Israelis, empowered by their pro-Israeli political class, have been thriving in recent years. Americans, on the other hand, distracted by their pro-Israeli political class, not so much …
For many years, I’ve been arguing that Americans should pay Israelis the compliment of studying what works for them and trying it for ourselves here in America. In contrast, the GOP establishment has instead attempted to outsource Americans’ natural feelings of patriotism to the small, far-off country of Israel, while elites practice profitable globalism at home.
Trump’s Triumphs Demolish Netanyahu’s Fortress GOP Strategy
The N.Y. tycoon is decimating the three legs of blanket Republican support for Israel: Evangelicals, Jews and interventionist hawks.
In their Super Tuesday speeches, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio tried to use an Israel hammer to bash Donald Trump. Cruz sneeringly lambasted him for saying he would remain “neutral” while Rubio trounced Trump for trying to stay “impartial”, as his audience booed accordingly. And Trump? Trump was racking up victories, amassing delegates and laughing all the way to the top of the Republican presidential field.
In this way, the New York billionaire is decimating the conventional wisdom, one of many, that in 2016, total and unconditional support for Israel is a prerequisite for any aspiring GOP candidate wishing to run for president; that such a pledge of allegiance to Israel, in general, and to Benjamin Netanyahu, in particular, is a threshold requirement for gaining the support of Evangelicals, who set the tone during primary season; …
But exactly a year after Netanyahu took this logic to its extreme and stood on the podium of Congress as Leader of the Republican opposition to President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, the conception is falling apart. The notion that the Republican Party is a monolithic bastion of support that will withstand the test of time is evaporating. … Faced with the Trump phenomenon, Netanyahu’s Fortress GOP strategy is collapsing like a house of cards.
And it doesn’t really make that much difference whether Trump is a “phony” who is pulling the wool over the GOP’s innocent eyes, as former presidential contender Mitt Romney asserted in his astonishingly harsh speech on Thursday, or whether Trump has simply exposed the dark subterranean streams of jingoism and prejudice and resentment of Jews that were there all along.
If Trump is the Republican candidate, never mind if he’s elected president, Israel’s place in American politics and possibly around the world will be put in question. But if Romney’s scary portrayal of Trump is even half true, that should be the least of our worries.
In the outgoing dogmatic GOP, Trump’s equivocations would have earned him a place in the all-time rogues gallery of Enemies of the Jewish People, somewhere between Obama and Father Coughlin. Today, Evangelicals shrug them off and continue to vote for Trump, as they did this week in Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.
Every time Cruz and Rubio try to hit Trump over the head with an Israel club and nothing happens, it is Israel’s weakness that is exposed. Every time Trump wins a party primary without challenge from his supporters, another nail is driven into the coffin of the unshakeable alliance between Israel and America’s deep right.
And it’s not as if Trump is really anti-Israel; hardly. Like in most other complex policy issues on which he has spoken, Trump is mainly incoherent, improvising as he goes along, shooting from the lip, saying one thing one day and the opposite the next. He is “totally a friend” of Israel, Obama is “the most horrible president ever” for Israel, and the Iran deal is a joke. But Trump refuses to acknowledge United Jerusalem, wants to remain “neutral” so that he can broker a peace deal with the Palestinians, which is a challenge worthy of a master dealmaker like him. If he fails, he’s already made clear, Israel will be to blame.
Trump not only diverts the Republican leadership from uniform automatic support for Netanyahu, he is destroying the internal coalition that was the lynchpin of the party’s strong pro-Israel stance. Evangelical support for Trump has already sparked an internal rupture, which has some experts declaring the death of America’s Religious Right. …
If Trump becomes their candidate, the GOP will lose its most hawkish, most neoconservative and most pro-Israel secular elements as well. They [neocons] are repelled not only by his indecipherable positions on Israel but also by his harsh criticism of George Bush and the Iraq War, his undisguised adulation of dictators for Vladimir Putin to Bashar Assad, his all round belligerence and his neo-isolationist vision of making America great again within its hermetically sealed walls.
The third leg of the GOP’s pro-Israel array that Trump is eviscerating are the Jews. Although Sheldon Adelson’s ongoing silence has caused some people to suspect he will end up supporting Trump, other big time Jewish donors, including hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, have placed their money on his currently losing rivals. And the Republican hope that 2016 will finally see the long awaited migration of Jews disappointed by Obama to the GOP is dashed once again. Trump hardly stands a chance of garnering 30% of the Jewish vote, as Romney did in 2012, never mind the 40% that Rubio might reasonably be expected to receive. He’s more likely to revert the GOP’s Jewish vote in the direction of the 11% that George Bush Sr. got in 1992, or the 10% that Barry Goldwater received in 1964. …
The Jews will run away from Trump because he scares them. Because his demagoguery is ominous, his willingness to slash and burn anyone standing in his way is disturbing, his tendency to incite his supporters against other ethnic groups from rapist Mexicans to terrorist Muslims, is a source of deep anxiety. Beneath the great wave of popular support for Trump one can make out with increasing clarity the dark undercurrents of rage and resentment and xenophobia that is often seen morphing into White supremacism and abhorrence of African Americans and then, on the outskirts, bad old hatred of the Jews. The allusions to Germany in the 1930’s are absurd, no doubt, but nonetheless surfacing with ever-increasing frequency.