Source: Janet Levy
Yair Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister’s son has called Trump “a rock star” in Israel and the “best friend that Israel and the Jewish people have ever had in the White House.” Curiously, at the same time, many American Jews have an unfavorable view of Trump’s policies and have been critical of his dealings with the Jewish State.
In reality, President Trump has taken several steps that are beneficial to Jews and the Jewish State in his first term. A look at some of them should give American Jews sufficient reasons to reassess their opinion of the president and even motivate them to vote for his reelection in November.
- Trump denounced anti-Semitism in two State of the Union addresses. In his first address to Congress in February of 2017, he condemned threats against Jewish people and the vandalism of Jewish sites and communities. In a second address given after he withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, Trump declared that anti-Semitism must be confronted “anywhere and everywhere it occurs.” He added, “We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people.”
- On December 6, 2017, President Trump fulfilled his campaign promise and moved the American Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital. Seventy years from the day that President Truman recognized Israel as a sovereign nation, the U.S. became the first nation to open its new embassy to the holy city. Two days later, in solidarity with the U.S. decision, Guatemala moved its embassy to Jerusalem. Recently, Honduras announced it will follow suit by year’s end. Meanwhile, Hungary became the first European nation to have a branch of its embassy in Jerusalem while Moldova and Romania disclosed that the matter is under serious consideration.
- As part of his “Deal of the Century,” President Trump declared support for Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria and affirmed that any sanctions by the international community for doing so will be opposed by the United States.
- He recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a major strategic asset that protects Israel from aggression from the northeast. He signed the historic document with Netanyahu at his side right before Israeli elections.
- Trump increased U.S. military aid to Israel and offered a mutual defense treaty between the U.S. and Israel to further the alliance between the two countries.
- Under Trump, the United states stopped funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), a UN relief agency for Arab-Palestinians marred by corruption, and abuse of power. The agency has been known to work with Hamas against Israel, even enabling the building of terror tunnels under its buildings.
- The Trump Administration withdrew the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in protest of its bias against Israel and its extension of membership to notorious human rights abusers.
- Under his administration, the United States withdrew from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) citing its anti-Israel bias after it designated Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah) as Arab-Palestinian world heritage sites. (Jews have had a 3800 year presence in Hebron, which is situated in Judea — “the land of the Jews.”)
- Trump appointed staunch Israel defenders Nikki Haley and Kelly Craft to the U.N.
- He ended the nuclear appeasement of Iran, canceling Obama’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the “Obama Bomb Deal.” The Islamic terrorist republic of Iran has publicly vowed to destroy Israel.
- Trump formally designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization, an action that recognizes Iran’s role as a state sponsor of terrorism and the IRGC’s role in financing, promoting, directing and implementing the government’s global terrorist campaign.
- He celebrated Hanukah at the White House and was the first sitting president to visit and pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
- Trump postponed the announcement of his Israel/Arab-Palestinian plan until after the elections in Israel.
- At the Holocaust Museum on the Day of Remembrance, Trump said, “As president of the United States, I will always stand with the Jewish people and the State of Israel. We will confront antisemitism on university campuses, in public places and threats to Israel. Antisemitism is horrible and it has to stop. The State of Israel is an eternal monument to the undying strength of the Jewish people.”
- Trump signed the Taylor Force Act that ended U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority as long as it continues to pay stipends to Palestinian terrorists or their families.
- He criticized congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib for their hostility toward Israel and their anti-Semitic statements about Jewish leaders and their loyalties. In 2012, Omar was pressured to withdraw an offensive tweet proclaiming, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
- President Trump brokered the peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, normalizing relations between the two countries and laying a foundation for peace in the Middle East.
- He is responsible for forging economic ties between Israel and Serbia and Kosovo, two Balkan countries who may move their embassies to Jerusalem.
- Trump established formal peaceful relations between Bahrain and Israel. Other countries that may follow include Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Morocco.
- He signed an Executive Order to combat anti-Semitism on college campuses and threatened to cut off funds to schools that do not curb discrimination against Jewish students. In essence, Trump’s order is designed to target the nefarious BDS movement. Further, Trump’s administration adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, which specifically includes both traditional anti-Semitic tropes and anti-Israeli elements such as dehumanizing and demonizing Israel, blaming all Jews for the actions of Israel and seeking the destruction of the Jewish State with Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) tactics.
- Under Trump, the first direct flights between Israel and Sudan were instituted and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among the passengers on this historic flight. While Israel and Sudan have no direct diplomatic relationship at present, it is likely to be established soon. Also, Saudi Arabia opened its air space to allow flights from Israel to Abu Dhabi.
- Trump ordered the closure of the PLO mission in Washington, D.C. when Arab-Palestinians said they planned to target Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Given President Trump’s unprecedented favorable actions towards Jews and the Jewish State, it is reasonable to expect a significant shift in the voting habits of American Jews this election season. With the impressive record of accomplishments during his first term, failing to cast a vote for the incumbent president is akin to looking a gift horse in the mouth.