Author Topic: Six Reasons Trump Would Be Disaster for U.S. Jews, Israel and the Middle East.  (Read 2183 times)

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Offline Carana

Opinion // Six Reasons Trump Would Be Disaster for U.S. Jews, Israel and the Middle East

Trump's new approach to foreign policy would leave Israel twisting in the wind.

Alexander Griffing Nov 09, 2016

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This article was originally published on February 7, 2016.

Donald Trump declares he “will be very good to Israel.” He declares his “closeness to Judaism.” But it didn’t take long on the campaign trail for his ignorance about Israel and the region, and a superabundance of Jewish caricatures, to slip out.

Here are six reasons why Trump’s foreign policy bombast would be bad for Israel - and the Middle East as a whole.

The Middle East is a blank space on the map for him

Trump has been roundly criticized for his lack of foreign policy knowhow. On the Hugh Hewitt show he couldn’t distinguish between Hezbollah and Hamas. On Meet the Press he said he gets most of foreign policy advice “from the shows.” His mendacity on the campaign trail, including claiming he has a foreign policy advisor who isn’t actually advising him, won Trump Politifact’s “Lie of the Year Award,” - not just for a single mistruth but for over 58 false statements made in 2015. But not to worry, when he couldn’t name the basic players in the Middle East, Trump promised Hugh Hewitt that he either wouldn’t need to know or he would learn it all before getting into office. “I will be so good at the military, your head will spin,” he said.

He knows some pretty insulting Jewish stereotypes

Trump’s daughter Ivanka may have converted to Judaism before her wedding, but despite his self-proclaimed “closeness to Judaism,” Trump managed to throw out some pretty anti-Semitic statements when speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition back in December.  “You’re not gonna support me even though you know I’m the best thing that could ever happen to Israel,” Trump said. “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. Isn’t it crazy?"

He added, “This room negotiates deals. Perhaps more than any room I’ve ever spoken to.”

He wants to take Israel’s wall and run with it much much further

Trump regularly cites Israeli policies that already divide the American Jewish community as being both successful and replicable for the United States. He cites “the [separation] wall” in Israel as an example of why the United States should build a wall with Mexico, and has repeatedly called for “taking out the families of terrorists,” one long step further from the Israeli policy of demolishing terrorists’ homes. Israel certainly wouldn’t gain reputationally from this emulation: As Ryan Lizza noted in the New Yorker after attending a Trump rally, “I had never previously been to a political event at which people cheered for the murder of women and children.”

There’d be no anti-ISIS alliance

Under Trump, there’s no doubt the ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis would gain momentum, if not combustion. Many Trump’s critics accuse him of doing ISIS’ work for it by exploiting fear of terrorism and drumming up the kind of anti-Muslim sentiment radical Jihadists leverage to gain support. Trump as president would distance Arab world allies: the UAE and other Arab state billionaires have threatened to divest from the United States under his presidency. And we haven’t started on the likely Trump - Muslim world relationship. As conservative pundit, Mona Charen slammed him in in the National Review’s anti-Trump manifesto: “Where is the center of gravity in a man who in May denounces those who ‘needlessly provoke’ Muslims and in December proposes that we (‘temporarily’) close our borders to all non-resident Muslims?”

He’d outsource Middle East policy to Putin

Trump’s new foreign policy approach is based on the United States making ‘good deals’ and getting “paid back” for protection or intervention abroad. This would end the U.S. “getting screwed over” by having to do the rest of the world’s work for them. It’s several steps away from the familiar American traditions of neoconservative or liberal interventionist policy. As part of this U.S. Interests First approach, he has regularly called for letting Putin, Assad and ISIS fight it out in Syria.

While this line finds a ready audience among some war-weary Americans, U.S. military officials have warned that civilians are bearing the brunt of the over 5,000 airstrikes Russia has carried out since September, which is both further fueling the European refugee crisis and enhancing ISIS’ recruitment message.

Meanwhile, the more the United States gets pushed out of the region, the more Putin and his de-facto allies, especially Iran and Hezbollah, strengthen their position at Israel’s doorstep.

But is it good for Israel?

Donald Trump likes to boast about his pro-Israel credentials. One of his favorite lines on the stump is, “I was even the grand marshal for the [NYC] Israeli [sic] Day Parade.” And if that doesn’t sell you, rest assured, he has “won so many awards from Israel” and has “so many friends from Israel.” He promises he “will be very good to Israel.”

