When Donald Trump won the American presidential election four years ago, very few British Jewish leaders congratulated him and those who did were criticised for doing so. The frosty reception was due in large part to the view that he panders to white nationalism. Few who formed that view have since been disuaded.
For the many who dislike Trump, all their fears have since been realised, culminating in the Black Lives Matter movement this summer, when race riots erupted across the United States after the death of George Floyd – yet another unarmed black man killed by police.
According to an opinion piece published by the respected UK-based anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate, demonstrations were “the excuse he’d been waiting for to militarise his response to dissent, giving further fuel to the organised paramilitary formations wreaking havoc on civic protests”.
- Special report – US Election: ‘Israel is neither a blue nor red state’
- Special report: ‘Trump polarises people and has ripped apart the country’
A conspiracy theorist keen on dog-whistle racism whose armed far-right supporters have been described as “paramilitaries”, President Trump remains not just repulsive but dangerous to many liberal Jewish observers, yet many of those same observers are keen to see the US help Israel, and on that he aces the rest.
Withdraw from the Iran deal? Tick. Move the embassy? Tick. Propose a peace deal recognising settlements? Yup. Withdraw funding from the Palestinians? Done. Recognise the Golan? It’s yours. Sell advanced jets to Gulf states if they shake hands with Jerusalem? They’ll come gift-wrapped. To America’s right-wing Jewish voters, as to his fans, Trump can do no wrong.
???????? // The polls are now open in the United States Presidential Election!
Who do you think is going to win?
— Jewish News (@JewishNewsUK) November 3, 2020
It may not be enough. In recent years, about 70 percent of American Jews have voted Democrat, and polls show that trend is continuing. Yet Trump has found Jewish support in unexpected areas, not least from the large, strictly-Orthodox communities in New York angered by local Democrats, including city governor Andrew Cuomo, who don’t want them to spread coronavirus.
He is the candidate for the angry or disenfranchised, the figure favoured by those who distrust authority or science, and the man who will save America from the enemies of white nationalists, enemies who include Jews.
President Trump is, in short, a danger to the values many readers hold dear, but a boon to a country many readers hold dear.
How that translates at the election next week is anyone’s guess.
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