An issue among Jewish Americans has arisen since before the election, and can be seen continuing well after it: the debate over whether or not Trump has actually helped Israel throughout his presidency. In the past four years, Trump has pushed his Middle East Peace Plan, moved the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and established diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Some American Jews have tremendous gratitude toward the Trump administration and believe these decisions prove that President Trump has been a better friend to Jews and Israel than any other president. Jewish Trump supporters bring evidence like a poll finding that Israelis support President Trump 54%-21%, Trump is (or at least appears to be) warm friends with Isaeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and that his own daughter and son-in-law are Jewish. They say that President Trump must be doing something right.
This, however, is what many fail to consider: Trump and his actions have, in fact, made Israel appear worse in the eyes of Democrats and the rest of the world. Excluding his apparent support for Israel, Trump is not a friend of the Jewish people. On November 14, when some thousands of Trump supporters traveled to Washington, DC to rally their support around his conspiracy theories of election fraud, they came equipped with MAGA, Blue Lives Matter, and Nazi flags. Any president – or person, for that matter – that does not actively condemn Nazi symbols, but in fact inspires them, is far from being a friend to the Jewish people.
Just on Friday, November 13, according to a new report from CNN, a Pentagon senior advisor (appointed by Trump) accused Mike Pompeo and other politicians of supporting Israel purely because of the money they were receiving from the Israel lobby. This, of course, perpetuates an age old anti-Semitic trope and parallels Ilhan Omar’s tweet from last year that American and Jewish politicians support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins.” It is clear that the fringes of both parties have an anti-Semitism problem. Hideous anti-Semitism is within the Trump administration, as shown through Trump’s support for Steve Bannon — who considered his web site, Breitbart, a platform for the often anti-Semitic alt right — and others. The Trump administration’s simultaneous anti-Semitism whilst feigning support for Israel and Jews is extremely dangerous.
Conversely, if there’s one thing you can say about Joe Biden, it’s that he has been a friend to the Jewish people and has outwardly supported Israel. Unlike the current President, he has condemned white supremacists like the KKK, has not endorsed far-right wing groups and conspiracy theories, and has not stated that there are “very fine people on both sides” of a weekend of white suprmacist demonstrations. While there are Democrats who do not support the state of Israel, Biden has spoken (whether through video or in-person) at AIPAC, and vehemently supports the state of Israel.
Many Democrats, especially those to the left of Joe Biden, are loath to endorse anything the president has done, and certainly do not want to associate with him or any of his policies. Trump’s support of Israel has stopped many Democrats from even listening to any discussions about Israel. If the Jewish state wants to keep its bipartisan support, this will not come through Donald Trump. Half of our divided country will refuse to agree with anything President Trump says, and Trump’s aggressive endorsement of Netanyahu and Israel has made it overwhelmingly harder for Israel to find American support overall.
Biden’s Israel plan, clearly stated on his website, is one aimed to help American Jews –and Israel– feel welcomed again. Biden does not support conditioning aid to Israel, and his multi-handed dealing with both Israelis and Palestinians will certainly help get us closer to peace in the Middle East than Trump’s partisan plans. Biden supports “economic and technological partnership between the United States and Israel,” he “firmly rejects the BDS movement,” and he will “sustain our unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security.”
Compared to Trump, Biden will be good not only for the Jewish community, but for the continued recognition of Israel. His proven record of siding with the Jewish people and supporting Israel for the sake of the country itself is clear; and perhaps, with President Biden, we will finally see the day when Nazism and extremism are genuinely condemned and support for Israel no longer becomes a partisan issue.