Contempt for the president is widespread, but he is more likely to get the last laugh on this issue than his detractors.
By JONATHAN S. TOBIN (September 26, 2018 / JNS) The international community made no secret of its contempt for U.S. President Donald Trump when he spoke to the U.N. General Assembly in September. So it was little surprise that when the president uttered a typical piece of Trumpian braggadocio with a tenuous connection to the truth—“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country”—the response was peals of laughter from the normally restrained audience of officials in the chamber.
For most of the media, this was a telling moment not just because it momentarily flummoxed the president, but because it also conformed to the way his opponents think of him. Trump’s critics see him in general as unworthy of the presidency, but his lack of knowledge about foreign affairs and respect for the post-World War II order has caused him to be regarded by the policy establishment as a hopeless ignoramus and a danger to the world.
But while that disdain resonated in the media coverage of the speech, those doing the chortling shouldn’t be too confident that they will have the last laugh. Trump’s willingness to challenge the establishment’s conventional wisdom and to rail at “globalists” may seem comical at the United Nations and on CNN. But those who think that the international community will be able to thwart his efforts to overturn the Iran nuclear deal are the ones who are playing the fool.
That Trump would think to brag at the world-body arena about his Middle East policies was inconceivable to his U.N. audience. They regard his willingness to drop the international community’s fiction about Jerusalem not being Israel’s capital as shocking. They feel just as strongly about Trump’s plans to finally hold the Palestinians accountable for their rejection of peace and support for terror. But on Jerusalem, as well as seeking the end of UNRWA—the U.N. agency that is devoted to perpetuating the Palestinian refugee problem rather than resolving it—Trump is merely showing common sense.
Though bereft of policy experience, he understands that the “experts” have spent the last few decades being consistently wrong about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Yet even some who favor Israel worry that his support is meaningless since they view Trump as destroying American influence in the world.
It is in that context that his stance on Iran actually proves the opposite point.
Though the United Nations and America’s European allies think Trump is isolating the United States and diminishing its ability to influence events, it is they who are being unrealistic. Whether they like it or not, Trump is getting his way on Iran, and nothing his opponents are planning to do is likely to stop him.
The Europeans are adamant that the Iran deal is the best way to control Iran’s nuclear program. But it is figures like French President Emmanuel Macron, who denounced American policies at the United Nations, who are the fabulists in this debate, not Trump.
The Iran deal was an act of appeasement on the part of President Barack Obama that threw away the West’s leverage at the very moment when Iran was at its weakest. The pact enriched and empowered a rogue regime to the point where it is a greater threat to regional security than ever before, and knows it only has to have the patience to wait for the nuclear deal to expire within a decade before resuming its march to a bomb with the West unable and unwilling to do anything about it.
The assumption by the Europeans and Obama supporters was that it was irreversible because America’s allies would never consent to a return to sanctions on Iran. That argument was always flawed. It was always within the power of the United States to enact new sanctions and to deny the right to do business with American financial institutions to any entity that continued to operate in Iran. Enacting such sanctions would offend U.S. allies, as well as other nations like Russia and China.
In other words, it was the kind of thing that only a Trump would do.
But far from being ineffective, the reaction from the European Union and others shows that they know Trump is succeeding. The re-imposition of sanctions on Iran’s oil exports is already having . When new, more far-reaching sanctions are imposed in November, along with regulations that will give the Europeans a choice between economic ties with the United States or Iran, their problems will multiply. The brave talk from people like E.U. head Federica Mogherini that they will create a bank that will shield European companies from U.S. sanctions is as absurd as it is unworkable. Trump may not be respected, but the idea that the Europeans can afford to exist outside in isolation from the U.S. economy or that American sanctions can’t bring Iran to its knees is the real joke.
Too many Trump critics are still looking at his foreign policy through the lens of past conflicts. The “America First” slogan he has embraced has frightening historical baggage, and his skepticism about NATO remains troubling. But Trump’s push against the “globalists” is not anti-Semitic—and not just because it is part of a clear tilt towards Israel.
