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Donald Trump's Alleged Anti-Semitism

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Liberal Jewish outlets and the liberal media are charging Donald Trump with anti-Semitism, on the basis of his recent remarks to Israeli journalist Barak Raviv:

There’s people in this country that are Jewish [who] no longer love Israel. I’ll tell you the evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews of this country. It used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress, and today I think it’s the exact opposite. And I think [former President Barack] Obama and [President Joe] Biden did that.

“And yet in the election, they still get a lot of votes from Jewish people, which tells you that the Jewish people—and I’ve said this for a long time—the Jewish people in the United States either don’t like Israel or don’t care about Israel. I mean, you look at The New York Times, The New York Times hates Israel. Hates them. And they’re Jewish people who run The New York Times, I mean the Sulzberger family.

The line about “absolute power over Congress” is cringeworthy. Yes, it is an anti-Semitic trope. Trump fits the canonical definition of a philo-Semite (an anti-Semite who likes Jews). He harbors some anti-Semitic prejudices about the extent of Jewish power. But he’s still a friend of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel. Before the 2016 election, an Israeli politician asked me what I thought of Trump (full disclosure: I worked for Ted Cruz in 2016). I said, “Imagine if Hitler had liked Jews!” I published that malicious remark. Nonetheless, I voted for Trump twice and defended him against the Deep State conspiracy to unseat him. There are anti-Semites and anti-Semites, but I’ll get to that.

As my friend Caroline Glick writes in Israel Hayom:

Trump was the most pro-Israel president in history. None of his predecessors, (and certainly not his successor President Joe Biden), come close….[he]stopped US financial support for the Palestinian Authority and shut down the PLO’s representative office in Washington, DC because Abbas funds and incites terrorism.

And of course, Trump moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and recognized the legality of Israel’s communities in Judea and Samaria…[and] stopped US funding for UNRWA because the UN agency funds terrorism. He pulled the US out of the UN Human Rights Committee because of its institutional antisemitism. He pulled the US out of the nuclear deal with Iran. He recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Let’s take Trump’s statement apart.

The authoritative Pew Survey published a poll of Jewish Americans’ attitudes towards Israel earlier this year. Only 34% of American Jewish adults say they strongly oppose boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel and only 33% say the Israel government sincerely wants peace. To be sure, 60% say they have “a lot” or “some” in common with Israel. Translation: Liberal American Jews will entertain a degree of positive sentiment for Israel as long as Israel agrees to commit suicide to conform to their fantasy of what a Jewish State should be. Never mind that successive Israeli governments have offered the Arabs 90% of what they asked for, and had the door slammed in their faces.

The supposedly “moderate” Fatah faction of the Palestinians is kept alive by Israeli bayonets; left to its own devices, it would fall in a heartbeat to Hamas, as it did in Gaza in 2007. Hamas has perpetrated more than 80 terror attacks in Israel and murdered about 1,000 Israelis. The Hamas charter rejects any negotiated solution and demands instead jihad to destroy the State of Israel.

This requires Israel to maintain control over parts of Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) that lie within rocket range of Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion airport, and critical infrastructure. To return to the 1948 armistice lines would be an act of suicide. 90% of Arabs live under the political control of the Palestinian Authority, but Israel has no choice but to rule directly some small portion of the Arab population, and that sometimes is unpleasant. Which offends the universalist sensibilities of liberal American Jews.

A majority of American Jews, therefore, says to Israel in so many words, “We have some sentimental attachment to you, but we think you’re wicked warmongers and won’t do anything to stop attempts to strangle you economically.”

Sadly, Trump is right about American Jews. Without evangelical and other Christians (including many conservative Catholics), Israel’s cause would be lost in the United States.

Related: Biden Administration Continues to Show Its Disdain for Israel and Support of Iran

As for Trump’s anti-Semitic attitudes: There’s anti-Semitism, and then there’s anti-Semitism. There is plenty of anti-Jewish prejudice out there, including a lot of exaggerated views of Jewish power. There are plenty of non-Jews who simply don’t like us. I really don’t care much whether they do or not. But then there is a universalist obsession which abhors the Jews precisely because we have survived for nearly 4,000 years while all the peoples we have known disappeared. We are a reminder of the mortality not just of man but of nations, that the norm is not universal enlightenment but national extinction. Parts of the Muslim world are hell-bent on collective suicide, and we won’t keep them company in that enterprise — as the liberals demand.

That is the horrible secret of what might be called existential anti-Semitism — an objection to the existence of the Jews. Horribly, it infects many American liberal Jews, who are doing everything they can to stop being Jews as quickly as practicable. I’ll take Donald Trump over anti-Israel liberal Jews any time.