When first pushed on whether or not Jerusalem should be Israel’s capital and the U.S. Embassy should be moved there, he waffled and refused to give a clear answer. Last week, while locked in a close battle with Ted Cruz in the polls in Iowa, Trump in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, pledged to move the Embassy in a bid to poach Cruz’s Evangelical support.

Historically, the American leaders who have historically best served Israel’s interests were fuelled by ideological motivations. Truman recognized Israel, against the urging of the advisor he believed to be the greatest man alive, George Marshall, because of his Christian faith and deep belief in spreading universal values. America’s patronage of Israel has been based more on ideological and philosophical imperatives, with a dose of clear-sighted pragmatism, than any so-called “Jewish lobby.”

Donald Trump has shown no ideological underpinnings, other than “making America great again,” that would ensure he would support Israel in tough times. He’s already shown little backbone in standing up for other states’ independence against larger foes: When pressed on whether or not he believed Ukraine should be a part of NATO, he said he didn’t care. He feels no nostalgia for backing up strategic allies of half-a-century’s standing: "If somebody attacks Japan, we have to immediately go and start World War III, OK? If we get attacked, Japan doesn't have to help us. Somehow, that doesn't sound so fair. Does that sound good?" Trump said. Israel’s fate in terms of its military and strategic dependence on the U.S. would be subject to a kind of erratic opportunism based on Donald Trump’s whims and the latest subjects of his bunker mentality.

On the other hand, Trump’s declaration that he has 'real doubts' whether Israelis and Palestinians really want peace sounds less unmoored from reality, if not pessimistic about any future peace process: "A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel's willing to sacrifice certain things," Trump said. "They may not be, and I understand that, and I'm OK with that. But then you're just not going to have a deal." Trump’s willing to let Putin run amok in Israel’s backyard; he laments Saddam Hussein’s downfall; and by indicating he would accept the status quo of Israel’s occupation and the lack of negotiations with the Palestinians, he shows how little he’s really invested in the future for democracy in Israel or Palestine.

Trump claims the Bible as his favorite book, but can’t name a verse. So here’s a suggestion for him to get to know, from Proverbs: He who hates, disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not.

Alexander Griffing is the director of digital outreach at Haaretz English edition. He has a master's degree from Tel Aviv University in political science.
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« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 01:42:41 PM by John »

Offline Carana

In recent years, the parents of Jared Kushner – the son-in-law and trusted confidant of President-elect Donald Trump – have donated tens of thousands of dollars to organizations and institutions located in the West Bank settlements, according to their tax forms.

The U.S. State Department has long held that the settlements are an impediment to peace. During the election campaign, however, Trump’s key advisers on Israel challenged this position.


Among organizations and institutions in the West Bank that receive funding from the Kushner family, the leading beneficiary is American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva. Located in one of the more hard-line, ideological settlements, Beit El Yeshiva received $20,000 from the Kushner family in 2013.
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Offline Carana

Why Israeli settlers consider Trump’s ambassador choice a 'miracle'

The appointment of attorney David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel was the first actual indication on the part of the Donald Trump administration that it does intend to support the Israeli right and the settlements. If until now there were only assessments and background noise, a smattering of statements and a certain vague ambiguity, Friedman’s appointment sends a very clear, public signal that is quite remarkable. For the first time, the United States is sending an ambassador to Israel who openly supports the settlements, personally contributes to their development, calls on Israel to increase settlement construction and suggests that Israel annex at least some of the land with settlements on it.
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For Israeli settlers, US President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of David Friedman as the next US ambassador to Israel is nothing short of a miracle.
Author Ben Caspit Posted December 19, 2016
TranslatorDanny Wool

There are no words to describe such a sharp change in direction, or how dramatic its impact could be, if Trump does not change course and dictate a very different policy to Friedman. For Trump to do so would come as quite a surprise. As one senior State Department official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “In American terms, it's like John Lennon being replaced by Donald Rumsfeld.”

Knesset member and Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On responded to the appointment by telling Al-Monitor that she is considering refusing to meet with Friedman, to avoid giving him legitimacy. The problem is that Gal-On will have to worry about her own legitimacy once Friedman takes office. Main opposition leader Isaac Herzog was more circumspect, saying that he makes a habit of not intervening in appointments made by US administrations.

