freedom from sexual harassment in all its forms, and compassion for undocumented refugees
The Jewish community has been in the forefront for more than 75 years in the fight for racial and minority equality. Yet by branding Jews as white, advantaged, privileged, and as oppressors, the extreme left has tried to alienate and separate us from these causes.
The political, economic and social problems facing America after the pandemic ends (if it does) are gargantuan. Are these the “best qualified” candidates the “two great American political parties” can come up with?
The choice facing the American Jewish community in the upcoming presidential election is the most accurate and realistic example of a “Hobson’s choice!” (A Hobson’s choice is a choice of taking what is available or nothing at all.)
If you wish to comment or respond you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner.
Mel Pearlman holds B.S. & M.S. degrees in physics as well as a J.D. degree and initially came to Florida in 1966 to work on the Gemini and Apollo space programs. He has practiced law in Central Florida since 1972. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; was a charter board member, first vice president and pro-bono legal counsel of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as holding many other community leadership positions.