Editor’s note: The upset victory by Donald Trump in the 2016 elections stunned a Jewish activist and leadership class that is at times as divided as the electorate at large. JTA asked some of those leaders to describe their concerns and expectations in a series of brief essays, “Worst fears, best hopes,” that will appear regularly between now and Inauguration Day.
(JTA) — Last week, America repudiated a smooth-talking, disingenuous, progressive ideologue who has governed us poorly for the past eight years, replacing him with a blunt, practical purveyor of common sense.
We hope that President Trump will speak to the American people candidly about radical Islam. We expect him to remind Americans who have forgotten (or never known) prosperity about the importance of economic growth. We look forward to a restoration of the freedom of speech and the free exercise of personal conscience and faith that the Obama administration and its allies in academia and the media have attacked.
Our greatest hope for the reassertion of truth, however, is an area in which Donald Trump and his advisers have already shown greater moral clarity than perhaps any world leaders since Truman and Churchill. Trump repudiates the lies of moral equivalence (at best) between Jews building a just society and Arabs inciting genocide. Obama went out of his way to embrace the extremists of the Muslim world and signal his disdain for the Jewish state. As a direct result, during the Obama years real anti-Semitism — grotesque libels and actual violence — grew dramatically around the world.
We were appalled at the distinctions being made between terrorists targeting Jews and those targeting “innocent people.” During the Obama years, for the first time in our lives, we heard older Jews discuss in hushed, agonized tones how the world was beginning to resemble the 1930s and whether there was anywhere left for Jews to run now. Younger Jews became hesitant to wear yarmulkes on campuses and on the streets of major American cities. Worse still, many young Jews became the most vocal of anti-Israel propagandists, spreading the blood libels of our enemies to keep their progressive virtue intact.
Our hope is that under Donald Trump and the Republicans, the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic lies of recent years will be replaced with the truth that Israel is an island of decency in a sea of violence and instability, a critical strategic ally, a beacon of liberal values, and the indigenous, eternal homeland of the Jewish people.
Our fear is the Democrats’ response. With the rise to presumptive Democratic National Committee chairmanship of Keith Ellison, a proud purveyor of the libel of occupation and oppression, the Democrats already seem to be doubling down on their antipathy toward Israel. That fear notwithstanding, we are excited about the future for the first time in many years. For that we thank President-elect Donald Trump.
(Jeff Ballabon is CEO of B2 Strategic (www.b2strategic.com), chairman of the Iron Dome Alliance, and a senior fellow at the Center for Statesmanship and Diplomacy. Bruce Abramson (www.bdabramson.com), is vice president for policy at the Iron Dome Alliance and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.)
Previous articles in this series can be found here.