Opinion |

If You Boycott Israel, Shouldn't You Boycott Trump's America as Well?

There's a difference, you say? I agree. America's record is worse

Bradley Burston
Bradley Burston
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Trump speaks during a news conference after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018.
Trump speaks after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, June 12, 2018.Credit: \ JONATHAN ERNST/ REUTERS
Bradley Burston
Bradley Burston

What if everything you knew and believed and cared about and clung to, was over?

It just might be.

You can feel it. There's a president in Washington whose every move is meant to chop-shop America, and to fence or sell-off outright – for literal profit – its most basic freedoms, its dreams, its best self.

It's there in his every move, whether it's the incessant carnival sideshow you can't avoid watching, or the deep dives into devastating backroom measures no one's allowed to see. This is a man who has shown us, assured us, out loud and incessantly, that his commonality of interests is with human rights violators, tyrants, theocrats, abject bigots, Islamophobes, anti-Semites, private militias, abettors of genocide, and the "very talented" owner and operator of concentration camps.

This is a man, after all, who thinks nothing of tearing immigrant children from their undocumented parents, some of them asylum seekers, and shipping the parents to jail. This is a man who bows and scrapes and does the bidding of America's enemies in Moscow and Pyongyang, while undermining and denigrating close and indispensable allies. This is a man who unilaterally and without precedent has rescinded the status of millions of acres of national monument land for the benefit of coal, oil, natural gas and uranium producers.

Never has an American president so fully deserved a boycott. And, in fact, a boycott has already begun. In recent weeks, stars of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles and NBA champion Golden State Warriors announced that because of President Donald Trump, the teams would boycott a White House reception for victors, spurning a sports tradition nearly a century old.

Trump, slipping comfortably into his hiss as the petulant if overgrown brat that he is, ruled that, no, the teams would not be invited anyway.

Moreover, the prospect of a boycott goes far beyond America's shores. Citing the trade wars Trump has threatened to wage against Canada and other long-time partners, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken said Sunday: "We've now demonstrated at the G7 that America First is America Alone. We're losing our closest partners and allies."

"Confidence in U.S. global leadership has gone through the floor," Blinken told CNN.

It's time to consider a protest boycott against the underpinnings of the Trump regime. For a start, it's time to answer Fox News by boycotting its sponsors, and letting its sponsors know why.

On a personal note, as the U.S. Jewish community is important to me, I believe that American Jews should shun, condemn, and protest the Trump administration at every opportunity. This includes, but is by no means confined to, individuals like U.S. Ambassador to Israel David ("worse than Kapos") Friedman.

Another is Evangelical Pastor Robert Jeffress, who once said that Judaism, along with Mormonism, Islam and Hinduism, are among the religions which "lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell."

Jeffress was chosen to offer a blessing at the May 14 opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, an invocation which he closed by saying "We pray this in the name of the Prince of Peace - Jesus, our Lord."

This is the administration that has taken the impossible lives of Palestinian refugees and managed to make their living conditions even worse, cutting more than half of its planned funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.

This administration has done everything it can to dismiss and suppress Palestinian aspirations, gleefully moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in an event that evoked the Republican National Convention, lending an automatic green light to settlement expansion and the shooting of unarmed Palestinians.

And on a final personal note, as a leftist who supports the twinned if dismayingly difficult causes of Palestinian nationhood and a genuinely democratic Israel, it seems to me that leftists in the United States ought to apply to Trump's America the standards of decency, morality and historical justice which they demand of Israel.

That is, if you believe that Israel as a country merits boycott, sanctions and divestment, what do you say about the country in which you live, that nation which practiced unspeakable genocide, forced relocation and brutal occupation against its native population, stripped them of their rights, and allowed massive numbers of settlers to take over their lands?

Can you in good conscience boycott the one and essentially give the other a pass?

That nation which closed its borders to literally millions of Jews threatened with extermination by the Nazis. A nation whose Constitution enshrined and fostered slavery. A nation which to this day practices widespread police brutality, disproportionate imprisonment, and disparity of advantage and opportunity against people of color.

There's a difference, you say? I agree. America's record is worse.

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