Adelson and Trump

Many Jews are finding Rob Eshman’s anti-Trump fixation embarrassing and wish that he’d shut up. His arguments are weak.

I study a page of Talmud every day. There’s nothing that Donald Trump has said that is more uproarious than what you find in Talmud and other Jewish texts.

If a Jew wants to condemn nativism, xenophobia, bigotry, and racism, he is free to do so, but he can’t find much support in Torah. Every strongly identifying in-group has negative feelings about out-groups. The stronger your in-group identity, the more likely you are to hate out-groups. This is not unique to Jews or to blacks or to Muslims or to Trump supporters. This is basic social identity theory.

Rob Eshman writes:

But then you go and throw your support, uncritically, with no caveats, conditions or what-have-yous, behind a man whose words and policies attack the democratic values Israel and America stand for, and the people it needs to coexist with to survive.
After Trump called for a “total ban” on Muslims coming into the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to receive him in Israel. A country that is 20 percent Arab, that is bound to live with and among Muslims, that really is the only democracy in the Middle East, cannot single out a minority based on its religion. And, of course, neither can the United States.
That’s one reason why House Speaker Paul Ryan has so far refused to endorse Trump. So why can the country’s most powerful Republican stand on principle, while a lover of Israel can’t? Frankly, Mr. Adelson (and I would say this to you) it’s embarrassing.
And how is it pro-Israel to support someone who engages in the wholesale denigration of Mexicans? Latinos are the fastest-growing and most powerful minority in this country — one whose support Israel will need in the coming years. To mingle the “pro-Israel” brand with appeals to racism and xenophobia plays directly into the hands of the Israel haters. And Trump’s history of regressive statements on women stands in stark contrast to the freedom, strength and accomplishments of women in Israel.
If you believe the United States is Israel’s most important ally in the world, then you must agree that America’s support for Israel depends, ultimately, on the support of the American people. Trump has deeply alienated women and Latinos. And let’s be very clear: If any leader had said about Jews what Trump has said about Muslims and Mexicans, we would be screaming to repudiate him. And we would expect other groups to stand with us.
So what should you do now? Simple. It’s not too late to make clear to the man with the world’s largest megaphone that your $100 million is contingent on him walking back entirely his policies on Muslims and his statements on Mexicans. All the rest of Trump’s outlandish, often ill-informed and frequently flip-floppy policies are beside the point. Tell Trump you can’t be pro-Israel and pick on minorities. You can’t be pro-Israel and anti-democracy.

What democratic values do Israel and America stand for? How are they unique?

Why can’t Israel single out a minority based on its religion? Why can’t America?

Any rational non-Muslim country would not want Muslims in it. Not because Muslims are inherently bad, but because they are inherently a bad fit for non-Muslim countries.

“And how is it pro-Israel to support someone who engages in the wholesale denigration of Mexicans?”

Because wholesale denigration of people is unknown to Jews and to the Jewish tradition?

“Latinos are the fastest-growing and most powerful minority in this country — one whose support Israel will need in the coming years.”

Latinos and blacks don’t care about Israel. They have no reason to care about Israel.

To mingle the “pro-Israel” brand with appeals to racism and xenophobia plays directly into the hands of the Israel haters.

Jewish Israelis understandably wish that all Palestinians would disappear tomorrow. Is that racist and xenophobic or is just plain self-interest? Different groups have different interests. You can call these interests names, but the interests remain. Most people don’t want to be around those who are hostile to them. Arabs and Muslims, for understandable reasons, are hostile to the Jewish state.

Hating Israel is not irrational. Different groups have different interests. It would be weird for a Muslim or an Arab not to have some negative feelings about the Jewish state on land they regard as belonging to them.

If you believe the United States is Israel’s most important ally in the world, then you must agree that America’s support for Israel depends, ultimately, on the support of the American people.

The American people care about America. They don’t care about Israel. America funds Israel because Jewish money plays a huge role in American politics.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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