Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump on Sunday, and Trump promised to keep Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. Later in the day, Netanyahu also met with Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, who told the Israeli leader that she would oppose any outside agitators who try to impose peace, even agitators like the United Nations, and especially the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Trump met with Netanyahu amid widespread criticism that his campaign nurtures, or at least doesn’t condemn, support from antisemites like David Duke and countless Twitter accounts. That criticism has also come from Clinton herself. Trump’s own son made a joke about Democrats “warming up the gas chambers,” amid other out-there, un-PC statements and tweets. Nevertheless, Netanyahu remained willing and eager to meet with the Ku Klux Klan’s preferred presidential candidate. Both discussed the perils of Radical Islam in a gilded room inside Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. Clinton and Netanyahu met at the W Hotel in Union Square.
The meetings in New York City during the United Nations General Assembly suggest that Netanyahu will have the full attention of whoever the American people choose to occupy the White House. For two candidates who bill themselves as being polar opposites of each other, their views on Israel/Palestine are remarkably similar. The only difference is that Clinton mentions the moribund Two-State Solution, but Trump only requires submission from Palestinians, demanding they recognize Israel as a Jewish state. There’s no mention of a Palestinian counterpart.
“Mr. Trump recognized that Israel and its citizens have suffered far too long on the front lines of Islamic terrorism. He agreed with Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Israeli people want a just and lasting peace with their neighbors, but that peace will only come when the Palestinians renounce hatred and violence and accept Israel as a Jewish State,” read the statement the campaign released Sunday night.
The fact that Netanyahu met with Trump at all, along with Israel’s U.S. Ambassador Ron Dermer and the mogul’s own Jewish son-and-law and close advisor Jared Kushner, shows that Israel’s leadership has recognized the real possibility of a Trump presidency. Trump and Clinton are tied in national polls going into Monday’s first presidential debate. In some battleground states, Trump has an edge over the former Secretary of State.
Even though the Donald is not an elected politician or government official, his “act-as-if I am president” style brought both Netanyahu and Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto to meet with the law-and-order candidate. Both Nieto, battling drug cartels, and Netanyahu, waging a military occupation, share a similar interest for law-and-order.
Only a month ago, in a speech advertising the outrageous opinions of the Alt Right, Clinton condemned Trump for not condemning anti-semitic attacks made by his supporters online.
“And when Trump was asked about anti-Semitic slurs and death threats coming from his supporters, he refused to condemn them,” Clinton said at the August 19th address in Reno, Nevada.
During the speech, Clinton mentioned Trump’s alleged misappropriation of the Star of David, which, as you may know, is featured in the center of Israel’s flag.
“His campaign famously posted an anti-Semitic image – a Star of David imposed over a sea of dollar bills – that first appeared on a white supremacist website,” she added.
Trump insists his campaign was innocent, and that the star was a standard issue “sheriff’s star” or just a “regular star.” Fuhgeddaboudit, and so on.
Clinton’s concerns did not deter Netanyahu from meeting with Trump, although Netanyahu has argued that antisemitism in Europe is a reason for Jews there to relocate to Israel.
The GOP candidate’s anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim rhetoric have alarmed some American Jews, who fear Trump’s rise mirrors that of Adolf Hitler. One group, Bend the Arc, issued a public service announcement warning Jews that if they didn’t vote against Trump, their grandparents will return from the dead to haunt them. The group’s campaign is not-so-subtly entitled “We’ve Seen This Before.”
For now, Trump is the one haunting American Jews. A story in Slate describes a widespread rise in psychiatric patients fretting to their about Trump’s emergence from the primordial ooze of reality TV into reality itself.
One shrink told Slate that a patient sees parallels to today’s news in the stories her Holocaust-survivor relatives told of the time before World War II.
“It feels to her like all the stories she heard from her grandparents about how things feel normal and then all of the sudden, oh my God, here we are,” the psychiatrist said.
Netanyahu has said he must meet with both candidates, Haaretz reports, to avoid seeming biased against one side or the other. The prime minister’s office said that Trump’s aides reached out first, and then the Israeli delegation arranged a subsequent meeting with Clinton. The prime minister’s office released identical statements after each meeting, thanking both candidates for the “friendship and support” for Israel.
Whatever the consequences of this election are for American Muslims and Arabs, or Mexican immigrants or African Americans, or American Jews themselves (especially those who oppose Trump) Netanyahu will likely come out of it with two loyal ears in the White House in January 2017.