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Trump and the Jews

By       Message Lawrence Davidson       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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Part I -- The Background Before the year 1967 the political and social relationships of the American Jewish community were very different than today. Those relationships were based on simple and accurate logic. Jews in the United States were a minority. Their country of residence had other minorities as well, most notably the African Americans, who also had a long history of being discriminated against. Given these conditions, it made sense for the American Jews to make alliances with other U.S. minorities -- a united front, so to speak -- with the clear-sighted understanding that if one group's rights were attacked, all of their rights stood in danger. The alliance proved beneficial, and many American Jews were involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
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This era of mutually beneficial cooperation lasted until the year 1967. In that year the State of Israel, which had put forth the hubristic claim of being a "Jewish state" whose government had the right to speak for the world's Jews, conquered territory from several of its neighboring states and then (1) refused to withdraw from most of that land, (2) began to move their own population into the conquered lands in violation of international law, and finally (3) began ethnically cleansing the conquered area of its non-Jewish population. This process was so blatantly illegal and racist in nature that almost all American minority groups protested against it (the only exception being right-wing Cuban Americans). Particularly strong protests came from African Americans. At that point American Jews had an important decision to make. Should they maintain a principled anti-racist position which required standing apart from Israeli action and preserve their united front with other U.S. minority groups? Or should they abandon the united front strategy and cast their fortunes with their increasingly racist Israeli cousins? Though it was predictably a tragic misjudgment, the American Jewish elite, and most of the Jews of the time who followed their lead, abandoned the anti-racist front, angrily turned away from those critical of Israeli behavior, and began supporting and rationalizing Israel's war on the indigenous population (the Palestinians) of the lands they had conquered.
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This situation has continued to the present day. And, during all this time, it seems never to have occurred to the American Jewish community that their bond with Israel has cost them exactly those domestic allies that they would need if hate groups -- those who lump together Jews with other American minorities and detest them all -- eventually found influence in Washington. Part II -- Enter Trump And now that is what appears to be happening. Donald Trump is president-elect. An article in Haaretz describes Trump's worldview as "reactionary, nativist, chauvinistic, anti-foreigner, anti-immigrant and mainly anti-Muslim." This concoction is threatening to American Jews as well. One can see this by paying attention to some of the people Trump is now naming as advisers and cabinet appointees. People such as: Steve Bannon -- Trump's "chief strategist." Bannon is a leader in the so-called "white nationalist" movement and "the standard bearer" for racist, anti-immigrant positions. He is also an anti-Semite who, reportedly, does not want his children going to school with Jews.
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Frank Gaffney -- Trump is consulting with Gaffney on a range of national security appointments. The problem is that Gaffney's view of the world is crazy. He is the founder of a think tank called the Center for Security Policy, which promotes such ideas as (1) president Obama is a "closet Muslim," (2) the Muslim Brotherhood is "infiltrating the U.S. government at high levels," and (3) Islamic religious law is "replacing American democracy." Jeff Sessions -- Sessions is a senator from Alabama whom Trump wants to make Attorney General because, allegedly, he is "a world class legal mind." He is also a known racist who, as a prosecuting attorney in Alabama, was denied a federal judgeship because of his racial insensitivity. What else can one expect from someone who thinks that "a white voting rights lawyer was a disgrace to his race." The American Civil Liberties Union describes Sessions as "the senator with probably the most anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-child record in the Senate."

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Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign
Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest
; America's
Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli
Statehood
; and Islamic Fundamentalism. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

His blog To The Point Analyses now has its own Facebook page. Along with the analyses, the Facebook page will also have reviews, pictures, and other analogous material.

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