Two very unrelated stories are dominating my thoughts as I write this. The first the resignation this morning Avi Gabi the Minister of Environment, from the Netanyahu government and the second an article this morning by Jonathan Weisman in the New York Times on the anti-semitism that he encountered after writing stories that were somewhat critical of Trump.
Gabi resigned this morning stating that he could no longer sit in a government that was destroying relations with the United States and dividing the country. He warned that the second Temple had been destroyed because the nation was not united and stated that the current government was leading the country in that direction. Gabi stated that the firing of Ya’alon was something that should never have been done, endangered us and was a “frog he could not countenance”. Gabi also opposed the recent controversial gas agreement and said he considered resigning after it was passed but decided at the time to continue to work form within. Ya’alon and Gabi are considered by many as the two minister with the greatest personal integrity and it leaves the cabinet with almost no one who cares about liberal values. It puts the head of Gabi’s party Moshe Kachalon, in a very difficult position forcing to justify why he remains in the current government instead of bringing it down. Kachalon is the only one that can do that, but believes that he can bring down the price of apartments in the company and thus win the affection of voters. I am sorry to say he is not likely to succeed, but that is a different post. The feeling that that our ship is being captained by either fools or people whose ideology is blinding them to reality continues to be very unsettling to say the least.
Of course if I want to feel good about politics here all I have to do is take a look at what is happening in the United States at the moment. I continue to be an ardent observer and have remained tangential professional involved in the election process, working with the US embassy here to promote greater understanding of the US elections and its process. While I have avoiding in this election cycle from writing too much, since I have learned the humility at trying to predict the future based on the events of the past, I was truly struck by the article by Jonathan Weisman “The Nazis Tweets of trump God Emperor” . In the article the author a reporter in the New York Times Washington bureau, describes the storm of anti semitism that he has encountered after daring to criticize Trump in any way. Weismann described how he was a typical assimilated Jew who was largely unconnected to the Jewish community. He describes his encounter with a 17 year old Jewish girl who was an LGBT and Black Lives Matter who stated that “there is no anti-Semitism, certainly nothing compared with the prejudices that afflict other minorities.” Weismann argued with the girl saying that you cannot ever ignore antisemitism – he wrote he thought he was sounding like his mother. Trump has brought out a wave of anti semitism that many thought no longer existed. Jews should have known better I suppose, when things start going bad somehow Jews are always at fault. I have written before on why I thought both Sanders and Trump have been successful – how ultimately technology has been replacing workers and upsetting the balance between capital and labor. That has created a mass of insecure people, people who are supporting Trump and to a smaller degree Sanders . These people are also turning on the “powerful Jews” . Jews have been totally accepted in the American Mainstream, so much so that it is guaranteed that whoever becomes President will have grandchildren that are at least partially or fully Jewish, and that is clearly fine with them . Despite this, on the right and the left fringes it’s clear that anti semitism has returned, if it ever had disappeared. I have always been someone who thought American was somehow different, its’ history insulated from the events that have happened to Jews in other parts of the world. Today I am not so sure. A country that might elect Trump might do other things that were until now hard to contemplate.
A friend said to me last night- did you hear the good news? What ? The new poll results that Trumpo is in the lead. Why was that good I asked,? hHe said “maybe if Trump is elected 500,000 Americans Jews will come here, together with the British Olim and French we can finally change this country” Maybe the two things that I have been reflecting on this morning are not so separate after all.