HOW IS THE AMERICAN ELECTION SELLING IN ISRAEL?

BLOG 317 September 5, 2016

As always, this blog attempts to present an objective perspective and does not necessarily reflect a personal opinion. Please understand the following is a report from and about Israel – and what Israel is currently thinking alone.

How does Israel (which is considered vital to American interests) see the current battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? Because Trump’s daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism and is married to Jared Kushner (one of American Judaism’s prominent families), he would seemingly be seen in a positive light. Not so.

The New Yorker magazine, August 26, ran a story on Trump’s initial displeasure about this wedding. The Kushner’s are one of Clinton’s major contributors. They are best friends with Chelsea (Clinton) and Marc Mezvinsky (he is also Jewish). Being Jewish and big friends with the Clintons was not good news with Trump. He then added Stephen Bannon of the Breitbart Blog to his staff. Bannon is extreme right wing and panders white supremacists. When you add all of this up, there are no positive marks in Israel for having a daughter who converted to Judaism.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton has a long history of support for Israel and knows all the major players in Israel. As a senator, she fought for the recognition of Israel’s Magen David Adom’s acceptance by the Red Cross International (The Magen David Adom is Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service. The name means “Red Star of David”. Since June 2006, Magen David Adom has been officially recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross as the national aid society of the State of Israel under the Geneva Conventions, and a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. MDA has a dedicated medical emergency phone number in Israel). She introduced and supported bills to support Israel and blocked any support to Hamas. As Secretary of State, she negotiated a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas during the Gaza war. In other words, Clinton has a significant history of actual support for Israel.

In contrast, Greg Rosenbaum, who writes for The Jerusalem Report, in the August 22 edition noted that Donald Trump is seen as unfamiliar with foreign policy in general, the Middle East in particular, and has done nothing to change these positions during his campaign. He could not distinguish between Hama and Hezbollah. He has had a tendency to bring up anti-Semitic stereotypes during his campaign. Citizens in Israel follow this problem even more closely than many Americans do. Shlomo Maital in the same The Jerusalem Report noted that in Trump’s book The Art of the Deal (actually written by ghost-writer Tony Schwartz), he admits to using “truthful hyperbole” which means by definition being untruthful. Maital concluded Trumponomics would be bad for Israel.

Rosenbaum closes his article by noting that 100 signers on a letter from conservative foreign policy experts called Trump “fundamentally dishonest” and “utterly unfitted to the office.” In other words, Trump’s boat has sunk in Israel.

The issue isn’t whether these positions are correct or not – but that they do represent the current view from Israel. Come November 8, we will know how on target they are and what this perspective might mean for the future.

Remember this is only a report – not the views of this blog’s commentator.

Stay tuned.

 

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Filed under America, Judaism, middle east

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