The 5 Towns Jewish Times

From the Editor: Israeli, U.S. Jews Divided on Trump

By Larry Gordon

By Larry Gordon

The Jewish community should be grateful to President Trump for many reasons. But when we look at the numbers from a recent American Jewish Committee poll, the gratitude is mixed. Only 34 percent of American Jews have a favorable opinion of the president, and more than 57 percent of American Jews disagree with the President’s policies on Israel  — even after the establishment of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

At the same time, more than 77 percent of Israelis approve of the way President Trump is conducting U.S.-Israel relations. A column in last week’s New York Times by Steven Weisman, author of “The Chosen Wars,” characterized the divide by stating, “American Jews are a blue state and Israel is a red state.”

Poll results and anecdotal evidence show that not only is there a divide among Jews in the United States, there is an even wider division between Israeli and American-Jewish views on these matters.

It appears that not only is there a divide among U.S. Jews, there is an even wider divide between Israeli Jewish views and American Jewish views.

If that is so, then the question is who is right and who is wrong — if this issue can be couched in these terms. The flip side of this coin is: Is it possible for the relatively small Jewish community, whether in the U.S., Israel, or anywhere else around the world, to harbor such different and contrary opinions on the same matter?

Support for Israel is arguably a matter that Jews across the board, as well as many non-Jews around the world, subscribe to. Within this global Jewish community, with specific emphasis on the U.S. and Israel, the issue is not whether we support Israel but rather what, exactly, support for Israel means.

From the perspective of the 5TJT editorial pages, support for Israel means a strong IDF, plenty of advanced military equipment, and protecting Israel’s borders by populating all of Jerusalem, as well as areas of Judea and Samaria. For Jewish liberals, non-Republicans, and non-Trump-supporters, support for Israel very often means the exact opposite. For that sector it seems to mean a weaker Israeli military, less U.S. funding for Israel, dividing Jerusalem and establishing East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital free of any Jewish residents, and the creation of a state of Palestine in a good part of what they commonly refer to as the West Bank.

Of course, people are free to develop their own ideas and opinions on the all-important matter of support for Israel. But the questionis how it is that such a majority of Jews — 57 percent in the U.S. disapprove of the Trump administration’s handling of Israel. It is clear that every effort is being made by the administration to fortify and protect Israel, but still so many are seemingly critical of that effort.

And the answer to this conundrum is clarified when we see that in Israel, 77 percent of the citizenry support the Trump policy on Israel. After all, who knows better about what is best for Israel — those of us in New York, Florida, or California, or those who serve in the IDF and make their home in the Jewish state?

The dimwittedness of those who are critical of Trump’s support for Israel is perhaps highlighted by this week’s announcement that Pepsi has purchased the SodaStream company for $3.2 billion. Before SodaStream relocated to the Negev, it was located in Maale Adumim, a short distance from Jerusalem in an area considered a settlement community, though almost 50,000 Jews reside in the area.

The company at the time employed 800 Palestinian residents, but the company was still a target of the global boycott movement. Following the move from Maale Adumim, the 800 Palestinians lost their jobs. That didn’t stop the advocates of BDS from doing their utmost to achieve the destruction of the company. With the sale to Pepsi Co., it looks like SodaStream wins and 800 Arab workers are out of work. So who do you think is right and who is wrong?