Jexodus, The Golan, AIPAC And Trump: It’s A Confusing Time To Be Jewish

By

Leonard Zwelling

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/22/us/politics/swimsuit-model-trump-jews.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

“Jexodus.” You may not have heard of this one. It’s a movement that has already been rebranded the ExodusMovement.com to move Jews, traditionally Democratic voters, to support the Republican party. One of its leaders is Elizabeth Pipko a 23-year old ex-figure skater, ex-model, and ex-Trump campaign aide. She’s available via Instagram, of course, and can be seen on the web scantily clad apparently.

The operating quote from her is, “we left Egypt, and now we’re leaving the Democratic Party.” I believe her given the abundance of televisions tuned to Fox News at the JCC of Houston.

Her thesis has some basis. According to the above article, 79% of Jews voted for Democrats in the last election and a majority supported Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Of course, Washington, DC is all ready for the annual AIPAC Conference where 18,000 people, mostly Jewish, will attend a dizzying array of speeches from activists and politicos all in the hopes of advancing the American-Israeli agenda, whatever you believe that happens to be at any given moment.

President Trump has give another gift to Prime Minister Netanyahu in the latter’s quest for another term in office by officially sanctioning what is already reality. Much as he declared Israel’s capital to be Jerusalem (as the Israelis always have) and moved the American embassy there, and that he backed out of the Iran deal that Netanyahu hated, Trump has now sanctioned what is already the case on the ground and has been for 52 years. Israel commands the Golan Heights, the area of land to the north and east that used to be Syrian, but which Israel captured in the Six Day War and subsequently annexed. Most of the world looks upon the Golan as occupied territory, but as someone who has been there many times, I can assure you it is safely in Israeli hands and will remain so as it overlooks Syria, the source of many aggressions against Israel. There is no chance that any responsible government of Israel will give up the Golan Heights to anyone.

Why is all this such a quandary for American Jews?

President Trump has clearly been good for the Netanyahu government. He and Bibi share an affection for one another which could translate into adjoining jail cells some day—but not yet. Anything Mr. Trump can do to keep Bibi in office after elections on April 9, he is willing to do even in the face of the latest rocket attack from Gaza and Israel’s predictable retaliation. If sanctioning officially what is obviously the case helps Netanyahu, Trump is happy to oblige.

Another point of confusion for American Jews centers around the man in the White House charged with negotiating Middle East peace—Jared Kushner. He’s an observant Orthodox Jew who married Mr. Trump’s non-Jewish daughter and she converted for him. Mr. Kushner also seems to be far over his head in taking on responsibilities that he is ill equipped to fulfill like dealing with the Saudi Crown Prince, MBS, and negotiating the Middle East peace. He may even be incapable of using the right email a la Hillary Clinton. Oy!

I have no intention of telling anyone how to react to the confounding messages being sent the way of American Jewry. Should we support Israel or should we listen to our young millennial relatives who want to advance the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement against the Israeli occupiers? Should we support AIPAC and its undying allegiance to Israel or should we take the viewpoint of J Street that Israel is not always right in its government policies, especially toward the Occupied Territories otherwise known as the West Bank? Are the new, liberal Democrats really espousing a message of anti-Semitism that is sufficiently vile to cause a mass exodus of Jews from their traditional home in the Democratic Party?

It is confusing. My only suggestion to all of you out there, Jewish or not, is to weigh your values against those of the people vying for your vote and act accordingly. These are not easy choices. However, listening to a 23-year old ex-model about running toward Trump may not be your best next move.

Leonard Zwelling