Note to Israelis: America Is Not Racist
Since Donald Trump won the US presidential election last month, Israelis have been engaged in a heated debate about how the victory of the billionaire businessman who gets into fights on Twitter will affect the Jewish state.
The Left, which has been fawning over Barack Obama for eight years, has been attributing all the ills of his country and the world during this period to a combination of piggish capitalism and racism ostensibly so indigenous to America that even the Great Black Hope was unable to stomp them out. Members of this very vocal sector of the Israeli media and academia are naturally appalled by Trump, but point to his success as evidence that their analysis of the character of the United States is accurate.
According to this position, it was not the failures of the Democratic Party that led to its defeat, but rather the very nature of the voting public. The holders of this view went as far as to claim that a country with such a number of yahoos and evangelical Christians was simply not ready for a woman president.
This is exactly how these same Israelis interpret the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just broken David Ben-Gurion’s record for the length of tenure in the office of the premiership, though the primitive and religious voters whom they put down are Orthodox Jews and those of North African descent. Different culture, same snobbery. And virtually identical — delusional — outlook on peace-making in the Middle East.
In contrast, the Israeli Right has been celebrating Trump’s win, highlighting two causes for optimism. One is the assumption that the president-elect is sympathetic to the settler enterprise – since he does not consider it to be at fault for a lack of peace with the Palestinians — and therefore will not respond to every additional Jewish apartment built in the West Bank with the apoplexy exhibited by the Obama administration.
The other is the hope and even belief that the Trump administration might finally be the one to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thereby providing an ideological stamp of legitimacy to the sovereignty of the Jewish people over their holy city, the capital of the state of Israel.
These expectations need to be modified somewhat. Though it is true that the president-elect and the administration he is in the process of assembling possess a healthy sense of right and wrong where the democratic Jewish state and its non-democratic Muslim-Arab neighbors are concerned, it is clear from Trump’s statements about how he would love to broker a good deal between Israel and the Palestinians – and thoughts on how his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, could be the right person to get the job done – that he hasn’t yet grasped the nature of the beast. Indeed, as is the case with Iran, no agreement can be reached without a crushing defeat of Islamism by an intolerant Western superpower.
Furthermore, so far, even the most pro-Israel administrations in Washington have not moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, in spite of hints and promises to do so. The likelihood that Trump will break the pattern is anyone’s guess, but not at all a given.
It is the Israeli Left, however, along with its American counterpart, which really needs a brain transplant – especially in regard to its utterly false presentation of the United States and the people who make up its rich and intricate fabric.
It is nothing but skewed coverage of the Trump phenomenon to suggest that racism is rampant in the US. The fact that 200 white supremacists gave a “Heil Hitler” salute at a pro-Trump rally – footage of which was aired so many times on Israeli TV channels that even many of his supporters in the Jewish state began to grow fearful – is less than a drop in the Atlantic ocean. Indeed, there are some 320 million people in America; and at the event in question, approximately 50 journalists were in attendance, magnifying its size and significance.
Had these same reporters been pounding the campaign trail with as much fervor, Trump’s victory might not have come as such a major shock. Nor, perhaps, would the doomsayers who screamed that the stock market would crash and burn if he won, be taken so seriously. It is a lesson that the Israeli press would do well to internalize as it seeks to demonize and topple Netanyahu.
Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.