Why Trump: An Israeli-American point of view

By Gideon

“I don’t understand it. How a college educated, intelligent  person like you, supports Trump?”

This is the reaction I get  from many people (including my daughter) when they hear that I support Trump.

It upsets me: The liberal media painted Trump as a racist, supported only by uneducated rednecks.

I’m not a racist. I don’t care if a wall is built or not on the Mexican border. I don’t want to see children of illegal immigrants deported back to Mexico. I hope that Trump will not keep this election promise.

At the same time, I’m an Israeli-American. After difficult eight years of US-Israel relationships, during the Obama administration, I want a change.

Trump wasn’t my first choice (I donated to Marco Rubio’s campaign). However, once Trump became the republican presidential nominee, and Clinton became the democratic presidential nominee, I had to make a decisions. I believe that Hillary Clinton would have been a good president for Israel. However, Clinton ran on the promise to continue Obama’s policies. Trump ran on the promise to improve the US support of Israel. I’m looking for a change in the US policy toward Iran, Syria, the Palestine authority, Turkey, etc. I think that Trump will be more pro-Israel on these issues.

It is 1:00 o’clock in the morning. Less than 24 hours passed since Donald Trump was elected  president. I’m slowly getting used to the idea that Trump, the underdog in the presidential race, actually won the election.

I reflect on the election season and my personal interaction with Israelis during this period. The following is my personal experience and observation.

At the height of the election season, in the first week of September, I was in Israel for the funeral of my mother. People came to visit during the shiva.They asked me about the US presidential election. My response was that I’m planning to vote for Trump. I spoke with many Israelis, the response was almost identical: People couldn’t believe that I support him. Trump’s perception, by Israelis I met, was identical to how he was perceived by American democrats, meaning, racist bully, etc.

I responded by making an observation that their opinion of Trump is distorted because the vast majority of the Israeli media is liberal, and that the media is feeding them a one-sided negative view of him.

I was surprised by the reaction. After the eight years of difficult relationship between the Obama administration, which Hillary Clinton was part of, I thought that Israelis would welcome the opportunity to change direction. After listening to them, I realized that Israelis were fed so much anti Trump propaganda that Hillary was seemed  like a better choice for Israel. I was the first person that these Israelis met, who told them something different about Trump.

I thought, how different from reality was the perception of most Americans about who Israelis preferred to see as the next US president. 

In the 2012 US presidential election, Netanyahu was clearly on the side of Mitt Romney. Obama never forgave him for that. Israel paid a price for interfering in the election.

In 2016 US presidential election, Netanyahy was very careful not to show a preference. Trump’s request to visit Israel during the election season was politely denied. Israel was not going to get in the middle this time.

Without signals in favor of Trump by Israeli leaders, and with the anti Trump coverage of the Israeli media, the only way for Israelis to get a more balanced view, was to read and listen to American media, which many Israeli do not do because of language barriers, and limited accessibility.

However, as the election got closer, many Israelis I know, began to change their opinion. The change was noticeable in What’sup  groups that I belong to. In the days before the election there was a significant pressure by our Israeli friends and family to influence the undecided voters to vote for Trump (mostly through phone calls). I’m not sure what brought the change. I know that it wasn’t the Israeli media. I follow it closely. Perhaps it was the influence of Israelis who live in America, and support Trump.

Last night, as I watched the election coverage on TV, I received two texts from relatives in Israel. Both were celebrating Trump’s victory. I can’t tell if it was because they knew that I supported Trump, or because the pubic opinion in Israel was now pro Trump.

In a What’sup conversation this morning, I received a more balanced response; some were happy, others were not. It was a similar reaction to what I’m hearing in America.

Trump had promised to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem and to be tougher on Iran and its nuclear program. These are two election promises I expect him to keep.

 

Related articles:

Trump’s Foreign Policy – The Full Speech

The full speeches of the presidential candidates at AIPAC – The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Is Israel the 51st State of the United States?

 

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