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Trump has ‘new reasons for hope’ after whirlwind Middle East visit

Trump has ‘new reasons for hope’ after whirlwind Middle East visit

Posted on 25 May 2017 by admin

President heralds ‘rare opportunity’ to bring peace, stability to Israel


JERUSALEM — President Donald Trump arrived in Israel for a whirlwind 28-hour visit, saying his trip to the region has given him “new reasons for hope.”

US President Donald Trump with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as he arrives at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on May 22, 2017, for his first official visit to Israel since becoming US president. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO *** Local Caption *** ארצות הברית ארהב  ארה"ב דונלד טראמפ נשיא אמריקה ראובן ריבלין משמר הכבוד

US President Donald Trump with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as he arrives at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on May 22, 2017, for his first official visit to Israel since becoming US president. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO *** Local Caption *** ארצות הברית
דונלד טראמפ
ראובן ריבלין
משמר הכבוד

Air Force One touched down on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion International Airport shortly after 12:30 p.m.Monday. The landing represented the first direct flight ever between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the first stop of Trump’s first international trip as president.
“I have come to this sacred and ancient land to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and the State of Israel,” Trump said in remarks at the welcome ceremony after he reviewed the honor guard and was welcomed by Israel’s leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.NetanyahusTrumps
Trump called Israel a “strong, resilient, determined and prosperous nation” and alluded to the Holocaust, saying the United States “will not allow the horror and atrocities of the last century to be repeated.”
He called his visit to the region a “rare opportunity” to bring peace and stability. “But we can only get there working together. There is no other way,” he said.
Netanyahu called the visit historic in that it is the first time that a U.S. president’s first trip abroad includes Israel.
“Thank you for this powerful expression of your friendship to Israel,” the prime minister said.
In another first, Trump visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to go to the holy site.
Netanyahu alluded to Trump’s speech to Muslim and Arab leaders in Riyadh the previous day.
“Mr. President, yesterday in Saudi Arabia you delivered a forceful speech on terrorism and extremism, called on forces of civilization to confront the forces of barbarism,” he said.wall2
Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to peace, pointing out that Israel has already made peace with Egypt and Jordan, adding that “Israel’s hand is extended in peace to all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. The peace we seek is a genuine one in which the Jewish state is recognized, security remains in Israel’s hands and the conflict ends once and for all.”
Speaking before Netanyahu, Rivlin said the Middle East and Israel need a strong United States, and the United States “needs a strong Israel.” He reminded Trump that Israel this week marks the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.wall1
Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner landed in a second plane and sat with the American diplomatic delegation during the welcome ceremony.
During a live video feed of Trump’s visit to Israel, the White House caused a bit of a stir by identifying the location of the president as “Jerusalem, Israel” — a departure from the standard listing of the city as simply Jerusalem.
The caption appeared on the video feed of Monday’s news conference at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence. It came as Trump administration officials continue to differ over whether to describe the contested city as being part of Israel, and as Israeli officials urge the White House to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Obama administration at least twice — in 2011 and then again last year — corrected photo captions and datelines that had read “Jerusalem, Israel” to “Jerusalem,” reflecting longstanding executive branch policy that the city should not be described as being in any country until there is a final status agreement. (Congress recognized the city as Israel’s capital in 1995.)
The George W. Bush administration also routinely captioned photos and listed the city on schedules and in news releases as simply “Jerusalem.”

נשיא המדינה ראובן ריבלין ורעייתו נחמה מקבלים את נשיא ארה"ב דולנד טראמפ ורעייתו מלינה צילום: חיים צח / לע"מ photo by Haim Zach / GPO

נשיא המדינה ראובן ריבלין ורעייתו נחמה מקבלים את נשיא ארה”ב דולנד טראמפ ורעייתו מלינה
צילום: חיים צח / לע”מ
photo by Haim Zach / GPO

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Manchester’s Jews saddened, not surprised after concert bombing killed at least 22

Manchester’s Jews saddened, not surprised after concert bombing killed at least 22

Posted on 25 May 2017 by admin

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Emergency services arrive  close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England.  There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening.  Greater Manchester Police have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 23: Emergency services arrive close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

