Although I voted for Hillary Clinton — and President Obama twice — I am strongly committed to the notion that we all need to give President-elect Trump every opportunity to succeed.
But I am very troubled by some of the people he is appointing, and by the bigots, racists, anti-Semites, homophobes and misogynists empowered because they think he represents their point of view and will bring back the “glory” of white Christian America.
What makes this particularly troubling is the shameful way some segments of the Jewish community here have jumped on the bandwagon, effectively rubbing elbows with Klansmen.
Yes, we need to support Trump, and the State of Israel needs to support him, if for no other reason than we have the lessons of recent history teaching us what eight years of butting heads with a sitting U.S. president yields in terms of broader American support.
While virtually every world leader reached out to congratulate Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu went one better, calling him “a true friend of Israel,” perhaps to remind us that he felt Obama was not.
“True friend” because Trump visits Israel so often? Or is it just in the hope that his anti-Muslim rhetoric translates into a “build what you want, wherever you want” one-state position?
Perhaps worse was Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer stating publicly that he looks forward to working closely with Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist. It is Bannon who has spread hatred and lies through his website, and has stood for the worst we have to offer as a country. And shame on those of us who use the “but he’s pro-Israel” excuse for normalizing hatred.
So when we wonder why we can’t reach our kids, and why our messages aren’t resonating with so many Americans who are neither anti-Israel nor pro-Palestinian, remember that our message is off-kilter.
We are supposed to be the “light” unto the nations, not the darkness, and all of the temporary, ephemeral support in the world is not worth selling our souls.
Global chief executive officer, Young and Rubicam
For more post-election letters from leading Jewish thinkers and opinion molders, visit thejewishweek.com and click on Editorial & Opinion.
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