it’s trump’s bar miztvah and i think he went with “fascist dystopian horrorscape” as his theme! pic.twitter.com/ZHyHwlHb0T
— Adam Freelander (@adamplease) March 21, 2016
In Judaism, when you want to use a kitchen utensil or oven to prepare kosher food, you have to kasher it; or make it kosher. You have to raise the heat in your oven to burn off any possible food that was previously prepared in it that was treif.
That is precisely what Aipac did for Donald Trump today. They took a candidate who was treif; someone who advocates positions diametrically opposed to those of the vast majority of American Jews; values which are racist, intolerant and xenophobic; and they made him and them kosher.
Yes, Trump was very careful in this speech. He didn’t speak off the cuff. Gone were any references to controversial views he previously espoused that were viewed as anti-Israel. He did an about-face on Jerusalem and said he’d move the embassy there. Instead of offering to be neutral regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, he said he’d be pro-Israel.
But despite satisfying the skeptics at Aipac, Trump remains a candidate whom no Jew except a wealthy, fat-cat 1%er could support. If Obama got 75% of the Jewish vote in the last election, Hillary will get 85% or more. Which serves to show you how completely out of touch Aipac is with the Jewish grassroots.
The news media observed that the walk-out planned during Trump’s speech fizzled. The hall didn’t empty out. It was jam-packed. And what did anyone expect? That Aipac would turn from being what it’s always been–a venue to celebrate Israeli triumphalism–into a font of tolerance and wisdom? Anyone who feels surprised or disappointed that Aipac didn’t do the right thing needs is living in a dream-world.
Aipac is doing what it does best: currying favor with the power elites in American politics. It hardly matters who the candidate is or what he stands for. He could be a white supremacist–as long as he was the expected presidential candidate of a major party and supported Israel, he would be welcome.
One anomalously honest statement did say was to acknowledge that Israel might not want to wish to make the compromises necessary for a peace agreement:
“A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal, whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things,” Trump said at the time. “They may not be, and I understand that, and I’m okay with that. But then you’re just not going to have a deal.”
Thoughhe did say this would be OK with him, no candidate ever acknowledges what is self-evident, that Israel refuses to make compromises for the sake of peace. Trump is the closest any candidate has ever come to saying this at an Aipac conference.
This speech was a maiden voyage of sorts for Trump into the American political mainstream. Despite Aipac’s staking out positions on the far-right of the American and Israeli political agenda, it is at the heart of American political power. To be a credible candidate in terms of the power elites (foreign policy wonks, corporate executives, etc.), he must be accepted before gatherings like this one. And he was.
When he made the unpardonable claim that he would tear up the Iran nuclear deal on his first day in office, he received a thunderous ovation. When he called Pres. Obama “maybe the worst thing to happen to Israel,” the supposedly bipartisan body erupted in cheers. This is how Trump kashered himself.
Now Sheldon Adelson can proudly come out of the closet and endorse Trump fulsomely. Now the right-wing think tanks, Freedom Works, and other political operatives can get on board.
Donald Trump owes Aipac a debt of gratitude: they’ve turned a piece of bacon into filet mignon. They turned a far-right extremist with un-American and un-Jewish values into a credible candidate (at least for some voters). And that’s a schandeh. It represents the new lows to which Aipac has sunk.
I am an American Jew. All praise to Bernie Sanders for standing up Aipac. Aipac does not speak for me.
— Tikun Olam (@richards1052) March 22, 2016
To my surprise and delight, this tweet I posted earlier this afternoon now has over 200 Likes and Retweets.
I am proud that Bernie Sanders stood up Aipac and refused to speak there. He did the right thing. I recently wrote a Mint Press piece claiming that Bernie would be damned if he spoke to Aiapc and damned if he didn’t. Indeed, he would’ve faced that dilemma had he won a few of the most recent state primaries (Hillary won all five). In that case, he would still be competing neck-and-neck with Hillary and all eyes would’ve been on him for any possible gaffes he might make. But since Bernie has unfortunately lapsed into a second tier candidate, no one is second-guessing his every move.
But Bernie stood up to pro-Israel power and said I’ve got better things to do than hobnob with a bunch of pro-Israel fatcats. I’ve got primaries to win in the west and that’s where I’ll be.