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Israel in the Trump era

February 6, 2019

Donald J. Trump is the best president of the United States for the state of Israel since the founding of the state of Israel. I say that without a shred of doubt. President Trump is an unabashed supporter of the state of Israel, as opposed to those who would destroy the Jewish state. Jew haters will immediately howl that this statement is an indication that somehow, in providing Israel with unprecedented backing, the president is undermining the interests and security of our country. This assertion is, in the pithy words of a contemporary U.S. senator, nothing more than a “bunch of bovine waste.”

 

As I have frequently asserted in these pages, a strong, confident state of Israel is vital to the security interests of the U.S. The meme that I have most frequently used is that Israel is the functional equivalent of an American supercarrier. And President Trump is well aware of this fact. As the only stable democracy anywhere in the Middle East, Israel is the fulcrum around which western (i.e., American) power is projected in the region. The indispensable fact is that Israel refuses to use any other nation’s military resources as a substitute for its own.

 

As the brilliant Zev Chafets has stated:  “Military self-sufficiency is central to Israel's national ethos:  It can never base its safety on the kindness of strangers, or even well-meaning friends. This is what motivates young Israelis to serve in the military, and allows their parents to accept this service as a requirement of national survival.” In other words, for reasons deeply rooted in history and experience, Israelis know that in the end they must rely upon themselves for their own protection. They do not want nor do they require American soldiers to place their lives on the line. Israeli soldiers serve that function.

 

What Israel does require is logistical and monetary support from America to enable it to defend itself. Just as important is the moral support from the U.S. that will provide Israel and its leaders with the confidence that it is not alone. President Trump has gone out of his way to appoint pro-Israel officials at the highest levels (Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton are cases in point). He has withdrawn all American support for UNESCO, the UN agency whose primary purpose has been to undermine the Jewish state of Israel. He has demanded an end to payments by the Palestinian Authority as bounties to terrorists and their families. He encouraged former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to excoriate Israel’s enemies in public at every opportunity, calling them liars and terrorists to their faces. Not the least of President Trump’s manifestations of his support for Israel has been his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an action that has been postponed by every president since it was required by Congress in 1999. If any one action could demonstrate to Israel that the U.S. has its back, this is the one. Despite the baying of the numerous Jew-hating hounds in the Congress, in the American bureaucracy and in the centers of leftist activity in the universities, President Trump stuck to his guns.

 

Why is Israel so important to the security of the U.S.? Because Israel is America’s lightning rod and its proxy. At this moment in time, Iran is the greatest single enemy faced by Israel. It is my absolute belief that Iran is also an existential threat to the U.S. Despite Iran’s unquestioned malevolence towards Western values in general and towards the U.S. in particular, Barack Hussein Obama did all that he could to appease the Iranian mullahs. The result was that Iran viewed the U.S. as a limp-wristed, emasculated bag of digestive gases. We no longer had Iran’s respect (or fear), and the result was that Iran felt that it could fulfill its malignant intentions against the West with impunity.

It was Israel that stood in Iran’s way. It is a badly-held secret that Israel played a significant role in planting the stuxnet computer worm that resulted in the disabling of the Natanz nuclear facility. The worm had the result of disabling up to 1000 of the fuel enriching centrifuges at Natanz that were at the heart of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Barack Obama was well aware of the operations at Natanz, but he was prepared to trust that the Iranians’ program of uranium enrichment could be halted with sweet words, fluttering eyelashes and breathless renditions of Kumbaya. It is almost impossible to estimate the destruction that might have resulted were it not for the virus and Israel’s superior cybersecurity capabilities.

 

Barack Obama had no appreciation for Israel’s importance in preserving American security, in contrast with Donald Trump’s ability to differentiate between America’s friends and America’s enemies. President Trump understands that Israel is America’s ace-in-the-hole, not an annoying fly to be crushed. Obama had no such insight (or perhaps he did, and he didn’t care).

 

In any event, President Trump has reinstated the sanctions on Iran that Obama lifted, and the result has been that Iran’s economy and the power of the Iranian mullahs are rapidly going into the toilet.

It is these factors that have placed President Trump so far above every other president in the esteem of the Israelis. The execrable Obama and Jimmy Carter are unpleasant memories for Israel of a time when they stood alone. Obama and Carter refused to acknowledge the fact that Israel has a major role to play in American strategic interests. Israel’s air superiority is a powerful weapon for President Trump’s defense planning. Israel is able to perform vital tasks that the U.S. cannot. Israel is a force multiplier for President Trump.

 

This relationship is a two-way street. As a result of Israel’s air power, she can interdict shipments of advanced Iranian weapons to Hezbollah, preventing the establishment of Iranian military installations on Israel’s border and preventing attacks on Israeli territory. All Israel asks is that it be permitted to do this job without interference. Obama tied Israel’s hands behind its back. If Israel took the offensive to prevent the ability of its enemies to attack her, Obama stepped on it. It is clear that President Trump will take no such inhibitory steps. Just recently, Israeli air strikes demolished a large Iranian weapons storage facility at Damascus airport. One can only imagine the high dudgeon that would have flowed from the White House during Obama’s accursed tenure.

 

But not Trump. He seems to be taking the position that Israel can and should take whatever steps it deems necessary for its own defense. President Trump recognizes this:  If Israel can deal a mortal blow to Hezbollah, it will at the same time be dealing a significant blow to Iran, Hezbollah’s primary puppet master. And it can be accomplished without the risk of a single American life. It also places Israel in a buffer position, so that America is not put in the position of directly facing off against Iran or Russia in one of the most volatile and dangerous areas on this planet.

 

None of this goes unnoticed by President Trump’s enemies in Congress, the Jew-hating Israel bashers of the left, who have just been reinforced by a new class of members who, like group A Streptococci, are attempting to eat the flesh of the president and of that which remains of what is decent in the American polity. Israel-hating is just a part of the trash that is being thrown by the “Progressives” who have taken over the Democrat Party. It is of a piece with the “health care,” and race-baiting issues that form the necrotizing fasciitis that the left are trying to inflict upon us — all wrapped up in their Trump hatred.

 

As long as President Trump remains strong and unbowed, it will drive the left crazy. As long as President Trump remains steadfast with Israel, it will drive the left crazy. Israel has gained immeasurably from the election of Donald Trump, and its increasing confidence that the U.S. has its back will redound immeasurably to the benefit of the U.S. … and that will drive the left crazy. For as long as President Trump remains steadfast, we and the Israelis can all sit back and enjoy the spectacle of President Trump driving Nancy Pelosi and her Lilliputians totally round the bend.

 

Stuart Kaufman is a retired lawyer, investment banker and businessman. He relocated from New York to Mount Pleasant in 2012. A friend recently told him that he has been a South Carolinian all of his life ... but he just didn’t know it.

 

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