Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher write in Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money and Power (2016), Jew should not be surprised at what occurred in the Tree of Life Synagogue.  The road to this massacre began at Donald Trump's appearance at AIPAC in 2016 as a candidate.   Kranish and Fisher posit that thousands of Jewish activists gathered for Trump's long-awaited speech to AIPAC on his approach to the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate.  Dozens of rabbis and others had announced plans to boycott the event, both because Trump had pledged to be “neutral” in talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and because Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the United States struck many Jews as a frightening echo of the policies that their own parents and grandparents had faced in Europe.

Even though Trump's daughter Ivanka had married an Orthodox Jew and converted to Judaism, the candidate had alienated many Jews with comments at a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting where he said he might not win the support of many in the room because he did not want their money.  Trump said he was best-positioned to get a Middle East peace deal because he's a negotiator, “like you folks.”


Trump had some repair work to do.  He took no chances.  Though he'd said that Teleprompters should be banned on the campaign trail, he now used one, his eyes darting from one screen to the other.  This time, he was squarely on Israel's side.  He railed against the Palestinians' demonetization of Jews.  He reminded the crowd that he'd lent his personal jet to New York mayor Rudy Giuliani when he visited Israel weeks after the 9/11 attacks that he'd been grand marshal of the Israel Parade in New York in 2004, at the height of violence in the Gaza Strip.  He made sure everyone noted that Ivanka would soon give birth to a “beautiful Jewish baby.”


But before Trump's speech won repeated standing ovation, at the start of his remarks, six rows from the stage, one rabbi wearing a Jewish prayer shawl stood up and shouted in solitary protest, “This man is wicked.  He inspires racists and bigots.  He encourages violence.  Do not listen to him.”

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, who leads an Orthodox congregation in Washington, did not rise out of any passion of the moment.  He had wrestled with this decision for days.  He consulted with his own mentor rabbi, with his lawyer, with his wife and seven children.  He told his kids that he felt obliged to say something, “to say 'we know who you are, we see through you.”


His children asked him not to stage his protest because he might get hurt, but Herzfeld concluded that he had no choice.  He knew he would lose members of his synagogue (and he did).  He knew he would be accused of taking an inappropriately political stance (and he was).  But he had concluded that Trump posed “an existential threat to our country. 


I've never seen this type of political figure in my life.  He's shameless in inspiring violence.  He used vile language about people from other countries.  He's open a space for ugliness to come out of the shadows.”


Herzfeld was immediately ushered out of the area and Trump continued speaking without incident.


Avraham Burg in The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes (2008), as an Israeli has issued several jeremiads to American Zionist on its longing for a mythical past and trying to undue the holocaust effect on the American Jewish political mindset.

Burg declares that the Shoah (Holocaust) changed the course for American Jews.  From apathy of enormous potential toward becoming the rightful heirs of pre-war European, especially German, Jewish creativity, the Shoah narrowed the field of vision of American Jews.  Anyone who follows the statements and actions of American Jewish leaders and organizations today would be unable to find anything that resembles Julian Morgenstern's great spirit of universalism.

NPR News Interviews Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on July 15. Ronen Zvulun/AP

Friday, September 28; Washington, D.C. - In an interview airing on Monday's Morning Edition, NPR's Steve Inskeep spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about his close alliance with President Trump and the U.S. President's support of a two-state solution.

Excerpts of the interview are available below and can be cited with attribution to NPR. A full transcript will be made available after the interview has aired. Audio clips are available upon request.

On President Trump recently endorsing a two-state solution, and whether that can occur under Netanyahu's watch;
"My view of a potential agreement is that the Palestinians have all the powers to govern themselves but none of the powers to threaten us. The key power that must, must not be in their hands is the question of security. In the tiny area west of the Jordan river up to the Mediterranean, it's all about the width of about 50 to 60 kilometers, 40 miles, where both Palestinians and Israelis live, Israel must retain the overriding security responsibility."

On whether he is ready to absorb Palestinians and give them full civil and voting rights, equal rights in Israel;
"No, I don't want them either as citizens of Israel or subjects of Israel. But I think there is not an either-or model. I think we have a third model at the very least which is what I'm talking about: basically all the powers of sovereignty, or nearly all the powers, but not the ones of security. Look, in the Middle East, which is littered with failed states, that's often the best you can do."


"Well, they would have those rights in their own territory. In other words, they have their own Parliament, they have their own government, they have their own flag, they have their own anthem, they have their own tax system."

On whether his close alliance with President Trump risks the historic bipartisan support for Israel in the United States.
"Well, I think that you know you've seen that we can have agreements and disagreements with previous administrations. For example, it's no secret I had a disagreement with President Obama on Iran. But at the same time, we signed MOU. And the MOU, the Memorandum of Understanding, guaranteed Israel very important American security assistance for the coming decade. And I appreciate that. So we can have disagreements and yet have a basic agreement about the importance of our alliance. And I don't have a disagreement with President Trump on Iran."

