Egypt Independent

Trump, Israel, and American Jews



Trump signed a new executive order sparking controversy among supporters of the Palestinian cause in the US, with the toughest criticisms coming from none other than the American Jewish community.

It’s no secret that the right-wing in Israel and America have sought over a decade to destroy the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Trump’s executive order comes in support of that endeavor, albeit in the form of “protecting American Jews.”

Under the cover of fighting against discrimination, the executive order threatens educational institutions to be denied federal funding not only if they criticize Israel, but even if it allows Israeli critics to speak in its forums.

American Jewish leaders and figures have slammed the executive order as exploiting Jewish students as a tool to discriminate against fellow anti-occupation colleagues who are also minorities to be protected such as Black and Hispanic Americans, and not only Muslims and Arab Americans.

However, what upset many American Jews was that the decision regarded any criticism to Israel as discrimination against American Jews, which implies that they belong to Israel and not America – that their place is in the Middle East, not the United States.

It is precisely the rhetoric used by white supremacy groups, who are very hostile to American Jews by the way and consider them to be of “another nationality”. It is a discourse derived from the Nazis, which they used to propell the Jews towards the Holocaust.

Several American Jews have written that what Trump is doing puts American Jews at risk, not the other way around.

Yet those affiliated with the Israeli and the American Jewish right regard Trump as a wonderful tool to achieve Israel’s expansionist dream and annex the West Bank.

However, the majority of American Jews do not support Trump and rather find in many of his expressions a clear hostility to Jews and Semitism, despite his unprecedented support for Israel.

A week before signing the executive order, in a meeting in Florida with his Jewish supporters, Trump used crude language long used against Jews that perpetuates negative stereotypes, saying: “A lot of you are in the real estate business, because I know you very well. You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me—you have no choice,” as Democratic Party candidates are not an option for them.

Months ago, Trump faced firestorm of criticism from Jewish Democratic members of the Congress, after he said that any American Jew voting for Democrats is disloyal to Israel: “In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel,” he said.

It reproduces the idea of dual loyalty, or rather in this case that their only loyalty is to Israel.

One of the Jewish Democratic members of the Congress said that these phrases “have been used against Jews for centuries, and encourage anti-Semitism.”

Another said that if this continues, it will put an end to the cross-party consensus regarding support for Israel, which threatens Israel’s long-term interests!

However, what those members have warned against has begun to happen in the short term.

Three Democratic presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – who top the list – have pledged to cut US military aid to Israel if the latter continues to pursue policies that will eliminate chances of a two-state solution!