Right-wing Jewish Defense League Celebrates Trump Inauguration in N.Y.C. Bash

Bagels, wine and a Kidush are in order as followers of right-wing Meir Kahane gather in an office building on Times Square to celebrate.

Right-wing Jewish Defense League celebrate Trump inauguration in NYC bash, January 20, 2017.
Right-wing Jewish Defense League celebrate Trump inauguration in NYC bash, January 20, 2017. Taly Krupkin

An Inauguration watch party celebrating President Donald Trump is hard to find amid all the protest events, consolations parties, and “dry your tears all you can eat” deals in Brooklyn coffee shops. But at the Jewish Defense League watch party for the inauguration, no one shed any tears at the sight of President Barack Obama leaving the White House. Bagels, wine and a Kidush, asking for Trump to last four years (no, eight years, someone corrected) were in order, as followers of right-wing Meir Kahane, who are looking to resurrect the groups activity in new York, gathered in an office building on Times Square to celebrate.

H. Russel Taub, one of the guests, says he came to the gathering, partially because he couldn’t find other appealing events for Republican Jews. “JDL does good work, they are pro-Israel,” he said.  As Trump is taking the oath of office on screen, the group is celebrating, with cries of “Thank God”.

Now that Trump is the president, what are the guests at the JDL event expecting to happen over the next few years? Karen Lichtbraun, who organized the event, says that “It's time for a change and God willing it will be a good change. I would like him to keep his promise and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.”

Others are less concerned with the embassy. Jonathan Grauman, a research analyst from New York City, says that he is “looking forward to the change he will bring to the White House.” According to Grauman even if Trump’s promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is “getting a lot of buzz,” as he puts it “that is not the key issue.” “The most important thing is reestablishing America’s role in the world. The world should look for the U.S. to lead, God forbid it will be Russia or china.” He also added that he hopes that Israelis will now be able to believe that “the U.S. has their back.”

For Jonathan Stern, another guest, a single wish is difficult to name, yet he says that the main expectation is for Trump to “ban Muslims.” He added that perhaps only Muslims from “terrorist countries, like Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan” should be banned, while refugees “like Yazidies and Christians should be allowed in.” “Obama had an open door policy; Trump is saying enough, we are not going to endanger our safety to be politically correct.”

But even in the Trump celebration, peace does not seem possible. “I think he is just pandering to the American Jewish Community,” says Grauman on Trump’s promise that Jared Kushner can make a peace deal. “He doesn’t have the experience. To suddenly think that Kushner or Trump can make peace presto is false optimism.”