What President Trump Will Mean for Israel

Instead of applauding Donald Trump’s speech, AIPAC members should have been very worried about his anti-Muslim, anti-UN and anti-Palestinian message.

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Donald Trump delivers his speech at the AIPAC conference, March 21, 2016.
Donald Trump delivers his speech at the AIPAC conference, March 21, 2016. Credit: AFP
Tal Niv
Tal Niv

“My daughter Ivanka is about to have a beautiful Jewish baby,” Donald Trump told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference this week. In a nutshell, the leading Republican presidential candidate was displaying his wares: there are beautiful Jewish babies, and there are bad Muslims. Trump said there are Arab countries that pay terrorists. And it’s true. There are countries that provide money to other countries, and then people in these countries use it for military purposes – some legal and some illegal – like blowing up a civilian population, interrogating and detaining people without trial, demolishing buildings and deporting people.

Trump also bad-mouthed the United Nations. Indeed, the organization that was set up after a world war in the name of resolving conflicts suffers many problems, but alienating it is scandalous. Does Trump really want to erode the United States’ preferred status at the UN, and hint that his policy has no interest in a global organization that aims to provide other nations with a voice?

So continued Trump’s lowbrow arrogance, which is unbecoming of a world leader. He focused on the message “that’s how a deal gets done” – by saying that everyone needs to get something and give up something – while he yielded nothing in terms of the Jewish-Israeli or U.S. supremacy. He did quote the amount of money a Palestinian widow or orphan receives from the Palestinian Authority, but he did not specify in what context. There is no reason and no reciprocity. This was a fabricated deal.

Trump’s fearmongering speech was peppered with the methodical repetition of “Believe me.” Instead of applauding, AIPAC members should have been very worried. Indeed, if he recommends that Israel ignore the international deal with Iran that was signed with U.S. backing, and promises to veto any UN decision “against” Israel and to rescind its previous deals, he is basically saying he has no faith in deals in general. He may have joked about his best-selling book “The Art of the Deal” – but the message is not funny at all. His duplicitous attitude toward deals means that the deal is not always mutual, and he always has the last word.

Thus, while comically mispronouncing the name “Ol-mert,” he reiterated his “reject any offer” thesis about the Palestinians, and explained that he absolutely supports one side, Israel, which he presented as the victim. In his words, there is no logic or respect or honesty.

Is martyrology an obstacle to peace? Of course it is. And jihad? Of course. Suicide bombers violate the universal command to choose life. Israel does not encourage its citizens to stab Palestinians in the street – but it does use military checkpoints while controlling the Palestinian population registry, water, electricity and cellular networks. This is the method here. Trump used inflated and misleading financial data to blame Hamas for the failure of the Palestinian Authority, which indeed did not achieve freedom or civil equality for Palestinians.

But does that mean Israel was not harsh enough with the Palestinians? Is it possible to presume that President Trump would willingly fund settlements? Palestinian children are “being taught to hate Israel and to hate the Jews,” he said, and he tied himself, via his daughter, to the birth of a Jewish baby.

Besides racism, the man who talks about himself in the third person promised conference attendees that when he becomes president, he will move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem – contrary to the traditional, official position of the United States. It could be that if he does that, somebody would decide to move Jerusalem itself.

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