If you think Trump is helping Israel, you’re a fool

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Trump at the White House in March.
Doug Mills / The New York Times)
By barring Representatives Omar and Tlaib, Netanyahu has poisoned relations with America.

By Thomas Friedman | The New York Times | Aug 16, 2019

Excuse me, but when did powerful Israel — a noisy, boisterous democracy where Israeli Arabs in its Parliament say all kinds of wild and crazy things — get so frightened by what a couple of visiting freshman American congresswomen might see or say?

I am going to say this as simply and clearly as I can: If you’re an American Jew and you’re planning on voting for Donald Trump because you think he is pro-Israel, you’re a damn fool.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Trump has said and done many things that are in the interests of the current Israeli government — and have been widely appreciated by the Israeli public. To deny that would be to deny the obvious. But here’s what’s also obvious. Trump’s way of — and motivation for — expressing his affection for Israel is guided by his political desire to improve his re-election chances by depicting the entire Republican Party as pro-Israel and the entire Democratic Party as anti-Israel.

As a result, Trump — with the knowing help of Israel’s current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu — is doing something no American president and Israeli prime minister have done before: They’re making support for Israel a wedge issue in American politics.

Few things are more dangerous to Israel’s long-term interests than its becoming a partisan matter in America, which is Israel’s vital political, military and economic backer in the world.

As Dore Gold, the right-wing former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and once a very close adviser to Netanyahu, warned in a dialogue at the Hudson Institute on Nov. 27, 2018: “You reach out to Democrats, and you reach out to Republicans. And you don’t get caught playing partisan politics in the United States.’’

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