As long as key U.S. allies seem more concerned about defending their right to profit from commerce with Iran than in bringing to heal the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism or in holding the Palestinians accountable for their terrorist acts, America will need a leader who is willing to run roughshod over friends who act as Iran’s enablers. Seen from that perspective, Trump looks a lot smarter than his European counterparts, who have tied themselves to failed destructive policies that must be discarded to ensure the security of the West. They may think they can wait him out until he is replaced in 2021. But a U.S. campaign to stop Iran is likely to succeed before then. If so, it will be Trump who will be the one smiling.
Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS — Jewish News Syndicate. Follow him on Twitter at @jonathans_tobin.
Hamas murdered their friend. Now, they help Israeli soldiers to keep his memory alive
By VIRGINIA ALLEN (The Daily Signal) David Newman sent a text to a friend the morning of Saturday, Oct. 7. Something terrible had happened. Word quickly spread among Newman’s group of friends, who had known each other since high school.
Newman, 25, had traveled the night before to the music festival in southern Israel, close to the border with the Gaza Strip. It was supposed to be a fun weekend with his girlfriend “celebrating life,” something Newman, who served with the Israel Defense Forces, was good at and loved to do, friend Gidon Hazony recalls.
When Hazony learned that Newman, his longtime friend, was in danger, he and another friend decided they were “going to go down and try and save him.” Trained as a medic and armed with a handgun and bulletproof vest, Hazony started driving south from Jerusalem.
Hazony and his friend ended up joining with other medical personnel and “treated probably around 50 soldiers and civilians in total that day,” Hazony recalls, but they kept trying to make it south to rescue Newman.
But the two “never made it down to the party, and that’s probably for the best,” Hazony says, “because that area was completely taken over by terrorists. And if we had gone down there, I think we would’ve been killed.”
Hazony later learned that Hamas terrorists had murdered Newman on Oct. 7, but not before Newman had saved nearly 300 lives, including the life of his girlfriend.
When the terrorists began their attack on the music festival, many attendees began running to their cars. But Newman and his girlfriend encountered a police officer who warned them to run the opposite direction because the terrorists were near the vehicles, says David Gani, another friend of Newman’s.
Newman “ran in the opposite direction with his girlfriend and whoever else he could kind of corral with him,” Gani explains during an interview on “The Daily Signal Podcast.”
“They saw two industrial garbage cans, big containers, and so David told everyone, ‘Hide, hide in those containers,’” Gani says. “And so what he did over the course of the next few hours is, he would take people and … he was this big guy, and he would just chuck them in that container. And then he would go in, wait, wait till the coast is clear, and then he’d go back out, find more people, put them in there.”
Newman’s actions that day, and the atrocities Hazony and so many others in Israel witnessed Oct. 7, led Hazony, Gani, and several friends to quit their jobs and set up a nonprofit called Soldiers Save Lives. The organization is working to collect tactical and humanitarian aid for the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF.
According to the group’s website, Soldiers Save Lives has supplied over 20 IDF units and civilian response teams “with protective and self-defense gear.”
Gani, board chairman, chief financial officer, and chief technology officer of Soldiers Save Lives, and Hazony, president of the organization, recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to raise support and awareness for their mission to provide IDF troops with needed supplies.
If you would like to find out more about Soldiers Save Lives or donate to them, go to https://www.soldierssavelives.org/
Reprinted with permission.
Our New Jewish Reality
By HENRY SREBRNIK Since Oct. 7, we Jews have been witnessing an ongoing political and psychological pogrom. True, there have been no deaths (so far), but we’ve seen the very real threat of mobs advocating violence and extensive property damage of Jewish-owned businesses, and all this with little forceful reaction from the authorities.
The very day after the carnage, Canadians awoke to the news that the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust had inspired sustained celebrations in its major cities. And they have continued ever since. I’d go so far as to say the Trudeau government has, objectively, been more interested in preventing harm to Gazans than caring about the atrocities against Israelis and their state.
For diaspora Jews, the attacks of Oct. 7 were not distant overseas events and in this country since then they have inspired anti-Semitism, pure and simple, which any Jew can recognize. Even though it happened in Israel, it brought back the centuries-old memories of defenseless Jews being slaughtered in a vicious pogrom by wild anti-Semites.
