Tuesday, July 26, 2016


My mother thinks the future of Israel is very important. I think the future of the United States is very important. These two things are not mutually exclusive. It's just a matter of immediate focus.

And because of this focal shift, I feel like I'm losing her and people like her more and more to Trump. Which is a very weird thing to me, because it's not like Trump has been so explicit about his support of Israel. And a presumption otherwise is based on just that; presumptuousness.

But before we even get to this point of discussing the liberal vs conservative scale and all points in between, I'd like to understand what I'm thinking versus what they're thinking. This is an intellectual exercise I must partake in to alleviate the frustration and anxiety I'm feeling about the current political landscape. Of which I am feeling a great deal of deep within my soul.

For as long as I can remember, the Jews have been convinced of the fact that the Republican party will support Israel regardless of potential conflicts. They do not have the same faith in the Democratic party. The reason for this, from what I can tell, is that the Republican party has aligned itself with the Evangelicals of which there are an astoundingly 95 million in the United States. And it's no secret to any of us that Evangelicals support Israel not because they believe in a Jewish homeland for the sake of it being a Jewish homeland, but rather, they believe that the Jews must have possession of Israel in order for Jesus to return. Which has always felt to me like that fairytale we were told as kids about the witch who fattens up the lost child so she can eventually cook him for dinner. And that obviously makes me feel uncomfortable.

But if we're looking at the right here and the right now, there is a growing fear amongst my friends that a) the Liberal agenda is consuming the Democratic party b) that same Liberal agenda is dangerously and ignorantly progressive when it comes to Middle East politics and c) Hillary, if elected President, will adopt those left leaning philosophies as her own. And no matter how much you try to contest it, there is an unwillingness to accept it. Because, ultimately, that presumption is based on faith.

Which brings me back to Donald Trump. I can't remember a time prior to this in which I have been so viscerally affected by current events. I can't recall ever experiencing this burrowing sense of doom in my stomach. This is in a literal sense. I wake up in the mornings unsure of literally everything. The economy, foreign policy, racial tensions, an overall feeling of our collective safety at risk. And maybe it's because I have so much at risk with my wonderful family and home, thank G-d. The children who I would sacrifice anything for just to assure for them a stable future. Right now, I am worried for America more than I was when Sarah Palin was nominated as Vice President. More so than when Bush ran for a second term. More so than--and I don't use this comparative lightly--after 9/11. This is just how I feel. And no one can contest that.

This is why when it comes to considering my nominee, I choose Hillary. Hillary Clinton who first visited Israel 35 years ago. Hillary Clinton who has had a relationship with Yitzhak Rabin. Hillary Clinton who posted a prominent article on her website titled Hillary and Israel: A 30 Year Record of Friendship, Leadership and Strength. 

I have yet to see any of that blatant articulation from the Trump camp. Aside from the insistence of his son-in-law. And his advisor on Israel Jason Greenblatt with zero political experience whose only qualification for the job is that he's an Orthodox Jew.

But now with the recent addition of Tim Kaine as Hillary's VP pick, we're experiencing a plot twist. The extreme conservative crowd asserts that Kaine is bad for Israel based on the following facts: he is supported by J Street. He boycotted a Netanyahu speech. And in 2007 picked a controversial Muslim American to Virginia's Immigration Commission. My response to these points is foremost, the Vice President rarely if ever affects foreign policy. That is unless he's Trump's Vice President. But in a hypothetical world, let's say that you're genuinely concerned about Hillary dying, then let me quote from the J Street website: "Kaine speaks of himself as a Truman Democrat, committed to making Israel a lasting home for the Jewish people that is safe, secure and at peace with its Palestinian neighbors. Kaine is also supportive of an active role for the United States in achieving a two-state solution." I see nothing controversial there.

Now regarding his Netanyahu boycott...this one isn't so simple. But then again, nothing Netanyahu is involved in or with is simple. The man is not an unequivocally likable person. In fact, in Israel itself right now Netanyahu is at a 29% approval rating. So he is not without his critics. Kaine's boycott came at a complicated time and involved circumstances that require bigger comprehensions other than an immediate gut reaction. "I'm sad that the Israeli ambassador and the prime minister went along with this They went with the notion of "we've got to keep this quiet and not tell the Democrats," Kaine told the Forward about Netanyahu's speech to Congress. "Our party has a long tradition of being pro-Israel and being pro-Israel doesn't mean we agree on everything. We're friends, we're allies, we're partners to the extent that we have disagreements we try to work them out productively," he added. And he wasn't wrong. There were many other critics of Netanyahu's polarizing political maneuver.

And as for the last issue of concern: I could not find anything substantive on this aside from Breitbart articles or "Unofficial Megyn Kelly" blogs (yes, there is a fake Megyn Kelly blog), so I truly don't know how to respond to it.

Ultimately, though, I want to clarify my opening statement. My mom's focus is not paradoxical to mine. And it's not necessarily a semantic thing either. It's simply a comfort level discrepancy. I'm way more comfortable with a Clinton administration than with a Trump one because simply enough she is not the wild card. And he so very much is.

I would warn every single Jewish person I know to not fall victim to the desperate conservative agenda which harbors and feeds off of fear and panic. I encourage every single one of you to Google search things and to critically determine whether or not you feel those things are hyperbolic fear mongering. But most importantly, I urge you--and I can't emphasize this enough--to not just blindly share or forward a panicky clickbait link to everyone you know without understanding the implications of this forward. Because in many instances these fine purveyors of truthiness have the singular goal of getting you to their website. Not to understand the truth, or to approach the fraught nature of things with delicacy. But bling bling ad dollars.

Now it was never my intention to write this whole thing to educate others. It's my way of processing. It's how I cope with so many conflicting emotions. Fear, love, anxiety, hope, anger. All of it rolling up into a ball bouncing around my consciousness. And I have to believe with a full heart that if you care about America (of which you should) and Israel (of which is your prerogative) then Hillary Clinton is way less unpredictable than Donald Trump.

And if that's the comfort I'm given, that's the comfort I'll take.

UPDATE: Please see former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's Facebook post.