When the Jewish lobby in Washington, the Conference of Presidents of Jewish organizations, and the other Jewish congresses and committees gather, only one issue is discussed: Israel.  In the eyes of many Jews and non-Jews alike, the Jewish American community is a none-issue community.  I [Burg] regret this dangerous erosion of purpose very much.  I [Burg] fear a world in which the only Jewish voice speaks only of nationhood and nationalism. 


In Israel and in America, the guilt complex over the Shoah created a national obsession of exaggerated securitism, the longing for power that often morphs into primitive belligerence.  In America, the collective feeling of guilt that more could have been done if the U.S. Government was prodded to act sooner is ever present. 


I [Burg] do not know the details of the Jewish American experience, but I know the leadership pretty well.  The Jewish masses are diverse and have a much more sophisticated agenda than presented and express by their leadership.


The destruction of the Shoah seems to have been burned into the leaders' minds.  One result is that Jewish American leaders tend to justify their government's wars and support the most right-wing foreign policies, especially vis-a-vis Israel and the Middle East.  They are against everybody, including Germany, Russia, and the Arab countries.


Furthermore, the official organized Jewish voice is a power to reckon with in every election campaign.  It is very difficult to be elected to high office in America against the wishes of the Jewish lobby.  Financial and organizational resources, public support, legitimacy—and not least, the damage the Jewish lobby can cause to unwanted candidates—turn Jewish involvement in American politics into a factor with strategic intentional consequences.

Netanyahu's Not-Quite-2-State Solution


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu applauds President Trump during a speech at the United Nations during the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday.  Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Updated 8 a.m. ET Monday

President Trump's administration has begun pressing Israel to embrace the idea of a Palestinian state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is insisting on something less.

Netanyahu spoke with NPR after Trump spoke in favor of a two-state solution while visiting the United Nations last week. (To be precise, Trump welcomed a two-state solution, or a one-state solution in which Palestinians are absorbed into Israel: "If they do a single, if they do a double, I'm OK with it if they're both happy.") In the NPR interview, Israel's leader pushed for neither.

Netanyahu said Israel must remain in complete control of security, whether Palestinians claim a state or not.

"My view of a potential agreement is that the Palestinians have all the powers to govern themselves, but none of the powers to threaten us," Netanyahu tells NPR's Steve Inskeep in an exclusive interview for Morning Edition. "The key power that must, must not be in their hands is the question of security. ... I don't want them either as citizens of Israel or subjects of Israel."

The Israeli leader says he would prefer Palestinians receive "basically all the powers of sovereignty, or nearly all the powers, but not the ones of security." This option, he says, would give Israel overriding power of security, but let the Palestinians "govern their lives in a more complete way," with their own parliament, government and tax system.

He believes this potential solution is the most realistic approach and "the best arrangement" for both parties.

Last week, President Trump said he supports a two-state solution, making it the first time he has publicly voiced his stance on a Palestinian state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded in agreement with Trump, saying the path to peace requires a two-state solution.

Netanyahu, however, tells NPR he has made it clear for several years that any Palestinian government could not have full control of security.

Despite Trump's comments, Netanyahu says the relationship between the U.S. and Israel continues to be "a very powerful bond." He doesn't view his close friendship with Trump as a risk to the historic bipartisan support for Israel in the United States.

He gives Trump credit for his "tremendous service to our common security," specifically when it comes to the Iran nuclear deal.

"We can have disagreements and yet have a basic agreement about the importance of our alliance," he said. "I don't have a disagreement with President Trump on Iran."

In May, Netanyahu praised Trump for his "courageous leadership" in pulling out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, something Israel had been fighting against since its formation. Netanyahu again commended Trump for standing up for Israel during the U.N. General Assembly meeting last week, when the Trump administration announced it would cut all funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency in Palestine. The agency helps fund schools and clinics in the West Bank and Gaza — as well as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon — for more than 5 million Palestinian refugees.

As for bipartisan support in the U.S., Netanyahu believes that both Republican and Democratic leaders understand Israel's dedication to "a robust, open, free democracy."

"We value America's support from all sides," Netanyahu said.

Jewish influence sometimes causes American political candidates to sound like Shoah victims.  “Never again” speeches, Auschwitz themes, and black skullcaps during memorial ceremonies, complete with God Full of Mercy prayers, are frequent.

New Embassy In Jerusalem Attracts Devout Christians From The U.S.


October 9, 20187:23 AM ET

The new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem is a pilgrimage site for some American Christians. They snap selfies there and say it's fulfillment of a biblical prophecy.


