Opinion: Our president has an interest in and a respect for the Jewish people | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Opinion: Our president has an interest in and a respect for the Jewish people

In August, Israel banned entry into the country by anti-Semitic BDS-supporting Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. Among the media, Democrat politicians, and leftist organizations opposing the decision were Jewish individuals and entities, including, sadly, but not surprisingly, the Milwaukee Jewish Community Relations Council.

The president of the United States, who supported the Israeli ban, took notice of this, saying, “Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel? And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty, alright?”

You decide: On the Jewish Community Relations Council

Our opinion writer states that the local Jewish Community Relations Council opposed barring two congresswomen from entering Israel.

The JCRC expressed its position at the time by saying it “stands with” the Jewish Federations of North America, which said it “believes that every member of Congress, without exception, should be allowed to visit Israel, irrespective of whether we agree with their point of view. The relationship between Israel and the U.S. Congress is longstanding and unique, and has served as the bulwark of America’s bi-partisan support for Israel for decades.”

Several Jewish organizations, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), issued similar statements.

In reaction to this statement, the president was roundly accused of employing an “antisemitic trope,” by accusing Jews of dual loyalty. Any unbiased observer would know that Trump had done no such thing – that the historical accusation of “dual loyalty” against Jews blamed them of favoring Israel at the expense of the U.S., while Trump was referring to bias against Israel. He was merely stating the obvious – that any Jew who opposed Israel’s banning of the congresswomen was clearly taking the side of two opponents of Israel who would use their visit to undermine the Jewish state.

The president’s observations about the growing lack of support for Israel among American Jews merely reflects what the they are reporting about themselves. A Pew Research Center survey earlier this year reported that 42% of American Jews said that President Trump favors Israel too much, compared with 26% of Christians. What’s wrong with this picture!? His observations about the lack of Democratic support for Israel is likewise on target. A 2018 Pew survey found that almost twice as many liberal Democrats support the Palestinians as support Israel (35% vs. 19%). All Democrats tied (27% Israel to 25% Palestinians). (In comparison, 79% of all Republicans support Israel, only 6% support the Palestinians). And yet, these are the very same people who call President Trump an antisemite.

President Donald Trump.

This ironic smearing of the president as an antisemite was consistent with that which the left has employed at least since he was inaugurated. Trump was barely in office when he was being blamed for inciting the rash of bomb threats being phoned into Jewish community centers across the country. We know now that these phone calls were made by two individuals, an Israeli Jew who is mentally disturbed and a leftist American. Then came Charlottesville, with the president being falsely accused of declaring that there were “very fine people” among the white supremacists and neo-Nazis, when anyone who takes the time to watch the video or read the transcript of these remarks will see that he was referring to people both supporting and opposing the taking down of Confederate statues, and that he was “not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists.”

Even more to the point is that if Trump is an antisemite or a white supremacist, he’s certainly doing a bad job of it. He has a Jewish daughter and Jewish grandchildren who he appears to love.  He has long employed Jews in prominent positions in his businesses and now in government. And no president in history has been such a staunch supporter of the Jewish state – not even close. The facts are that President Trump:

  • even before he was inaugurated, attempted to get the infamous and outrageous anti-Israel U.N. resolution, that the outgoing Obama administration pointedly failed to oppose;
  • publicly recognized reality – that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel;
  • moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, unlike his predecessors, who promised during their campaigns to do so but abandoned this commitment after being elected;
  • defunded the corrupt, terrorist-supporting United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which has colluded with the Arab states and the PLO to keep so-called “refugees” in misery for decades as a weapon to exploit against Israel;
  • has cut hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinian Authority in response to its intransigence;
  • withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal that would eventually pave the way for Iran, which has sworn to eliminate Israel, to develop nuclear weapons;
  • recognized Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights, which is vital to its security;
  • repudiated the 1978 State Department legal opinion that held Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are ‘inconsistent with international law.”

In taking these actions, President Trump has refused to play along with the decades of international appeasement of Muslim/Arab/leftist antisemitism. Perhaps he understands that the only difference between the Nazis and the Jewish people’s present-day-enemies is…. Israel. That is, we now have a Jewish state with the might to defend itself against those who would annihilate it. Not only is the accusation that he is an antisemite an ugly lie, the facts argue rather that he is a philo-Semite – a lover of the Jewish people. He deserves our gratitude.

Jim Beer is a resident of Fox Point.