Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Can Trump Straddle Anti-Semitism and Pro-Israel?

How can Trump be Pro-Russia, Anti-Semitic, and Pro-Israel at the same time?

One problem the Trump Administration is facing before it even becomes an Administration is how to corral all the elements of the "far right" when in fact many of these elements despise one another.  The big problem is the "alt-right" otherwise known as the Skinheads, the KKK, and the American Nazi Party.  This is about as far-right as you can get, and one of their prime tenents is that Jews are no damn good.

At the same time, Trump embraces Israel, promises to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, and implicitly seems to endorse Netanyahu's "One-State Solution" - annexing the West Bank and throwing out the "Palestinians" (which Netanyahu would put in quotes).  His top advisor, is his son-in-law - the Dick Cheney of the Trump Administration - who is Jewish.

And of course his other top advisor runs a website that has pro-Israel writers and anti-Semitic readers.  Breitbart mirrors the schizophrenia of the new administration.

Meanwhile, Trump sucks up to Russia and acts like Putin's butt-boy - promising to renounce sanctions and re-boot relations with Moscow.   Russia, of course is in bed with Assad, and will no doubt have a presence in Syria, once the war there is ended (with Assad winning, of course).   Russian and Israel have an interesting love-hate relationship over the years - it is hard to say how Israel will react to Trump's support of Russia, should Israel and Syria get into any kind of conflict.

But somewhere along the line, Trump is going to have to dump one constituency to support another.  And I suspect it is the anti-Semitic far right that will be shown the door, not Israel or American Jewish conservatives.  At that point, what does the alt-right do?  They will feel they have been used, to be sure.

And this is where the Trump train may jump the tracks.

Trump was a lot like a Rorschach ink-blot test - and maybe Obama was as well.   We look at these candidates and see what we want to see in them.   Well, maybe some do.  When I look at both Trump and Obama, I see flawed human beings like myself.  Only one, though, has a dark soul.

The religious right may not care.  Once populated with anti-Semites, the fundamentalists decided about a decade ago that Jews were no longer "Jesus-killers" but in fact, God's chosen people, and that one of the signs of the "end times" was the Jews returning to Israel.   Of course, "end times" theology is a bunch of gibberish and really isn't supported by the Bible.   So for whatever reason, the far-right Christians now say Jews are A-OK with them, so Trump's pro-Israel stance shouldn't piss them off too much.   On the other hand, if he fails to outlaw abortion...

The very far-right, on the other hand, including racists, neo-Nazis, and anti-Semites looked at Trump and heard his "dog-whistles" and assumed he was "one of them" - a bigot and a racist.   And there is evidence to suggest he is these things.   But anti-Semite?  Not in a country mile.   And even when it comes to race relations, while one could certainly argue he is tone-deaf on the issue, he isn't going to be able to reverse too much without running afoul of some Supreme Court decisions, laws, and even the Constitution.

So the far-right, thinking they elected a man who would "Make America Great Again" - which they believed meant Make America White Again - will be sorely disappointed in the next few years.

"He sold out!" they will say, "to the International Jewish Conspiracy!"   Or they might argue, "He became one of those insiders in Washington!" - a nebulous term that really means nothing when you think about it.

As a result, this voting bloc may not be around in the mid-term elections or in four years.   Perhaps.   It is an opportunity for the Democrats - an opportunity I am highly confident they will fumble.