Why I detest Donald Trump
June 5, 2020
In reply to Gary Schiff’s piece of May 15, 2020, “An open letter to our Jewish family and friends in America,” I can’t explain why 71percent of U.S. Jews hate Donald Trump, but I can share with you why one Jew detests him, and from that you may draw your own conclusions.
First and foremost, Americans elect a president to represent all our diverse interests and to lead our country and the world toward a better future; you on the other hand assume the role of the U.S. president is strictly to help Israeli Jews. Failing to understand the scope of our president’s responsibility, and by measuring him only on what he has or hasn’t done for Israel, is like the classic case of five blindfolded people describing an elephant by touching only one part of its body. One can easily reach a false conclusion by evaluating just a single appendage.
Second, and please open your eyes, Trump is using you to get to his evangelical base, the largest of the groups supporting him, which also includes the far right; the far, far right; the Nazis; and the Nazi sympathizers (remember, “… very fine people on both sides…”). Trump cares so little about you that if tomorrow morning the evangelicals decide, say, that Sri Lanka was the original Holy Land, Israel would be toast by the afternoon. This is a man who’s thirst for power is only outweighed by his incompetence, ignorance, racism, misogyny, corruption and dishonesty.
Let’s step back. America had long been the world leader advocating decent, honorable and noble values: caring for the poor, building for the future, applying equally the rule of law, embracing ingenuity and innovation, welcoming immigrants, fostering freedom of speech and the press, encouraging diversity, protecting the environment, lauding scientific achievements, defending the weak. A comprehensive list may be endless. (Read Emma Lazarus’ poem as it is affixed to the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor.) And American Jews have not only reaped the benefit of these noble values but, today, in fact, are major contributors, leaders and/or important supporters. And along comes a president who rips those values from the very fabric of American life — destroying the gains made by generations of real, loyal Americans with a personality cult that thrives on fostering and feeding the most hateful instincts of his followers.
Hate the blacks. Hate the immigrants. Urge physical and verbal attacks on nonsupporters. Humiliate the handicapped and challenged. Debase and wantonly abuse women. Attack free speech. Playground bully. Advocate public disobedience. Divisive. Conspiracy theorist. Vindictive. Collude to remain in power. Arrogance to mask low self-esteem. Eschew compassion. Self-deal and self-enrich. Protect loyalist criminals. Visionless. Lie. Lie. And Lie.
Are these the values we should cherish and admire? Should we Jews abandon all that we’ve gained from and done for America solely because he supports Israel? And supports Israel only for his personal political advantage? And generates unworkable plans that will not bring peace to Israel but will placate his base?
It is true that many admire the former president, Obama, because of what he wanted to do domestically by focusing on traditional American values with a vision of a better America and a better world. Many, like me, intensely dislike him because of his anti-Israel policies. But he was honest. Had class. He believed what he was doing was moral. He took no action solely to support his ego, arrogance or to remain in power. Yes, I agree, some of Trump’s actions have undone the Obama harm to our beloved Israel, but at what price?
Jews are, generally speaking, neither naïve nor unaware — generations of our people have historically suffered, worldwide, at the hands of haters and murderers. Are today’s Israelis blind to the temporary gains they get from the king and dictator wannabe? Would the heroic founders of Israel — the Ben Gurions, the Weitzmans, the Meirs — not see through the charade? Is it only Israel’s present-day generation that has no insight and is willing to sell itself cheaply to a narcissistic lover who will leave whenever convenient?
Make no mistake, America’s Jews greatly love Israel, but love the old America more. They will fight to retain the values of former leaders and administrations. They will deplore the conduct of the current president, his administration and his toadies. They will be Conservative and Reform and non-observant. They will hope and pray for a better society with its enviable, high and honorable moral values. They will hope and pray that the totally unpredictable and irascible Trump not release or encourage his rightwing base to attack the Jewish population at some future time. And they recognize evil when they see it.
And, if we are the Chosen People and Hashem wants us to bring light to all the nations, why have you chosen to idolize the 21st century’s purveyor of hate and darkness?
The real question to ask is not why 71 percent of American Jews hate Trump, but why are 71 percent of Israelis and 29 percent of the American Jews so misguided?