What to Make of Donald Trump’s Recent Statements about Jews, Democrats, and Israel

At a campaign rally for Donald Trump last weekend, a group of attendees started shouting “genocide Joe,” an epithet that radical leftists have been hurling at President Biden because of his support for Israel. The former president, upon hearing the shouts, said, “They’re not wrong.” It is, of course, impossible to know if Trump understood the implications. But this is not the only statement he has made recently that appears at odds with his pro-Israel record while in office.

Seth Mandel, remarking on comments Trump made previously, takes a closer look:

Trump . . . has an obnoxious habit of deeming Democratic-voting Jews as heretics, and he repeated it [last week] when telling reporters that Jews who vote for Biden “should have their head examined.” This treads dangerously close to the “good Jews/bad Jews” dichotomy mostly favored by people who do not like Jews very much. Trump isn’t such a person, but many of his fans are. If this is an appeal to Jewish voters, it is boneheaded. If it is really a winking message to his supporters on the new right, it is morally repugnant.

It seems, Mandel adds, that “every time Trump opens his mouth these days he has harsh words for Israel’s war effort,” which is one thing he seems to share with his successor. Yet the presumptive Republican nominee’s pronouncements seem to stem not from a political strategy but from a tendency to see everything in personal terms—in favors done or loyalty owed.

Such are the dangers of thinking purely transactionally regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And this mode of thinking—regardless of which “side” you’re coming from—introduces a measure of volatility that is uniquely unsuited to the challenges of extricating the Middle East from the bloody chaos of Hamas and its Iranian patron.

Read more at Commentary

More about: 2024 Election, Donald Trump, U.S. Politics, U.S.-Israel relationship


Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict