Weisman posits that the American Jewish obsession with Israel has taken our eyes off not only the politics of our own country, the growing gulf between rich and poor, and the rising tide of nationalism but also our own grounding in faith. As one rabbi told me, Jewish life should grow out of belief, faith, and history, not today's New York ties. We have grown reactive, responding to events or provocations rather than pursuing a spiritually driven mission to do as the Torah tell us: Welcome the stranger, for you were strangers in the Land of Egypt.
Jews have grown so obsessed with Israel that the overt and covert signals of anti-Semitism beam from the interior of the Trump campaign appeared to be disregard by people like Adelson and Bernie Marcus, the Home Depot co-founder and Republican mega-donor who seemed wowed by candidate Trump's solemn promise to immediately move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to back Likud's expansive settlement policy on the West Bank. Never mind that both moves were purely symbolic: Netanyahu was going to do what he was going to do regardless of Washington's feckless policies or the location of its ambassador. What mattered was Israel, pure and simple.
Dr. Steve Wruble backs up Weisman assertion in "Trump's Daddy Issues: A Toxic Mix for America," from The Dangerous Case Of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President (2017). Dr. Wruble writes that as a psychiatrist, I am interested in why people are the way they are. Ultimately, the more I understand others, and my relationship to them, the better I understand myself. I am intrigued by the factors that have guided Donald Trump into the Oval Office and into the hearts, minds, and clenched fists of so many Americans. I'm especially frustrated by his having captured the attention and respect of the man I have always craved a closer relationship with--my father.
Fathers and sons have a storied history of playing off each other as they grapple with their evolving separate and shared identities.
Politically, many people in America are single-issue voters. Whether it be abortion, the economy, or foreign policy, it's that one main issue that holds sway over their vote. In my family's case, that one issue is Israel. I come from a family of Modern orthodox Jews, and Orthodox Jewry as a group has thrown its support behind president Trump because it feels Israel will be safer under his watch. Of course, other issues are also important to Orthodox Jews, but these are usually overshadowed by concern for Israel.
About ten years ago, I made the difficult decision to let my family know that I had stopped following the many dictates that an orthodox Jew is expected to follow. The new choice was quite freeing for me, since I had already been living this way secretly for a few years. At the same time, it was upsetting to my parents and especially my father, because Judaism is a major part of his identity. He said he was worried that this would create chaos in our family and wished for my children's sake, that I would keep my secret to myself. On a deeper level, it felt as if he perceived as a threat to his leadership in the family.
My decision to leave Orthodox Judaism feels connected to evolution of my political views toward a more liberal agenda. This, at first, was uncomfortable because it was frowned upon in my community to question anything that supported the State of Israel. Donald Trump's behavior was clear and disturbing to me and overshadowed his support for Israel. However, my misgivings were not echoed in my community. My attempts to be understood by family and friends were surprisingly difficult.
Many Republicans seem to be locked in a dysfunctional relationship with Trump as a strong father figure who appears to have are less to offer than they're pining for. Yet, like myself, they are looking to their "father" in the hope that he will deliver them from what feels broken within them and the lives they are leading.
MAKING SENSE OF TRUMP
Several details that seem to shine a light on how Trumps relationship with his father, Fred Trump, may have impacted his development. Fred, an overbearing father seem to have driven his eldest son, Freddie Jr, to "suicide" at age forty-three, leaving Donald to fill the void. Obviously, he was successful at this in his father's real estate, and the two spent many years working together until Donald moved on to conquer Manhattan.
Donald witnessed his father's tough negotiating style, even at home. Fred Trump's housing project made him wealthy and powerful. Some tenants appreciated him for his solid, well-priced apartments; others loathed him for his suspected exclusion of blacks from his properties.
Unlike Trump, I was fortunate to watch my father come home daily from saving lives as a physician. I can only imagine how ashamed I would have felt if my father had been accused of being racist. That being said, Donald may not have given it a second thought.
As I observe President Trump's behavior, I imagine that there is a good chance he identifies with his father's aggressive business style and parenting, and now employing that orientation to his role as president. In psychology, this is called identification with the aggressor. At first, it may appear counter-intuitive to identify with an aggressor who has abused his position of power to take advantage. However, our brains often use this early relationship as a template to shape our future behavior. We are attracted to the power we witness from our powerless position. We can be hungry for the same power that we originally resented or even fought against. Taking all this into consideration, President Trump's aggressive behavior seems to illuminate the part of his father that still lives on within him.
In simplified fashion, in order for Trump to avoid feeling the effects of his insecurities, and to feed is narcissistic needs, he appears to compensate by trying to be seen as powerful and special with the hope that he will indeed feel powerful and special. Only he know the truth about how successful he is at this.
Trump has difficult transferring his business strategies and expectations to the culture of government has been frustrating for him, and his responses that frustration have been eye-opening. He doesn't appear to have the flexibility to switch gears in order to deal with the function of his job as president. His handling of FBI director James Comey is a good example. Conversations about loyalty appear to have contributed to his firing. Trump’s befuddlement regarding all the fireworks that ensured makes it appear that he is either limited in understanding the impact of his behavior or insensitive to it. Either way, his leadership leaves a large segment of the population feeling insecure and fearful about what to expect next.