As of Dec. 18, thousands of settlers were gathering at the unauthorized Amona outpost, which is slated to be evacuated Dec. 25. For many months now, all of Israel has been in an uproar as a tumultuous debate raged over its evacuation, by order of a Supreme Court injunction, because the outpost was built on private Palestinian land. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was torn between complying with the order and his desire to keep his right-wing base loyal to him. The evacuation is scheduled for days during which President Barack Obama is possibly deliberating a bold diplomatic move to end his last term in office. Netanyahu hopes that images of the evacuation of an Israeli settlement will pacify Obama and “help” him decide that there is no reason for him to take action during his final days in the White House.

It is incredible, when one considers it, but if Amona’s evacuation had been scheduled to take place after Jan. 20, there is a good chance that Friedman, as ambassador, would have protested it vigorously. The prime minister’s office in Jerusalem is used to seeing or hearing US Ambassador Dan Shapiro respond to every tender for construction in the territories with a vehement protest. It is therefore thrilled to accept this change of direction.

“It looks too good to be true,” one senior Netanyahu staffer told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “We finally got the president of our dreams and an ambassador who could easily integrate into the right-wing flank of the Likud’s Knesset list.”

The US State Department has a map that experts have been working on for a generation. All information accumulated over decades of keeping meticulous tabs on the region can be found on this map. It is updated constantly based on firsthand observations, satellite imagery, patrols, intelligence and publications accessible to the public. It is a map of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, land commonly referred to as the West Bank, which the international community considers occupied. This map has been shown to quite a few Israelis over the past few weeks alone. Senior government officials in Jerusalem are familiar with it, because Shapiro and other senior American officials show it to them regularly. The map also includes all of the unauthorized outposts, accompanied by detailed statistical tables, flowcharts, population figures and various geographic divisions.

The bottom line on this map is simple. Ever since Netanyahu came to power, Israel has been making an enormous effort to scatter as many outposts as possible along the central mountain ridge running the length of the West Bank, north to south. It wants to insert as many wedges as it can into Palestinian-controlled territory in order to make a two-state solution infeasible. According to the Americans’ statistics, when Netanyahu came to power in 2009, there were 60,000 Israeli settlers living beyond the separation fence outside the settlement clusters. Today, almost 90,000 settlers live there.

What will an Ambassador Friedman do with this map? We will probably know after Jan. 20. Friedman has been Trump’s real estate attorney for the past 15 years and his adviser for Israeli affairs. He is also a true friend of Israel’s settlement enterprise in the West Bank, whereas all American administrations until now have considered it illegal, illegitimate and a hindrance to achieving a two-state solution.

Friedman considers the Jewish lobby J Street, identified with the American left, as being “worse than kapos [World War II concentration camp prisoners who supervised other prisoners].” Although every comment he makes about J Street sends a shock through the majority of the American Jewish community, Friedman refuses to let up.

Friedman also serves in the United States as president of Friends of Bet El — as in Beit El, the settlement. His closest friend in Israel is the head of the international Friends of Bet El, former Knesset member Yaakov Katz of the National Union Party, who holds some very extreme views. He regards Netanyahu and HaBayit HaYehudi leader Naftali Bennett leftists, supports Israel’s immediate annexation of all of Judea and Samaria and advocates doubling the pace of Jewish construction in the occupied territories.

One source close to both men told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Friedman has been Katz’s soulmate for over 20 years now. They share a common language, they spend a lot of time together, and their views are similar.” The annual dinner to raise money for Friends of Bet El in the United States took place Dec. 4. Both Katz and Friedman participated in it, as they do every year.

Over the years, Friedman has donated large amounts of money, estimated in the many millions of dollars, to Beit El through the Friends of Bet El. “President-elect Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, also donated quite a bit of money to this settlement,” a source in the settlement movement told Al-Monitor this week on condition of anonymity. On Dec. 18, Katz told Galei Israel radio that several years ago, Trump himself sent a check for $10,000 to a dinner for Beit El, at which Friedman was the guest of honor.

All these donations had until now been private, personal and voluntary. The question is what Trump will do once he enters the White House. Will he align himself with the most extreme elements of the right in Israeli politics, or will he position himself in the center and bring his representative, Friedman, toward the center too?

