Undoubtedly the major and only talking point internationally this week is the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA.
For the first time a non politician and non establishment figure has been elected to the highest office in the land. In achieving this amazing feat, Donald Trump demolished the vested interests and elitist groups which have infested Washington for umpteen years. He also single-handedly destroyed the cozy club of left wing self-styled progressives and their politically correct army of hangers-on.
Most of the media and the “beautiful” people inhabiting the make-believe world of Hollywood and who cheered lustily for Hilary Clinton have been left stunned by the earthquake which has just occurred. Above all the pollsters have once again been left with egg on their collective faces. Political experts and commentators have likewise been left looking bereft as their wild and inaccurate predictions have been destroyed along with their credibility.
In a few words we can confidently state that the entire political and media establishment have been stumped by Trump.
No doubt the next few weeks will see post mortems of all sorts and we will learn how, why and who voted which way in order to produce the biggest political tsunami in our lifetime. There is no doubt that the turn out percentage by various sectors was critical. According to the analysis I have already seen large swathes of the population felt disconnected from and despised by the elites in Washington and local factors such as the economy, unemployment, health care plus crime and lack of security featured large. Having spoken to “genetic Democrats” prior to the election I detected a sense of unreality of the deprivations suffered by ordinary voters and an unrealistic euphoria over Obama’s domestic and foreign policies. In fact the Administration’s spectacular failures with Iran, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and dealing with terror, both domestic and foreign, seemed somehow to pass them by.
Writing off those supporting Trump as the “basket of deplorables,” Hilary Clinton epitomized the contempt which most of the elitist establishment viewed and still view more conservative voters.
What holds true for the USA also holds true for Israel. The same contempt by left wing academics, commentators, self styled experts and politically correct politicians is evident here. Every time the advocates of appeasement and breast beating apologists for terror are spurned at the polls the same dire predictions are heard. It seems that those who purport to know better cannot digest the truth that the majority has spoken and that they might possibly be more realistic.
What does a Trump Presidency mean for Israel?
The problem is that nobody really knows. If you believe that politicians are congenital liars then we cannot be too optimistic. However given the fact that Trump has never been a politician we are entering unknown territory. Foreign policy has not been exactly a special field of interest of his and he has given out mixed signals. However there are clues and if he follows through on his rhetoric we have grounds to believe that the next four years cannot be worse than the last eight years have been.
Obama has presided over a weakened America which has dismayed its allies, disappointed its friends and allowed others to rampage and cause untold carnage. The White House obsession with a two State delusion and its continual outrage at houses being built for habitation in areas clearly designated by international law for Jewish settlement may hopefully diminish or even vanish. Reality may finally set in and Arab terror, hate incitement and delegitimization recognized for what it really is.
If Trump is to be believed we may even see the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital and the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv. Mind you, this has been promised by every Presidential candidate for many years and every time some specious excuse has been found to delay its implementation. In this regard the State Department’s long standing policy of appeasing those who threaten mayhem and refuse to acknowledge a lawful Jewish connection here will need to be overcome. If anyone can do this it will be Donald Trump. The 64 thousand dollar question of course will be whether he follows through on his campaign promises.
Evangelical Christians who supported him will hopefully remind him of his pledge and will also be looking for a far more robust defense of Christians being persecuted in Islamic countries. In this regard the current weak-kneed reactions to Islamic terror threats, domestically and internationally will also have to be dealt with.
Donald Trump has also promised to have a much more robust policy as far as the UN and its associated bodies are concerned. Holding these organizations to account for a continual campaign of vilification and censuring against the Jewish State is long overdue. Why American taxpayers’ money should be utilized to sustain groups such as UNESCO, UNRWA and others is a scandal which has existed for far too long.
The big unknown we face between now and 20 January is whether Barak Obama will exact revenge on Israel now that his designated successor was so roundly defeated. Abbas and the PA know that this is the time to once again run to the UN and initiate a resolution which demands that Israel withdraws to the 1948 armistice lines and abandon half of Jerusalem. Obama’s parting shot could be to abstain or tacitly agree to such a resolution, presenting his successor with an impossible situation. Whether this actually happens is open to speculation at the moment. If it does it would effectively scuttle any chance of peace in the future. Trump’s challenge is to make it clear that under no circumstances would he agree to this sell out.
We will get a clue as to which way things are heading once we know who the members of his administration are going to be. Until then one will have to reserve judgment and see whether the campaign promises match the post campaign reality.
As has happened so often in the past, those who plotted to sever the Jewish People’s connection to their historic homeland have faded from the scene. Today I visited the Kotel and marveled yet again at the miracle of Jewish survival in the face of unrelenting hostility.
Without a doubt we will continue to build and thrive despite UNESCO, the UN, and EU etc. Perhaps the election of Donald Trump is a sign that sanity may finally have triumphed. Time will tell.
Stay tuned for an interesting time ahead.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.