Jews, Beware of Trump and the Narcotics He Peddles

In countless countries and during innumerable eras, public figures like Trump fomented angry popular uprisings that sooner or later led to persecution of the Jews.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) afternoon general session in Washington March 21, 2016.
AP

Donald Trump is a drug dealer. The wild billionaire’s sharp instincts have helped him understand what few politicians or journalists have picked up: America is wounded. America is frightened, bewildered and enraged. But rather than offering the United States a cure, the reality star is offering it hard drugs. He’s selling the cheap crack of vulgar street theater and xenophobia that drips venom.

And even though it’s clear that the celebrity real estate tycoon is a megalomaniac lacking principles or a sense of responsibility, those who feel insecure about their country, their economic situation or their identity are tempted to buy the toxic chemicals he’s marketing. They can’t resist his colorful street theater, which is nothing but political pornography and the peddling of illusions. That’s why neighborhood after neighborhood, city after city, and country after country have been falling into the hands of the man marching on Washington and threatening to turn it into a capital of horrors.

This week Trump came to Washington to sell his drugs to the Jews. This time, too, his instincts didn’t fail him. The American Idol of the 2016 elections understood that before this skeptical, sophisticated audience he had to behave differently than he had before. That’s why he brought a masterfully crafted Iran speech that could have been written by Netanyahu’s office. That’s why he read his remarks carefully from the teleprompter. That’s why he put forward a more or less orderly worldview, one that skillfully touched every sensitive American Jewish spot — worry over Israel, fear of the Middle East, and frustration over the rocky relationship with the Obama administration.

Trump didn’t try to buy off the Jews with cheap crack, but with pure, high-priced cocaine. And he succeeded. He fooled a lot of them. He left behind the baseless impression that maybe he isn’t a clown. Maybe he’s almost legitimate. Maybe he really is a friend of Israel who is turning into a serious candidate for president.

That’s why it must now be said in a loud voice: Jews, beware of Trump. Beware of his ultra-nationalism. Beware of his blatant racism. Beware of his violent populism. Beware of the way he molds the masses and does with them as he pleases. Throughout history, demagogues who inflamed passions and provoked hatred like Trump were the Jews’ most dangerous enemies. In countless countries and during innumerable eras, public figures like Trump fomented angry popular uprisings that sooner or later led to persecution of the Jews. Every Jew should shudder in the presence of the Trump phenomenon.

Donald Trump's full speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference. Donald Trump's full speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference.

Shall we stand idly by when they speak of Muslims the way people spoke about us? Will we cooperate when millions of (other) immigrants are hauled to police stations? It’s clear that this exciting Trump movie is a horror show. It’s clear that this will end badly. At the same time that he threatens America, he tramples on everything Judaism stands for.

Trump is trying to sell the illusion that he’ll be a loyal ally of Israel. But Trump is an isolationist. If he becomes president he will shrink NATO, pull out of the United Nations, and abandon the Middle East to focus on America’s domestic problems. So even at the strategic level, the alliance he’s offering is a false one. If this orange-haired, red-faced man gets to the White House, he will pose a genuine threat to Israel’s security.

But even more important than the strategic dimension is the moral one. It would be unforgivable to support a man for whom hatred of the other is a sacred oath. It would be a desecration of God’s name to cooperate with a man for whom war on minorities is a holy war. After we’ve seen Trump and we’ve heard Trump and we’ve treated Trump politely, it is our duty to impose the harshest possible prohibition on supporting Trump. Violating it would be a mortal sin.