Trump and the Jews

What is Trump’s relationship to the Jewish community?  Liberal American Jews attack Trump as an anti-Semitic racist.  Conservative Israeli Jews see him as a great friend of Israel.  His daughter is married to a Jew and converted to Judaism.  The Democratic Party attacks on Trump are led by Jews, but it’s not clear to me whether these attacks are racist, or whether they are just politically motivated.

The refrain from Charlottesville that “Jews will not replace us” illustrates the white people’s concern that Jews have the goal of displacing whites from the leadership of the United States.  If you subscribe to this theory, you see the Jews joining with other non-whites, blacks and Hispanics, who also oppose white leadership.

In this view, Hillary Clinton was the stalking horse for the Jewish takeover.  Jews are worried that there is still resistance to a Jewish President, and therefore they need someone whom they can control, but who presents a non-Jewish face.  Even here, however, the situation is not clear, since Hillary’s main Democratic opponent was Bernie Sanders, a Jew.  It looked like the insider, politically powerful Jews backed Hillary, while the outsider,  progressive Jews backed Bernie.  Hillary got most of the big-money Jews who contribute millions to the Democratic Party in every election cycle.

On the other hand, many of the conservative, big-money Jews, like Sheldon Adelson, backed Donald Trump.  These donors seem concerned about supporting Israel militarily, while the Democratic donors seem more concerned about domestic issues.  However, there is some concern among the “Jews-will-not-replace-us” crowd that one goal of all the politically motivated Jews is the support of Israel.  Jews see America as the big brother who will defend Israel from any threat from her Arab neighbors.  The  American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have both benefitted Israel militarily, if only by stirring up the Middle East so thoroughly that Muslim countries have dropped their rhetoric about Israel because they have more immediate threats to worry about.  Saudi Arabia may see Iran and Yemen as bigger threats than Israel, for example.  Syria’s civil war implosion has removed most of its threat to Israel.

So, Trump comes on stage as a huge supporter of Netanyahu, conservative Israelis, and conservative American Jews, which means that many American Jews support him.   On the other hand, Jews are extremely powerful in the Democratic Party, which is threatened by Trump.  It appears that the Democrats see their salvation in the arrival of millions of poor Latin immigrants, who along with American blacks, will constitute the voters that Democrats need to regain and retain power.  Jews also see themselves as recent immigrants, and therefore espouse protections for immigrants as protection for themselves.   Although these Democratic Jews have the defense of Israel as a secondary objective, they are more concerned about increasing the power of Jews in America.

Jews often seem to be split between Jews who dominate financially and politically and Jews who defend the poor and downtrodden.  Income inequality has probably benefitted Jews more than any other group in America.  Every year there is a greater percentage of Jews in the top 10%, the top 1%, and the top 0.1%, as new Jewish money tends to displace older, non-Jewish money.  So, America is home to many ultra, super-rich Jews, while may Jewish politicians advocate for the poor and helpless, most of whom are black and brown.  Jews expect to be able to manipulate these voters.  Blacks already vote something like 97% for Democrats; it is a bloc vote.  Hispanics are not as unified, but vote predominately (maybe 75%) for Democrats.  Jews see this underclass as their powerbase, which they can manipulate.

Trump does not seem to single out Jews as political enemies.  He is recruiting them to the Republican Party through his friendship with Netanyahu and support for Israel.  If any occupation would seem like a Jewish one, it would be Manhattan real estate; yet Trump has flourished there and become something like a billionaire.  He inflates is wealth, but he is rich, and he turned out to be more successful than many Jews in that Jewish world.  It’s not surprising that a New Yorker would be surrounded by many Jews, like Michael Cohen, the Kushners, Roy Cohn, and many others.  He does not see Jews as threats, and yet we find many of those opposing him in Washington are Jews.  He and Jerry Nadler apparently have a history of animosity, going back to the early days of Trump’s real estate empire and Nadler’s political career in New York City, according to the Washington Post.  Perhaps Trump is more interested in the benefits from the conservative, Israel-loving Jews than he is about the problems presented by the Jews in the Democratic Party like Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff.  Trump doesn’t seem to see his political problems as originating with powerful Jews.  I will be curious to see how this dynamic plays itself out.

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Split on Israel among Democrats

The article about the split on Israel among Democrats in the latest New York Times Magazine, “How the Battle Over Israel and Anti-Semitism Is Fracturing American Politics,” indicates that there may be some difficult times ahead for the Democrats and their Jewish supporters.  Typically, the Democratic Party has been the home of Jews, with about 70%-80% of Jews voting Democratic.  This article points out that the entry of blacks and Muslims into the party has muddied the waters.  Liberal Jews preach diversity, but many of them don’t like it when it affects their interests.  American Jews are split in their attitudes toward Israel.  Some back Israel 100%; others are critical of Israeli human rights violations, particularly toward the Palestinians.  This article says, however, that virtually all of the big-money, Jewish donors to the Democratic party are uncritical, strong backers of Israel.  There is a split between the two main Jewish lobbying froups.  AIPAC is unquestionably loyal to Israel, while J-Street questions some aspects of Israeli politics.

I wonder whether this turmoil among American Jews played some role in Netanyahu’s decision to return to Israel just before he was scheduled to speak to the AIPAC convention.  He sent virtual remarks from his plane or something, but they apparently were not well done and were not well received.  Maybe Netanyahu did not want to come, but felt that he had to get Trump’s blessing to help his re-election campaign.

This NYT Magazine provides some interesting reading about the political influence of American Jews, and how the Democratic strategy of building its base on black and brown voters and immigrants is complicating the Jewish role.  Will Democrats lose Jewish big-money donors by recruiting increasing numbers of black and brown voters?  Will they go for the money or the votes?  All of the current publicity about Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rouke and others getting millions of dollars from many small donations may signal a current perception that new voters’ contributions may offset any lost big-money contributions, but it is still early in the campaign to see if that strategy will work throughout the election cycle.

Attacking Trump on Finances

Since the Democratic attack on President Trump for colluding Russia to win the 2016 election seems headed for failure, they will switch their attacks to looking for financial crimes.  I think it will be easy to find some questionable things that Trump has done in the past, but it will be less clear whether they rise to the level of serious crimes.  What they find is unlikely to be campaign-related, except for the payments to the two women, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.  Other misdeeds probably predate the campaign and prosecuting them will smack of political motivations, rather than legal ones.  If he did something wrong in 2012 (or whenever) he should have been accused and prosecuted then, not now.

The Democrats moved too quickly on the collusion with the Russians allegation.  They were the ones who decided to believe the internet rumors and innuendo, the Facebook myths about Trump.  They were actually accusing Trump of treason.  Trump may be a lot of things, but he is probably not a traitor.  He believes to the bottom of his heart that he is not a traitor, and that is why he found the allegations so abhorrent.  I find it interesting that his harshest accusers were mostly Jews, who often have divided loyalties, whether they are more loyal to Israel or the United States.  Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler appear to be hypocritical, two-faced accusers.  They enter this battle as soiled as Donald Trump.

On the other hand, impeachment is not about law or justice; it is about politics.  If the Democrats can persuade enough of their colleagues to vote for impeachment, Trump will be gone.  But with a Republican Senate that will be hard to do, unless some new really sordid scandals (worse than all the sordid stuff that has already come up) come to light.

The Democrats have a better chance of indicting and convicting Trump after he is no longer President.  If they do, it will look a lot like sour grapes and political retribution, but it may stick.