Opinion |

What Does Israel’s Left Have Against Trump?

The American left has understandable political objectives, and its battle against Trump is necessary and justified to realize its political plans. But the struggle of the American left cannot be the struggle of Israelis who desire peace

Tzvia Greenfield
Tzvia Greenfield
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Anti-Trump protesters hold a rally near the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv during Trump's visit to Israel, May 2017.
Anti-Trump protesters hold a rally near the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv during Trump's visit to Israel, May 2017. Credit: David Bachar
Tzvia Greenfield
Tzvia Greenfield

Skepticism is healthy. In the case of U.S. President Donald Trump, it’s practically the order of the day. The war against him in Washington is so forceful that it’s hard to believe he’ll be able to withstand it. And yet, why assume from the start that this president can do nothing to assist in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Sometimes it seems that for left-wing spokesmen it’s more important to express loyalty to former President Barack Obama and his superior wisdom than to support every glimmer of an attempt to advance peace.

After all, to date Trump has managed to accomplish at least three miracles that no one believed possible. First, it has been made clear to all the dreamers, particularly on the right but also on the left, that the diplomatic discourse must indeed focus on the two-state solution. Against the wishes of all the detractors of the State of Israel, this approach, which supports a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state, is the only one that can meet the needs of all the residents between the river and the sea. Such diplomatic struggles usually take decades, as the Zionist movement, among others, has shown. But if this solution does not materialize in the end, the whole region will be dragged into diplomatic and moral chaos.

Second, suddenly we’ve started to once again hear talk about peace. No one is prepared to take Trump seriously, and the general consensus is that his declarations are empty of meaning.

But here we have an American president who has bigger problems than Israeli-Palestinian relations and yet unlike Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he repeatedly talks about the need for peace. Trump, who represents the right, is insisting on a dialogue of peace and compromise that Netanyahu would like nothing more than for everyone to forget, and he sounds much more convinced than Obama. If this is not a miracle, we’ve forgotten what a miracle is.

Third, Trump spoke in Riyadh and dared to make – in front of all those Muslim leaders – the demand for an uncompromising war on terror. In his address to the UN General Assembly he also spoke clearly about how he sees America’s role in the world – as a place in which good people must struggle against the plots of the bad guys, with the definitions of good and bad returning to its most fundamental meanings: those who want to deliberately hurt others and who seek to take their very lives or undermine the quality of their lives, versus those who believe that human beings were meant to live a life of liberty and don’t seek to realize this goal for themselves by oppressing others.

It’s true that Trump is a very problematic president. He’s unpleasant and it’s hard to believe a word he says. But still, it must be asked: What’s the point of joining the hatefest that the left and the American media are conducting against him?

The American left has understandable political objectives, and its battle against Trump is necessary and justified to realize its political plans. But the struggle of the American left cannot be the struggle of Israelis who desire peace. From the moment the U.S. president expressed his explicit readiness to advance and realize a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, one has to give him credit. Even if he sounds arrogant and unreliable, there is no point in turning him into the unbearable creature that the Israeli media tend to describe. It should be remembered that when it comes to peace, the interests of the Israeli left are not identical to those of the American left.