Trump’s Holocaust Remarks Missed the Point
President Donald Trump’s address to the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly on Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day completely missed the point.
At first glance, Trump’s speech seems worthy of commendation. And, indeed, it was praised by some significant Jewish leaders.
In his well-prepared remarks, President Trump appeared to have touched all of the bases for the Jewish and Israeli communities. But what was clearly lacking in Trump’s presentation were words reflecting an understanding of the true essence of antisemitism.
Trump simply does not fully understand the antisemitism that led to the Holocaust, which has engendered hatred throughout the ages, and which continues to threaten Jews and the State of Israel.
The Torah teaches us that antisemitism comes from the revelation at Mount Sinai — the place where the children of Israel received the Torah. In fact, the word for hatred in Hebrew — “sinah” — is inexorably related to Mt. Sinai. Thus, the Torah explains that the hatred of the Jewish people is a reflection of the attitude of non-Jews to our people’s special relationship with God.
Antisemites do not like to be reminded of our connection with God, or this most seminal event in human history. These people would like to do away with the message of Mt. Sinai. But they cannot possibly do so. Instead, they wish to do away with the Jews.
To antisemitics, the mere existence of the Jewish people is intolerable — and there is nothing that Jews, or anyone else, can do to curb that hatred.
There was nothing in President Trump’s address that showed an appreciation of this nexus of hostility. Yes, President Trump made a gambit of pledges to defend the Jews and the State of Israel from antisemitism. Yet all of these promises will be worthless if Trump doesn’t fully oppose all antisemites — including some of his supporters, who openly champion such views.
President Trump’s promises — like those of Barack Obama before him — were for political expediency; they were not a true defense of Jews and the Jewish people. Trump’s promises will be ineffective, if not futile. They are transient and undependable, politically and materialistically motivated and politically correct and disingenuous.
People like President Trump and Barak Obama, and many others on the spectrum, usually portray Jews and Israel as victims who have persevered and overcome tremendous obstacles. But the Trumps and Obamas of the world are unable or unwilling to recognize who the Jewish people really are, and what they really represent — the covenant with God at Mount Sinai. Therefore, it’s highly questionable if their support is genuine, or merely a temporary alliance of expedience.
In the meantime, it’s clear that the Jews — and the people of Israel — must rely only on themselves. And God.