Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tobin Calls Trump A Wimp

Trump has moved from outsider to wimp - Jonathan Tobin [pictured]

[O]n foreign policy and specifically his attitude toward Israel and Jerusalem, Trump the outsider has become Trump the wimp.

Perhaps those who expected Trump to be the first president to make good on the promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem were kidding themselves. But Trump not only said it repeatedly; his first major Middle East appointment indicated he meant business. By naming attorney David Friedman, ardent supporter of Israel, as his ambassador to the Jewish state, the president was signaling the foreign-policy establishment that he wouldn’t be playing by their rules.

[O]n the eve of Trump’s visit to Israel next week, the administration confirmed that the embassy won’t be moved anytime soon — and that Trump isn’t even prepared to acknowledge that the Western Wall is part of the Jewish state. When the Israeli government asked to have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompany Trump to the Wall, they were shot down and reportedly told that as far as the Americans were concerned, the holy site was part of the West Bank.

Though the White House disavowed that comment, the assurance rang false when National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster wouldn’t say if he thought the Wall was in Israel.

Part of the problem is that Trump has come under the influence of mainstream figures like McMaster, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. With respect to issues like NATO, they are giving Trump good advice. But on Israel, they may be feeding him the same myths that drove Obama to put pressure on the Jewish state rather than the Palestinians.

He may be different from previous presidents, but like them he has allowed himself to be bamboozled by a Palestinian leader.

Trump seems to have believed the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas when he claimed he opposed terror and the anti-Semitic incitement that fuels the conflict, even though Abbas continues to subsidize terrorists and anti-Israel propaganda in PA schools and media. Yet rather than holding Abbas accountable, Trump is leaving in place the old policy on Jerusalem so as to avoid antagonizing his new friend.

The problem here isn’t just that Trump’s ego has gotten the better of his judgment.

Moving the embassy or recognizing that Jerusalem is part of Israel may generate violence in the Muslim world. But by adhering to the same discredited policies that don’t recognize that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and that for the first time in history the city’s holy places are open to all faiths, Trump is going to get the same disastrous results as Obama.

So long as the Palestinians are allowed to get away with delegitimizing Jewish rights even at the Western Wall, they won’t make peace.

Only by forcing them to accept the reality of Jewish Jerusalem will they come to grips with the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. Reinforcing their delusions, as Trump has done, will make peace even less likely.
[New York Post]

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