Here are four compelling reasons why American-Israelis should vote for Donald Trump’s re-election – and why it matters.
First, it should be obvious that gratitude is a fundamental Jewish virtue and, for that reason alone, the simple gesture of voting to re-elect the most pro-Israel president in history should suffice. But concomitant with gratitude should be the realization that President Trump has incorporated Israel’s best interests into American domestic and foreign policy to an unprecedented degree. Thus – a partial list follows – he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the American embassy there; he recognized the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory and the legality of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria; he pulled America out of the Iran nuclear deal and orchestrated peace treaties between Israel and two Gulf States, with others apparently in the works; he closed the PLO mission in Washington and halted aid to the Palestine Authority, recognizing that American taxpayer dollars were being diverted to fund the PA’s “pay for slay” travesty; he unequivocally defended Israeli in the United Nations and other international forums, and worked to undo the lasting damage of the anti-Israel resolution spearheaded by the American government in the waning days of the Obama-Biden administration that declared, among other things, that the Western Wall is Arab territory; he has repeatedly condemned anti-Semitism, and became the only president to sign an Executive Order combating anti-Semitism on college campuses (where it is rampant in America) and threatened to freeze federal funds to colleges that don’t protect Jews from discrimination on campus. The list goes on.
And he did all this without receiving or expecting any significant support from liberal American Jews. Thus, President Trump has derived no political benefit from Jews for his staunch support of Israel.
Second, a strong America benefits Israel as it keeps American and Israeli adversaries, including Iran, at bay. President Trump has articulated a belief in the smart but limited projection of American military power and he has forcefully applied economic sanctions to a number of countries engaged in acts of global destabilization. This “America First” policy – which greatly advantages Israel as well – contrasts sharply with the globalist view of the Obama-Biden administration and others which sub-contracted American influence to neutral or hostile elements and emboldened rogue nations to perpetrate acts of evil with impunity. One need only recall the days of kowtowing to Iran and subsidizing its terror operations, of drawing red lines in the sand that were erased the moment they were crossed, and acquiescing in the conquest by major powers of adjacent territories to realize the inherent danger of a return to those policies, all of which will occur in a Biden-Harris administration.
Third, it is high time for Israelis to explicitly acknowledge the influence of American political and cultural norms in Israeli life. One clear example, not often remarked upon, makes the point. The High Court of Justice in Israel began operating as a super-legislature in the 1970’s, and the Aharon Barak tenure as President (beginning in the 1990’s) ushered in an era in which the High Court grants itself jurisdiction over everything it deems appropriate, without any limits on standing or justiciability. Thus the High Court sits in judgment on Knesset laws, government decisions and administrative rulings, without any grounding in statute but simply based on the predilections of the justices. The Court vehemently resists any limitations on its powers or even its composition.
Justice Barak and his successors admittedly drew inspiration from the activist United States Supreme Courts of Earl Warren and Warren Burger, which also derogated to themselves authority to read into the American Constitution clauses that were not there in order to enshrine as law their own policy preferences. The US Supreme Court has attempted, in recent years, to revert to a more constitutionally appropriate role interpreting and applying the will of America’s foundational documents. That has not been an easy nor altogether successful enterprise, as it is difficult for any institution to relinquish power it has claimed for itself. But it is slowly changing, and that is due to the incumbent American president.
President Trump has appointed and continues to appoint Supreme Court justices and federal judges who adhere to a more limited, originalist philosophy. Such can only have a positive influence on jurisprudence in Israel and rein in the High Court’s excesses. Conversely, an American judicial system whose judges are appointed by a President Biden will encourage even more unbridled activism by the High Court here that will further erode Israeli democracy and make the Knesset almost irrelevant. Judicial norms in democracies have to be revised and it starts in the United States. What happens in America – the trends that are unleashed or stifled there – has a tremendous effect on life here in Israel.
Finally, and apropos of that, a victory for President Trump would greatly weaken the “cancel culture” promoted by progressives in America that seeks to destroy individuals whose words or actions simply offend them. This “cancel culture” is today routinely accompanied by attacks on freedom of speech, assembly and worship. It attempts to silence any voices that dissent from the orthodoxy proposed by the critics. To an immeasurable extent, President Trump stands in the way of the “cancel culture,” even as Joe Biden is a beneficiary and even an unwitting advocate for it. Israelis who are accustomed to these freedoms, and quite aware these days of how easy it is for government or social entities to repress them, should take note. A vote for Biden will bolster every negative social trend in America, and those will arrive on our shores more swiftly than we can imagine.
All American-Israelis should therefore vote. It is especially important for second-generation American Israelis to vote. Having been born and raised in Israel, they may think that what happens in the United States little affects them. That is not true. If anything, we have seen under the first Trump administration the glorious advantages of having an unabashedly pro-Israel administration, one that advocates for traditional values and freedoms and perceives Israel as a partner, friend and ally.
We should not take that for granted because we will rue the day if and when it is no longer the case. It is our duty as Israelis and Americans to vote for President Trump whose policies have strengthened both the United States of America and the nation of Israel.