President Trump gave to Israel all she could wish for; he hoped that in return, the Jews would give him America to rule another term. A simple give-and-take, but it didn’t work out as intended. If he were to run for the presidency of Israel, he would have it. If Brooklyn were to decide who’d inhabit the White House, he would be the Chosen one. But Trump’s plan to bribe US Jews by bearing gifts to Israel failed completely.
East Europeans define the difference between Jews and Hungarians (or Poles) as follows. All of these would sell their grandmother for a fistful of coins; but only a Jew would deliver. This non-delivery of America will be remembered by future US presidents. Perhaps we witness a defining moment for the downturn in American support of Israel, in direct contradiction to the main thesis of our colleague Philip Giraldi who said this week that “Israel’s Power Is Unlimited”. Why did it happen? The US Jews didn’t take the bait. And now for details.
“Zionist” is a euphemism for “Jew”, isn’t it? Up to a point. Zionists, that is Jews (and others) who care and work for Israel, are strongly supportive of the US President, but Jews that matter, that is elite liberal progressive US Jews, won’t support Trump even if he were to pave Tel Aviv with golden bricks. Three out of four US Jews voted for Joe Biden, about the same proportion of Jews who voted for Barack Obama, though Obama was quite critical towards Israel, while Trump did all the Israelis could wish for.
The Jews that cared more about Israel voted for Trump, but they are powerless. They have money, they have good positions in society, but they aren’t top dogs. The Orthodox Jews are for Trump; not so much for the sake of Israel but rather for his conservative agenda. They do not like gay parades, do not care for transgenderism, and for them, Black Lives do not matter much. Social justice is not their credo.They have little influence outside their own milieu. They voted 77 to 23 for Trump. Right-wing Jews are strongly Zionist and support Trump. Their publication FrontPage Magazine is all out for Trump. But they would be for Trump even if he hadn’t left Iran agreement.
Polls of Jewish voters show that they do not care much about the steps taken by Trump in order to please Israel. They are worried about Covid pandemics, about medical care, while economics occupies fifth place in their concerns, and Israeli-related acts are at the very bottom. The only place where one can notice some positive change is Florida, where Jews actually shifted in noticeable numbers to Republicans. But even there it seems to be a part of a Latino shift rather than a separate phenomenon.
Elite Jews voted for Biden and for Dems as advised by the NY Times. For them, Trump’s friendship with PM Netanyahu was a drawback rather than an advantage. If they care for Israel, they would prefer a quieter approach as usual, within the Two States paradigm. None of what Trump did for Israel found a response in their hearts.
According to the AJC (American Jewish Committee) Biden bested Trump on every issue including handling the coronavirus pandemic, 78%-19%; combatting terrorism, 71%-26%; dealing with Iran, 71%-27%; handling crime, 72%-24%, and strengthening U.S.-Israel relations, 54%-42%. (The Republican Jewish Coalition has slightly better numbers, as they polled older Jews.) Trump has expressed frustration that his Israel decisions have not garnered greater support in the Jewish community, and many activists have spoken of “treason”.
If Trump had known in advance that courting Jews would bring neither votes nor political profit, probably he would have wasted less time in the Zionist cul-de-sac. Jews are connected with the Dem Party, remember! All Jewish congressmen but two are Democrats; strongly pro-Israel Senator Chuck Schumer, the Dem leader in the Senate, is as hostile to Trump as any man. Only those Jews really matter; only those Jews have their unique access to media, movies, art, politics, and universities. Perhaps they would act differently if Israel were in danger; but thanks to the generous politics of Donald Trump they didn’t need to worry about Israel. (Preceding American presidents were aware of this catch, and were careful not to give too much to Israel. This was also the view of Dr Kissinger).
Israeli Jews are much more pro-Trump than their American cousins. If Israel were a US state, it would be deep red. They feel gratitude to the man who moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem and recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. They appreciate his drive for normalisation with the Arab states; his non-interference in the Palestinian issue; his recognition of the Golan Heights. Being more conservative, they are on the same page as Trump on many issues. However, even before Trump, the majority of Israeli Likud-voters are and have been for the Republicans for many years. They did not like Obama and Clinton, and they do not care for Biden. A prominent high tech Israeli personality prophesied that Biden would bring disaster for Israel.
However, in Israel, too, there is a sharp division between elites and Deplorable masses. The Deplorables support Netanyahu and Trump, vote domestically for Likud or religious parties. The Deplorables rule Israel for over twenty years; Netanyahu is the Israeli Trump who succeeded to keep power.
The Israeli elites support Biden. For them Trump is a mirror image of their own PM Netanyahu, the man they hate with gusto. The problem with Israeli elites is that they have lost their ability to govern. Their parties disintegrate; their causes are lost. If there is a common cause for Israeli elites it is rejection of PM Netanyahu mirroring the NeverTrump spirit of American elites, and their belief that they are elites and destined to govern.
They want to get rid of Netanyahu, like the US elites wanted to get rid of Trump. This desire caused three rounds of national elections in the last year, but despite trying hard, they could not vote him out. Now they hope he will be removed by the Supreme Court, and by massive demonstrations near the PM’s residence. They say he is corrupt, that he takes bribes, that he didn’t save Israel from Coronavirus – just like the Dems had tried to impeach Trump for ridiculous reasons. They want Netanyahu to die in jail, just like the Dems hope to see Trump rotting in Guantanamo. (There are hundreds of women ready to swear Trump almost-raped them fifty years ago when they were underage.)
The case against Netanyahu is feeble at best. He received a pack of cigars and a box of champagne from an American film producer; he promised to help a newspaper publisher if he would stop attacking him. A murky case connects him to a German submarine sale, but it is too opaque even for Netanyahu haters.The PM had been indicted by the state attorney, but by Israeli law, he does not have to resign unless found guilty. Israel is experiencing huge and violent demos against Netanyahu almost daily. But the deplorables still support their Bibi, and vote for him. As opposed to Trump, Netanyahu has a newspaper, and it makes a lot of difference.
It would be nice if there were some positive differences between the Israeli Left and Right on important issues. No such luck. There is practically no difference between Likud and the liberal parties regarding the really important Palestinian question. The Left-wing and Right-wing Jews are on the same page: they do not want to grant equality to non-Jews. They treat Palestinians much worse than the Blacks were treated in Alabama a hundred years ago. They aren’t even interested in Palestinians.
The Israeli liberal left is interested in Lesbians and Gays; the main point of the election campaign of the once-radical-left Meretz (I was their spokesman 40 years ago) was gay adoption and access to surrogate mothers. And that in a society where workers earn less and less every year, while houses cost more and more; where regular employment is a dream for workers; where trade unions collapsed, and instead of employment, workers are offered a contract with unlimited working hours, no holidays and no security at all. All in a country where Palestinians are not allowed even to bathe in the sea a few miles from their besieged villages.
Another topic of the liberal elite is their fight against religion.They are equal haters, hating religious Jews as well as Christians and Muslims. The outbreak of Covid provided them with a new reason to hate the believing Jews: they go to synagogues instead of staying at home or going to demos against Netanyahu. I do not know any redeeming feature of this group, but they are quite similar to liberal elites elsewhere.
In France, too, the ruling elite hates Islam and promotes Charlie Hebdo; but they hate Christianity, too. The first thing Macron did in the present lockdown was to ban the Mass. And his support groups, the elite liberals, were mighty pleased. In this video, you can see young liberals asking police to disperse Catholics praying outside of Church. The same happens in Israel, and in New York, where police have interfered with praying Jews.
The main difference between the populists of Netanyahu and the elitists is in their attitude to ordinary people. The populists exude empathy while elitists just deplore. At the practical level, they do not differ. Both are equally bad for workers, for ordinary Jews and Palestinians. Populists waste public money on Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, while elitists offer free Nepalese surrogate mothers for every gay.
As for Covid lockdowns, the elitists approve of them, just like Biden and his Dems do. The deplorables dislike them greatly, for they lose their jobs, and they can’t afford it, but they still do not rebel.
In the US, the populists of Trump did not get much from his first cadence. A possible solution would be the integration of left populists and right populists, of Trump taking Tulsi Gabbard as his VP or at least as Secretary of State, of Trump giving every American citizen medical care as in Europe, of him providing quality education free, of him taxing billionaires and supporting workers. Such a ticket would be unbeatable. And stop bothering with the Jews and Israel; they have nuisance value, but nothing more.
Now we can explain why the Trump Zionist Offensive didn’t help him. The US (as well as US Jews and Israel) is split into incompetent but cocksure elites and gullible but angry Deplorables. The vote in the recent elections was a test of loyalty: are you with the elites or with the Deplorables (in Hebrew, עמך)? In the US, where many Jews actually belong to elites, even those outside accept elite values and narratives and still hope to get invited in. A US Jew has to despair to join Trump and his counter-élites, and they are still hopeful.
The Jewish newspaper Forward tells of “two young Jewish political activists who formed the Jewish Unity PAC and raised all of \$31,000, and every cent of it was spent supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.” It’s not that they care for Biden, but these young people know where their bright future may lie.
In Israel, the elites are against Netanyahu, but the majority of Israelis, Jews or non-Jews, have already despaired of being invited into the traditional elites. So they have no problem voting for Netanyahu or supporting Trump. However, the Israel of Netanyahu and his Deplorables is much less attractive to US Jews than the old elitist Labour-ruled Ashkenazi Israel. They do not admit it; certainly not in writing, but there is no social lift for a US Jew in going to Israel or even in supporting Israel. Thus Zionism as a cause has lost its attraction for US Jews. And probably this change is irreversible: the old Ashkenazi elite of Israel is gone, and it won’t come back. It has been supplanted by Oriental Jews, by religious folk, by the Ashkenazi counter-elites of Likud. There is no profit in courting Israel as much as Trump did.
If Trump does, despite enormous odds, gain his second term, perhaps he will learn the lesson and treat Israel as Jewish Liberia. It would be a great relief for the US and for the people of Israel. Being cut off from the US supply pipeline, Israel may yet make peace with Palestinians and become a normal Middle Eastern state. The US won’t be driven into far-away wars. It would be better if Trump had understood earlier, but better late than never.
American support is as dangerous for Israel as Russian support is for Armenia. Armenians had 30 years to make peace with their neighbours but they didn’t for they were sure of Russian support. Israelis had 50 years, but they didn’t because of the US support. Armenians already came to grief, and for Israel it is coming, unless they will disengage from their protective superpower. So the special relations between the US elites and Israel are fully exhausted for both sides.
And meanwhile, Israel sits on the fence. “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose not to refer to Joe Biden as president-elect during a press conference Monday, saying instead that Biden was “supposed to be appointed the next president”, reported Haaretz.
Israel Shamir can be reached at [email protected]
This article was first published at The Unz Review.