Note: My friend Rabbi Dow Marmur in Jerusalem writes poignantly of this dangerous moment in the American-Israeli relationship given the Trump-Netanyahu love-fest and the damage these two leaders are causing.
“Is it possible that the US president, considered by many to be more supportive of Israel than any of his predecessors, uses the terminology of anti-Semites? Have his Jewish daughter and her family not sensitized him to the fact that to question the loyalty of Jews has been the tool of Jew-haters through the ages? It has prompted some commentators to quote Mussolini and Hitler in the same breath as they cite Trump.
His assertion that Jews who support the Democratic Party are disloyal has shaken American Jewry, indeed Jews everywhere. Virtually all Jewish organizations in the United States [except the Zionist Organization of America and the Republican Jewish Coalition] have reacted against it forcefully asserting that, though most American Jews may vote Democrat [75-80%], all are loyal citizens of the United States. Trump’s effort at “clarification” that he meant that they were disloyal to the Jewish people and the State of Israel hasn’t helped.
The fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu has so far remained silent on the subject hasn’t gone unnoticed. His supporters may say that his silence is in the interest of Israel, but others may suggest that at present Netanyahu is more interested in getting re-elected than serving the interests of his country. They may point to his past alliances with anti-Semitic political leaders in … Hungary and Poland that appalled the Jews there. But while the views of the relatively few Jews in these countries may not matter, to upset American Jewry is to jeopardize the very existence of Israel.
Other Israeli leaders, notably President Rivlin, seem to be aware of the potential harm the Trump-Netanyahu love-in may be doing to their country and have taken steps to try to remedy the situation. Their hope may be that Netanyahu won’t be re-elected this month and Trump won’t be re-elected next year. In this way, things would return to the normal give-and take.
But one of them may get in again and Israel will suffer. If Israel will have a centrist government after next month’s elections without “my friend Bibi”, Trump’s anti-Semitism is likely to be even more overt. If Netanyahu stays in power, but the next US Administration will be Democrat, Israel may be punished, albeit more subtly, for its current sickening admiration of Trump.”