This article is a response to an article, “The Left is the greatest existential threat facing Israel,” that appeared in the Arutz Sheva Israel National News publication on July 2, 2018.
1. A very strong majority of Democratic politicians strongly support Israel and believe that Israel has the right to exist and to defend itself against terrorism and military attacks. Just as opposing Trump’s policies does not make one anti-American, opposing some of Israel’s current positions, as many Israelis, including military and strategic experts, do, does not make one anti-Israel. Many Jewish Democrats believe, along with many Israeli strategic experts, that Israel needs a comprehensive, sustainable resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in order to avert continued and possibly increased violence and diplomatic criticism, effectively respond to its economic, environmental, and other domestic problems and remain both a Jewish and a democratic state. They recognise that the Palestinians deserve much blame for the lack of progress toward peace and that Israel’s security concerns must be met, but many believe that the biggest existential threat facing Israel is to indefinitely continue to rule over millions of non-Jews, rapidly becoming a majority of the population within the boundaries of the old British Mandate. This is not an easy problem, and Israeli politicians are not alone responsible for this looming threat, but it cannot be positively resolved without an enduring Jewish-majority state at peace with a sovereign Palestinian-Arab state.
2. According to Israeli security and strategic experts, under the Obama administration, security cooperation between the U.S.and Israel was never better. Obama appointed Jews to the Supreme Court, to head the Federal Reserve, to serve as Secretary of the Treasury and other cabinet positions, and to serve as his chief staff. The US backed Israel in the UN many times, and only abstained on the final time in order to try to keep the peace process alive.
3. Given the strong Democratic congressional support, it is very unlikely that a future Democratic administration would act to harm Israel.
4. While many Israelis think that Trump is good for the Jews and good for Israel, an America with weakened status, standing, and credibility on the world stage, as has occurred after Trump became president, is BAD for Israel. Also, while Trump himself may not be a racist or an anti-Semite, he has inarguably fostered a social environment that is at the very least accepting of, and undoubtedly promoting, all forms of bigotry, including anti-Semitism
5. Since Trump is much indebted to evangelical Christians because of their strong support, he might accept their recommendations, although they may reflect their concern for the coming of the “end-times” (Rapture) when according to their theology Jesus returns, rather than their concern for Israel.
6. Judaism is a progressive religion, even radical, in the best sense of the word ‘radical.’ It has very strong teachings on justice, compassion, kindness to the stronger, peace, conservation, environmental sustainability, and much more. The first Jew, Abraham, smashed the articles of his father, challenging the prevalent beliefs of his time. The biblical prophets were arguably the greatest champions of social and economic justice in history.
7. Because so many Jews, especially among the Orthodox, have shifted to conservative positions, often contrary to the above Jewish values, and are supporting Republican politicians, I wrote my recently published book, ““Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet,” It argues that Jews should play leading roles in efforts to avert a climate catastrophe and other potential environmental disasters.
The entire book can be freely read at this link.
4. My article, “In Defense of Jewish Liberals” can be read at https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/In-defense-of-Jewish-liberals-549421
5. The second edition of my book, “Judaism and Global Survival,” can be freely read at www.jewishVeg.org/schwartz. It discusses how Jewish teachings on compassion, justice, peace, environmental sustainability, reducing hunger, conserving natural resources, and much more can be applied to improve the world. Liberals, far more than conservatives, are likely to be concerned about such issues.
6. Below are some reasons Jews should not vote for President Trump and other Republicans in upcoming elections:
a. Trump supported health legislation that would have caused up to 32 million Americans to lose their insurance and others to pay higher premiums.
b. Rather than supporting efforts to rebuild the US crumbling infrastructure, Trump and Republican legislators pushed through a tax bill that greatly benefits the wealthiest Americans and highly profitable corporations. The bill will increase the US national debt by up to $1.5 trillion, giving the Republicans an excuse to carry out their long-time desires to cut social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and environmental and health protections.
c. Trump is in denial about climate change, an existential threat to Israel, the US, and, indeed, the world. Despite the overwhelming consensus of climate experts and many recent severe climate events,, Trump is the only world leader denying climate change. He has pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris climate pact agreed too by all 195 nations attending, including Israel, appointed climate deniers to key positions, and is doing everything possible to eliminate or weaken recent efforts to reduce greenhouse gases,
d. Trump has alienated many US allies through his policies, including his efforts to increase tariffs that could start a very economically harmful trade war.
e. As NY Times conservative columnist Bret Stephens, a former chief editor of the Jerusalem Post, put it in a recent article, Trump’s character involves, “lying, narcissism, bullying, bigotry, crassness, name calling, ignorance, paranoia, incompetence and pettiness?”
Comments and suggestions are very welcome.