One thing is certain. As far as the settlers are concerned, this is, at the moment, a miracle. In fact, it is the kind of miracle that happens only once in a generation. The settlers are convinced that Trump and his ambassador were sent to them by divine providence and that redemption is on the way.
Ben Caspit

Ben Caspit is a columnist for Al-Monitor's Israel Pulse. He is also a senior columnist and political analyst for Israeli newspapers and has a daily radio show and regular TV shows on politics and Israel. On Twitter: @BenCaspit
Original Al-Monitor Translations

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Offline Carana

Netanyahu’s Support Of Donald Trump Is Already Causing Him Problems
The PM tweeted praise for Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.
01/29/2017 09:13 am ET

By Luke Baker

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - When Benjamin Netanyahu sent a tweet in support of President Donald Trump’s plan for a wall along the Mexican border, the Israeli prime minister can barely have expected it would be retweeted 40,000 times and cause a backlash at home and abroad.

Already under arguably the greatest pressure he has faced in his 11 years as prime minister, with police questioning him in two criminal probes into abuse of office, aligning himself with Trump may further undermine his standing.

The tweet, sent from his personal account shortly before the Jewish sabbath officially ended on Saturday, was very clear:

Netanyahu was referring to a steel fence Israel has built along its border with Egypt, mainly to keep out migrants fleeing conflicts in Africa, including Somalis, Sudanese and Eritreans.

Israel has also built a steel-and-concrete barrier along its border with the occupied West Bank, which it says is to prevent militants crossing into Israel. Palestinians see the barrier, which has drawn international condemnation, as a land grab.

On the one hand, Trump’s election as president was seen as a godsend for Netanyahu, the first time in four terms as prime minister that he would have a Republican in the White House.

As well as the Republicans being more ideologically aligned with Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition, Trump has already shown a willingness to turn a blind eye to Israel’s settlement building in the West Bank, which Barack Obama’s administration frequently criticized, casting a pall over U.S.-Israeli ties.

On the other hand, Trump is an unpredictable actor who in just nine days in office has sewn division across the United States and shocked capitals around the world with a series of executive actions that are overturning decades of U.S. policy.

The adverse reaction to Netanyahu’s tweet, which was retweeted by Trump and drew far more attention than Netanyahu’s tweets usually do as a result, appeared to be an early sign of the dangerNetanyahu faces with aligning himself with Trump.

The Mexican government was outraged that he would involve himself in what it regards as a bilateral issue.

“The foreign ministry expressed to the government of Israel, via its ambassador in Mexico, its profound astonishment, rejection and disappointment over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s message,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Mexico is a friend of Israel and should be treated as such by its Prime Minister.”

Dan Shapiro, who served as ambassador to Israel under Obama until nine days ago and still lives in the country, ditched diplomacy to question Netanyahu’s motives in sending the tweet.

“Hard to explain this intervention on a hotly debated issue in domestic U.S. politics. Unless this endorsement is Trump’s demand of Netanyahu for something Netanyahu wants,” he wrote on Twitter, suggesting it may be linked to Trump’s promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“To me, it looks like Trump is already squeezing Netanyahu hard.”

Opposition politician Yair Lapid, who is ahead of Netanyahu in recent opinion polls, was also scathing. Whereas Lapid has shied away from criticizing Netanyahu over the police investigations into him, this time he didn’t hold back:

“A serious mistake by Netanyahu,” Lapid tweeted in Hebrew.

“It is a needless declaration of war on Mexico and Hispanics and a rupture with the Democrats (including the majority of U.S. Jews). It doesn’t matter what we think of the wall, don’t we have enough troubles of our own?”

Though Netanyahu has not deleted the tweet, Israel’s foreign ministry immediately sought to nuance its content.

The prime minister was referring to Israel’s “specific security experience”, the foreign ministry spokesman said, adding: “We do not express a position on U.S.-Mexico relations.”


(Additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Offline Miss Taken Identity

Yeah TRUMPS not knowing about Middle east well.. at least he isn't  in a hurry to bomb the innocent civilians for no good reason like Clinton, Jowge double ya Bush, Obama, Bless em three.
'Never underestimate the power of stupid people'... George Carlin

Offline Carana

Note: I didn't start this thread, I expect John separated it from a different thread that was going off track from whatever the original thread was about.