Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Donald Trump: Friend of the Jews and Israel

 

October 16, 2020



“The Jews have endured terrible persecution, and you know that we’ve all read it. We’ve studied it. They’ve gone through a lot and those seeking their destruction … we will seek their destruction.” President Trump said this after the horrific synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway. No American president ever aligned himself so fully with the Jewish people or committed himself so clearly to their protection and survival. He has lived this commitment in many ways, before and after those tragic events.

President Trump’s relationship with the Jewish community goes back a long way, and not only because he has a Jewish daughter and Jewish grandchildren. He was Grand Marshall of New York’s Israel Day Parade in 2004, 11 years before running for president. He surrounded himself with Jews in his personal life and his businesses.

President Trump is a strategic thinker. He had to be to succeed in dog-eat-dog New York real estate. His strategic thinking paid off, recently, in treaties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the first new accords between Israel and Arab nations in 26 years. The agreements did not emerge quickly or spontaneously.

Donald Trump made his first foreign trip as president to Saudi Arabia, in 2017, meeting with Arab Muslim leaders to form a common front against ISIS and Iran, the region’s greatest long-term threat. On that same trip, he became the first sitting U.S. president to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. He fulfilled a promise that many U.S. presidents made and failed to keep, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s “eternal capital” and moving the U.S. Embassy there, ignoring the apocalyptic predictions of liberal naysayers.

For 50 years the “conventional wisdom” was that peace in the Middle East required a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This elevated the Palestinians and gave them an effective veto on normalizing relations between Israel and Arab countries. President Trump upended conventional wisdom. He understood that Palestinians leaders must be taught the concept of a depreciating asset and made to realize that the longer they delay making peace with Israel, the more it will cost them.

President Trump ended a long-standing U.S. practice of pressuring Israel for concessions in the hope of getting the Palestinians to negotiate. He understood that pragmatic Arab countries, including the UAE and Bahrain, would realize they stand to gain more from normalized relations with Israel than from supporting the defiantly rejectionist Palestinians, as leaders of Egypt and Jordan realized decades ago. He knows that their fear of Iran outweighs their antipathy toward Israel.

While President Trump’s foreign policy is not just for Israel’s benefit, the game of 3-dimensional geopolitical chess he is playing has cured much of the damage inflicted on Israel by the Obama-Biden administration. They made a desperate, cowardly nuclear deal with Iran, which threatens Israel with ballistic missiles, and gave the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism $150 billion, including $1.8 billion in cash. President Trump tore up that unverifiable deal, which many people believe Iran is violating, and imposed new sanctions on Iran. In contrast, the Obama-Biden administration, on its way out of office, engineered a UN resolution denying Jewish rights to Jerusalem’s holy sites.

In February, I was invited, by the Republican Women’s Network of Brevard County, to make a presentation on President Trump and Israel. Here are things I mentioned:

He recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved our embassy there.

He tore up the Obama-Biden Iran nuclear deal and imposed sanctions instead.

He recognized Israeli sovereignty over the strategic Golan Heights.

He signed the Taylor Force Act, eliminating U.S. funding of Palestinian Authority subsidies to terrorists and their families. (former Vice President Joe Biden favors restoring full aid to the Palestinians without conditions.)

He increased military cooperation with Israel, including new weapons systems.

He issued a creative proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

He issued an executive order that equates anti-Israel policies with anti-Semitism and withholds U.S. funds from colleges and universities that promote boycotts of Israel.

Professor Alan Dershowitz, a lifelong liberal, commenting on the executive order, said that there has been “No more important event to turn universities away from being bastions of hatred and discrimination … It is a game changer. It will go down in history as one of the most important events in the 2,000-year battle against anti-Semitism …”

The actions I listed should be enough to persuade more Jews to vote for President Trump in November. I wish more American Jews appreciated President Trump as much as many Jewish Israelis whom my wife and I met during a trip to Israel in 2018. I wore my MAGA hat everywhere. My wife often wore a Trump-Pence t-shirt. We got hugs in the streets, discounts in stores, and free drinks in restaurants.

Donald Trump has done more than any president to support Jews in the U.S. and to safeguard the State of Israel, where many of us have relatives and friends and where many American Jews visit as tourists or students. He deserves our votes in November.

Rabbi Sanford Olshansky is a member of the national Leadership Circle of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

 

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