Jerusalem is, of course, home to important historical and religious sites. And now there is a new pilgrimage site in the city - the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. It is attracting some devout American visitors who see it as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. NPR's Daniel Estrin paid a visit.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Stand up straight and smile.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: One, two, three.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: No, I want the picture of the thing - the name.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: I've been standing here for about an hour, and already, three groups of people - tourists - have come here to take pictures with the plaque in stone that says Embassy United States of America, Jerusalem, Israel, Donald J. Trump, President.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Donald Trump - yeah.

ESTRIN: In May, a U.S. consulate building in the residential outskirts of Jerusalem was renamed as the embassy as the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Most of the world rejects that because Palestinians seek part of the city for their capital. But the embassy has become a tourist site for people who are elated by Trump's move, like Linda Carter from Florida.

LINDA CARTER: This is the capital, right. This is the center of the Earth right here - or not the Earth but the center of our universe - ours.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing in Hebrew).

ESTRIN: Her church group filed out of their tour bus to take pictures and sing the Israeli and U.S. national anthems.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light.

ESTRIN: One visitor from Texas, Jason Reyes, walked an hour from the walled Old City wearing a Trump-Pence T-shirt to take his picture in front of the embassy.

JASON REYES: This is a prophetic moment. This is definitely a prophetic moment.

ESTRIN: There were a few Jewish visitors, including an Israeli family who liked Trump's gesture but thought Palestinians also deserved a capital in the city. Most of the visitors I met eschewed traditional religious labels, like Christian or evangelical, but said they believe in Jesus, and they saw the U.S. Embassy as representing something biblical.

DEBRA HOLM: I feel like it's the Bible being fulfilled. So, you know, you look at Scripture. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, so we're seeing the word of God being fulfilled, so you want to come look at it with your own eyes.

DIANE WEBER: Yep, yep.

ESTRIN: Debra Holm (ph) and Diane Weber from Minnesota say they're with a worship group visiting Israel to reach out to the Jewish people. They support Trump's decision to move the embassy here.

WEBER: Well because it says in Scripture that those that bless Israel will themselves be blessed. Those that curse Israel will be cursed.

ESTRIN: Look at what happened since the U.S. moved its embassy, she says. The U.S. economy has improved.

WEBER: We're blessing Israel. We're being blessed.

ESTRIN: Several people I met at the embassy mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan Trump says he'll present in a few months. Recently, Trump said he thinks the two-state solution would work best - a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Holm and Weber and other visitors I met had this message for Trump.

WEBER: Don't give up any land. Do not negotiate to give up any land.

HOLM: That's what we're hoping for.

ESTRIN: They think Palestinians won't stop at a Palestinian state and will want Israel for themselves, too. Melissa Brunner was visiting from Georgia.

MELISSA BRUNNER: It doesn't mean that you discriminate against the Palestinians. You know, you love them, and they should be taken care of and things like that. But Israel is sovereign, and they should have their own sovereignty. This is their land.

ESTRIN: As one of the church groups sang, a Palestinian watched on. He was Palestinian-American Zakaria Hajeer at the embassy for a relative's visa interview. I asked him what he thought of the idea these visitors have, that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem reflects God's plan.

ZAKARIA HAJEER: Everybody can say my God told me this is my land. God's plan for me is this is Palestine.

ESTRIN: The other Palestinians I met here were not interested in talking politics. They were trying to get visas to go live in the U.S.

JACQUELINE RAFIQ: (Through interpreter) There's more freedom in the U.S. In the West Bank, we can't take our kids out for fun. You need Israeli permits for everything, and I want to keep my children protected.

ESTRIN: That's Jacqueline Rafiq, who came to the embassy from her home in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. She's with her husband and six children. They happen to be Christian. For them, this embassy represents a possible escape from the realities of the life they live here. Daniel Estrin, NPR News, Jerusalem.

Copyright © 2018 NPR.


The Shoah is still the major forming experience of Jewish public life everywhere in the world.


It seems that more than six decades after his death, Hitler retains his influence over American Jews.  Vulnerability can be felt in the most impressive community the Jews have ever built, a Jewry more glorious than those of Babel and Spain, even more so than German Jewry that existed between the time of the Mendelssohn and the Shoah.  The potential is there for Jews to change the world for the better, if they only free themselves from the Nazi shackles.


American Jews seek solutions both as members of the Jewish faith and as partners in the building of the American nation.  The one-issue strategy does not address these goals as it deal with Israel and nothing else.  Yet every time a strategic reevaluation concerning Israel is called for, the silencing voices are herd: Shoah, pogroms, self-hating Jews.  Again anti-Semitism swastikas, and Hitler decide the debate on Jewish identity and an opportunity for dialogue dies before it even begins.


Views: 33

Comment by mary gravitt on October 31, 2018 at 1:11pm

Every hate has a beginning and an outcome.  Donald Trump spreads racial hatred because he has no empathy for the victims of his hate speech.


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