“Just as Trump was there for Netanyahu when he needed a nice diplomatic gesture on the eve of Israeli elections (and then on the eve of the next one, and the next one) and just as he was willing to go further than any other American president in fulfilling the wishes of an Israeli center-right government, now Trump needs Netanyahu to do him a solid.”—Nathan Guttman
Bernie Sanders announced Sunday that he will not attend AIPAC’s annual policy conference next week. “The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference,” Sanders wrote, promising that as president, he will “support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region.”
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.
The Israeli ex-pat community makes up anywhere from 300,000 to 800,000 members. Most are concentrated in New York and Los Angeles, rendering them useless in terms of electoral strategy. So why bother with this tiny sliver of a constituency?
With just under a year to go, Trump, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would really like to fit in another one or two major moves—a grand peace plan, greenlighting Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley or the signing of a mutual defense treaty between the two countries.
The title of “biggest threat” to American Jews is hard to define or measure. And more importantly, it’s political. Most liberals would agree that anti-Semitism has reached new records under Trump and that the president’s response to the phenomenon has been less than adequate.