I think this has shocked, deeply, most Jews, even those completely “secular” and not all that interested in Judaism, Israel or “Zionism.” Jewish parents, especially, now fear for their children in schools and universities. The statements universities are making to Jewish students across the country could not be clearer: We will not protect you, they all but scream. You’re on your own.
But all this has happened before, as we know from Jewish history. Long before Alfred Dreyfus and Theodor Herzl, the 1881 pogroms in tsarist Russia led to an awakening of proto-Zionist activity there, with an emphasis on the land of Israel. There were soon new Jewish settlements in Palestine.
The average Jew in Canada now knows that his or her friend at a university, his co-worker in an office, and the people he or she socializes with, may in fact approve, or at least not disapprove, of what happened that day in Israel. Acquaintances or even close friends may care far more about Israel killing Palestinians in Gaza. Such people may even believe what we may call “Hamas pogrom denial,” already being spread. Many people have now gone so far in accepting the demonization of Israel and Jews that they see no penalty attached to public expressions of Jew-hatred. Indeed, many academics scream their hatred of Israel and Jews as loud as possible.
One example: On Nov. 10, Toronto officers responded to a call at an Indigo bookstore located in the downtown. It had been defaced with red paint splashed on its windows and the sidewalk, and posters plastered to its windows.
The eleven suspects later arrested claimed that Indigo founder Heather Reisman (who is Jewish) was “funding genocide” because of her financial support of the HESEG Foundation for Lone Soldiers, which provides scholarships to foreign nationals who study in Israel after serving in the Israeli armed forces. By this logic, then, most Jewish properties and organizations could be targeted, since the vast majority of Jews are solidly on Israel’s side.
Were these vandals right-wing thugs or people recently arrived from the Middle East? No, those charged were mostly white middle-class professionals. Among them are figures from academia, the legal community, and the public education sector. Four are academics connected to York University (one of them a former chair of the Sociology Department) and a fifth at the University of Toronto; two are elementary school teachers; another a paralegal at a law firm.
Were their students and colleagues dismayed by this behaviour? On the contrary. Some faculty members, staff and students at the university staged a rally in their support. These revelations have triggered discussions about the role and responsibilities of educators, given their influential positions in society.
You’ve heard the term “quiet quitting.” I think many Jews will withdraw from various clubs and organizations and we will begin to see, in a sense like in the 1930s, a reversal of assimilation, at least in the social sphere. (Of course none of this applies to Orthodox Jews, who already live this way.)
Women in various feminist organizations may form their own groups or join already existing Jewish women’s groups. There may be an increase in attendance in K-12 Jewish schools. In universities, “progressive” Jewish students will have to opt out of organizations whose members, including people they considered friends, have been marching to the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and similar eliminationist rhetoric, while waving Palestinian flags.
This will mostly affect Jews on the left, who may be supporters of organizations which have become carriers of anti-Semitism, though ostensibly dealing with “human rights,” “social justice,” and even “climate change.”
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg took part in a demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm on Oct. 22 in which she chanted “crush Zionism” along with hundreds of other anti-Israel protesters. Israel is now unthinkingly condemned as a genocidal apartheid settler-colonialist state, indeed, the single most malevolent country in the world and the root of all evil.
New York Times Columnist Bret Stephens expressed it well in his Nov. 7 article. “Knowing who our friends aren’t isn’t pleasant, particularly after so many Jews have sought to be personal friends and political allies to people and movements that, as we grieved, turned their backs on us. But it’s also clarifying.”
Henry Srebrnik is a professor of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.
Former Winnipegger Vivian Silver, at first thought to have been taken hostage, has now been confirmed dead
Former Winnipegger and well-known Israeli peace activist Vivian Silver has now been confirmed as having been killed during the massacre of Israelis and foreign nationals perpetrated by Hamas terrorists on October 7. Vivian, a resident of Kibbutz Be’eri was originally thought to be among the more than 1200 individuals who were taken hostage by Hamas.
To read the full story on the CBC website, go to https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/israel-gaza-vivian-silver-1.7027333