When Trump falls, Israel will suffer too
Op-ed: The Trump era will likely be followed by a strong reaction of all those he stepped on in the name of alternative facts and disregard. Israel will be part of the Trump legacy, a legacy of contempt towards human rights, reciprocity, a balanced global policy—a legacy the next generation will want to renounce.
Defeat makes us pay attention, asks questions, want to rectify. Victory makes us feel that tomorrow will be a direct continuation of yesterday, that what we did was perfection (and the proof is that we won), so there is no need to prepare for the rain that will come following the sunny days. Time is on our side.
I look at the celebration taking place in certain circles in Israel following Donald Trump’s victory and I remember the trickiness of history, the process of natural balance taking place, the rain that follows the sun. The feeling reflected from the celebrating circles is that the dams have been removed. All the things that required caution and restraint in the past have disappeared. There is one of us sitting in the White House, the embodiment of our wildest dreams—I mean, the dreams of extreme rightists in Israel.
Trump’s disregard towards the old (in other words, realistic) reality, the confident declaration that the new reality (the "alternative facts") works for the president, the scorn not only towards political correctness but towards everything that got in the way of dreams of grandeur—all those are, after all, part of the settlers’ world view, which considers our only problem to be a PR problem.
The State of Israel, according to this world view, has no “logistic” problems (how many second-class and third-class citizens can it hold, for how long and at whose expense?), has no moral problems (how many rights can it deny its subjects and remain a moral country?) and no geopolitical problems (can it put all its eggs in the American basket while the rest of the world is drifting away?). All it takes to solve the State of Israel’s problems is the courage to announce that we don’t give a damn. Pride. The force is in our hands.
If we have restrained ourselves until now, it’s because the boss in America (the devil Obama, or the bunch of weak presidents who preceded him) demanded a certain outward appearance for his own political reasons. It’s true that the American administrations have accompanied the seemingly ceremonial demand with numerous winks and nudges, but that’s over now. The moment of truth has arrived. We can come out of the moral closet together with the new, disregarding president. Finally, all our problems are solved.
And here’s another possibility. Trump is a compulsive gambler. He gambled on the presidency and hit the jackpot. At the moment, he is living in a world where victory is the rule. He will do as he pleases, and reality will adapt itself. But experience shows that Trump has repeatedly gone bankrupt. The non-virtual reality has its own rules.
The current US president creates a lot of resistance. For many people in the United States and in the world, he symbolizes the radical opposite of their entire world of values and interests (and I am not just talking about the radical left in the US; the Republican Party feels uneasy as well, and that unease will only grow). Israel is locating itself in the radical right-wing camp. It is the clearest supporter of the president and his mistakes.
Assuming, not unfoundedly, that the Trump era will be followed by a strong reaction of all those he stepped on in the name of alternative facts and disregard. What then? Israel will be part of the Trump legacy, a legacy of contempt towards human rights, reciprocity, a balanced global policy—a legacy the next generation will want to renounce. When you place all your money on the gambler, you go down with him. There is a tomorrow.