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US President Trump. Saying nothing by using a lot of words
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Sima Kadmon
All Trump left Israelis with is a lot of hot air
Op-ed: During his visit, the US president didn’t say anything beyond what he had already told Netanyahu on the prime minister’s visit to Washington, which translates as ‘do whatever you like.’ So is there any wonder that the Right is satisfied? No one has ever established a state with words.
Anyone who wiped away a few tears on Tuesday while listening to US President Donald Trump’s cliché-filled speech likely discovered that even the tissue paper laughed out loud. After two days of hollow ceremonialism, aimed at building the highlight of the visit—the speech—it turned out that the only thing one could learn from it was mainly how to say nothing using a lot of words.

 

 

It’s very easy to be tempted to see it as a “Zionist speech”: An American president standing and giving Israel his personal commitment that he won’t allow its destruction. What a spine-tingling moment that was, when he turned to us and promised that he, Donald J. Trump, would take care of us. What more does a nation at risk need, after being controlled through fear and intimidation for years? A state with massive military strength, which isn’t really threatened by any existential threat, but acts as if it is on the verge of a second Holocaust.

 

Trump and Netanyahu at the Israel Museum, Tuesday (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
Trump and Netanyahu at the Israel Museum, Tuesday (Photo: Reuters)

 

We’re forgetting, however, that the person who is giving us this promise came straight from Saudi Arabia, where he finalized a $110 billion deal to supply the Saudis with arms systems. And this is a country which funds the world’s most radical mosques, which is behind dozens of acts of terror, including the 9/11 attacks.

 

But that can’t compare in any way to Trump’s hand on the Western Wall stones, to Ivanka’s tears or to the photo of the American president and the first lady laying a wreath at Yad Vashem. So what if Trump asked to take the shortened Yad Vashem tour, or if he forgot to mention the Jewish victims on International Holocaust Day, or if he was accompanied to Saudi Arabia by Steve Bannon, his senior advisor who is a declared anti-Semite?

 

But whoever watched our prime minister during the president’s speech must have thought that Trump was uttering the words of a living God. Benjamin Netanyahu’s body language, his hand gestures, the clenched fist, the pressed lips, expressed satisfaction, gratitude and mainly admiration: Look at the power, the commitment, the courage this president has! That’s exactly the kind of president that I, Netanyahu, would like to be. The president of the United States of America, of course.

 

Trump in his visit to Saudi Arabia (Photo: AP)
Trump in his visit to Saudi Arabia (Photo: AP)

 

What did we really have here, apart from a great atmosphere? The two-states-for-two-people solution was not raised even once. Nothing was said about negotiations. Even a peace process wasn’t mentioned. We don’t need the leader of the world’s greatest power to tell us that “making peace will not be easy, but with determination, compromise and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal.” We already know that.

 

So what did Trump leave us with? He left the Saudis at least with a good deal. What about our deal? During his visit, Trump didn’t say anything beyond what he had already told Netanyahu on the prime minister’s visit to Washington, which translates as “do whatever you like.” You want two states, you want one state—that’s just fine. There was no mention of the promises we have heard ever since he was elected, like moving the embassy to Jerusalem. All we got was a pile of words that were so sympathetic, so flattering, that it sometimes felt like he was actually laughing at us.

 

So is there any wonder that the Right is satisfied? No one has ever established a state with words. Netanyahu got what he wanted too: To be left alone. No Palestinian right to self-determination, no two-state solution, no 1967 borders and not even a building freeze—what else could he have asked for? Surprisingly, the Left is happy as well. As if the hot air that Trump left behind is something to hold onto.

 

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