And yet, AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, should have been able to navigate this minefield a little more gracefully. The lobby, known for its political savviness, has demonstrated its mastery of political nuance in the past, knowing exactly how far it can go in stepping on the toes of one side (usually the Democrats) without alienating it altogether. AIPAC has shown its ability to remain a welcome guest and a trusted adviser regardless of the party occupying the White House or holding the majority in Congress.
This week, however, was different.
So just to sum up the state of the Democratic race in the first week of primaries: Jewish donors are attacking a Jewish candidate for being too old to run, and a Jewish candidate is calling out Jewish donors for being part of a “big money” billionaire class. It can only go downhill from her.
The atmosphere in the White House East Room seemed at times more like a raucous campaign event than a launch of a diplomatic initiative three years in the making. Invitees broke out in cheers as Trump praised the Israeli prime minister standing next to him, just as they did when Netanyahu gushed over Trump.
This historic body, founded by Theodor Herzl in 1897, is the oldest representative Jewish institution and the only one in which all Jewish diaspora is represented and democratically elected. The elections will go on for almost two months, and in October 2020, the new Congress will convene in Jerusalem.
For two years, America did not have a point person dealing with global anti-Semitism, and much has changed in that time: In Eastern Europe, attempts to blur historical facts regarding the Holocaust have increased, especially in Poland, while Hungary experienced a government-backed anti-Semitic smear campaign against George Soros. Anti-Semitic incidents in Western Europe remain on the rise, and in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party was widely denounced for failing to deal with anti-Semitism in its leadership and ranks. But the biggest shift in anti-Semitic trends did not happen in distant countries overseas. It occurred in the U.S., where white nationalist anti-Semitism reared its head, leading murderous attacks on synagogues, hateful Nazi marches and countless incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism. In addition, attacks on Jews in the New York area, many of them by African Americans, also saw an alarming surge.
The simple answer would be no. It depends partly on how you define lies.
Yitzhak Shamir once said that for the safety and security of the State of Israel, one can lie.
An attack that lasted less than a minute on Thursday night marked a new phase in America’s standing in the Middle East. What was until that moment a tense standoff between the Trump administration and the Ayatollahs in Tehran turned into a rapidly escalating conflict, which could lead to anything from a cycle of attacks and counter-attacks to an all-out war.