Opinion

If You Gave Up on Netanyahu, Why Hold Out Hope for Trump?

Netanyahu is a great speaker and Trump has a hard time putting together a coherent sentence, but both share an inability to deliver. They are dying to expel, annex, throw out and destroy – but they can’t.

President Donald Trump talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a ceremony to lay a wreath at Yad Vashem to honor the victims of the holocaust, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Jerusalem. From left, first lady Melania Trump, Trump, Netanyahu, and Sara Netanyahu.
Evan Vucci/AP

“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?” asks Tzvia Greenfield. She even argues that Trump has performed no less than three miracles. The first is the use of the words “two-state solution”: the second, talking about “peace”; and the third, in her words, is that “Trump spoke in Riyadh and dared to make – in front of all those Muslim leaders – the demand for an uncompromising war on terror.”

There is a fundamental difference between the U.S. president and the Israeli prime minister. Trump is a big bully, a proud ignoramus, and his inability to keep his mouth shut repeatedly reveals his astonishing inarticulateness in his mother tongue. By contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is educated and well-mannered, a talented orator in both Hebrew and English. But while Netanyahu is a great speaker and Trump has a hard time putting together a coherent sentence, both share an inability to deliver. They are dying to expel, annex, throw out and destroy – but they can’t.

And who’s to blame for their failure? To Trump it’s obvious – the media, which is only fabricating his failures and not reporting on the wonderful things he’s done for the American people; the left, i.e., the Democrats or the Republican minority that still hasn’t lost its sanity and underpinnings; and the judges, who repeatedly void or freeze the draconian orders that he has issued against immigrants, for example, because they’re unconstitutional.

For Netanyahu, of course, this is all old hat. He disseminates lies about those media outlets that don’t cover his extensive positive activities, and when he’s caught he simply moves on to the next falsehood without even a modicum of an apology. As for the High Court of Justice, which repeatedly strikes down the discriminatory and racist legislation the government produces, he needn’t castigate the court himself; he has a justice minister who is doing a good job digging under the court’s foundations and all kinds of MKs who are warming up the D-9 bulldozers. And the left? We don’t know exactly where it is, but everyone knows that if Netanyahu ceases to be prime minister, within two days it will ask the Arabs to throw us all into the sea as compensation for the Nakba in 1948.

Trump speaks about two states? Netanyahu spoke about two states in his 2009 address at Bar-Ilan University. He retracted that commitment, and then retracted the retraction, and so on. Netanyahu warned against Arabs who were exercising their right to vote, and then invited some Likud lackeys in kaffiyehs for a reconciliation photo-op.

Does Greenfield still believe Netanyahu? If the answer is negative, why is she prepared to give Trump a chance? Has she also been blinded by the glamour of “The Art of the Deal,” the book published by a failed businessman who inherited his wealth and since then has left a trail of debts and bankruptcies? Israel also has quite a few economists who mourn Netanyahu’s political foolishness, “because he was an excellent finance minister,” without realizing that the latter doesn’t offset the former.

It’s a good thing the admiring Greenfield was prepared to note as an aside that, “No one is prepared to take Trump seriously, and the general consensus is that his declarations are empty of meaning.” Otherwise I would be listening for the footsteps of the Messiah’s donkey echoing in the world.