Residents have been preparing for, expecting attack for years

By Cnaan Liphshiz

Britain’s bloodiest terrorist attack in over a decade occurred Monday just two miles from Rabbi Yisroel Cohen’s synagogue.
Yet one day after the deadly bombing in Manchester, Cohen told JTA he has no intention of changing security arrangements at his congregation.
In fact Cohen, a Chabad emissary who works in a Jewish enclave in the northern part of the city surrounded by a heavily Muslim area, said there is little room for improving security across his tight-knit community.
After all, the Jewish community in Manchester — one of the U.K.’s fastest-growing spots thanks to an influx of immigrants and young couples seeking alternatives to pricey London — has been on its highest alert since long before the explosion that killed at least 22 people and wounded 50 at an Ariana Grande concert. On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the act.
“Well, the radio equipment is working, the residents have been briefed, police are patrolling, security professionals from the Jewish community have been in place since the attacks in Belgium” last year, Cohen said when asked about security. “There is only so much you can do — except pray.”
On Kings Road, a busy street of the heavily Jewish borough of Prestwich, residents keep an eye out for strangers. Any abnormal behavior — particularly photography or the gathering of information — quickly invites polite but firm inquiries by both passers-by as well as shopkeepers who cater to the local population of haredi and modern Orthodox Jews.
The vigilance in Jewish Manchester owes much of its preparation and training to the local police, the Community Security Trust organization and other groups. But it is also born of circumstance: Manchester’s approximately 30,000 Jews are concentrated in a relatively small area. This makes them an easy target, but it also means that the community’s institutions are easier to protect and vigilance is easier to instill.
While there are also concentrations of Jews in North London, in Manchester — a city of 2.5 million, where 15.8 percent of the population is Muslim — there is added tension because the Jewish and Muslim communities live in close proximity. Kings Road, for example, is sandwiched between the Judaica World bookstore on its western end and the Masjid Bilal mosque on its eastern one.
This juxtaposition in recent years has generated some friction, including in the harassment of Jews on the street and the occasional violent incident.
A history of violence
At least one more premeditated plan to attack Manchester Jews was uncovered and foiled five years ago. In 2012, a British judge imprisoned a Muslim couple, Mohammed Sajid and Shasta Khan, for seven years for gathering intelligence on Manchester Jews for an attack.
“That incident came at a time of reassessment about the threat to Jews in Manchester, and it was one of the reasons that led to a complete overhaul,” Cohen said.
“So today, we in the Jewish community are perhaps less surprised than others at what happened,” the rabbi added, though he also said that Mancunian Jews are “shocked at the horror” witnessed at the concert.
Paul Harris, editor of the city’s Jewish Telegraph weekly, told JTA he generally agrees that Manchester’s Jewish community is well prepared to deal with any emergency or fallout thereof, but he also flagged one weak point: On evenings and afternoons, observant Jews in the city congregate outside synagogue — a habit that makes them an easy target and which, for that reason, has largely been abandoned in at-risk communities in France and beyond.
“Maybe that will change now,” Harris said.
Called a terrorist attack
In a statement Tuesday following a suspect’s arrest, Prime Minister Theresa May said the bombing was a “callous terrorist attack” that targeted “defenseless young people.” Police believe a homemade explosive vest was detonated by a suicide bomber who may or may not have been working alone.
The explosion ripped through the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena at 10:30 p.m. after Grande, a 23-year-old pop singer from the United States, had already left the stage. At least 12 of the 22 killed in the attack were children younger than 16. News of the explosion sent worried parents to the arena, where children, teenagers and young adults streamed out of the main exit in a state of panic.
Cohen said that Chabad was not aware of Jewish fatalities in the attack.
The attack happened a little over two weeks before the June 8 general election in which hardliner Theresa May from the Conservative Party is running against Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party. The attack may further increase May’s lead in the polls on Corbyn, a left-leaning promoter of outreach to Muslims who has called Hezbollah and Hamas his friends.
Last year Corbyn — amid intense criticism in the media and from members of his own party for his perceived failures in curbing expressions of anti-Semitism within Labour’s ranks — said he regretted expressing affection to the two Islamist terror groups. Following the attack Monday, all parties agreed to suspend campaigning for three days.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint news conference Tuesday in Jerusalem with President Donald Trump, who was visiting Israel, referenced the attack in criticizing incitement to terrorism by the Palestinian Authority under its president, Mahmoud Abbas.
“President Abbas condemned the horrific attack in Manchester,” Netanyahu said while standing next to Trump. “Well, I hope this heralds a real change, because if the attacker had been Palestinian and the victims had been Israeli children, the suicide bomber’s family would have received a stipend from the Palestinian Authority. That’s Palestinian law. That law must be changed.”
Speaking in Bethlehem, Trump joined other world leaders who condemned the attack.
“I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. I will call them losers,” he said.
Back in Manchester, Rabbi Shneur Cohen of the Chabad Manchester Center City organized a food and drinks distribution to police officers who were stationed outside the arena where the attack took place.
“We are Manchester, we stand together,” Cohen told reporters at the scene.
But Harris, the Jewish Telegraph editor, said that despite such gestures, “there is definitely a silence, a shocked silence” in the city following the attack.

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J Street’s hypocrisy on Holocaust analogies: you can’t have it both ways

Posted on 28 December 2016 by admin

By Stephen M. Flatow

J Street and like-minded groups are denouncing Donald Trump’s ambassador-designate to Israel, David Friedman, over a comment Friedman once made comparing Jewish advocates of the Palestinian cause to Jews who collaborated with the Nazis.

I’m not particularly comfortable with Holocaust analogies. But I’m also not particularly comfortable with hypocrisy. In a fundraising email this week, J Street denounced Friedman’s “horrifically offensive rhetoric.” Yet just days ago, the same J Street publicly endorsed a candidate for the chairmanship of the Democratic Party who compared President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who is seeking to head the Democratic National Committee, made his Hitler remark in 2007, so J Street can’t dismiss it as something he said when he was in college. And Ellison’s remark was videotaped, so nobody can claim it was edited or taken out of context.

In fact, not only did Ellison make a Hitler comparison, but he even strongly implied that Bush was to blame for the 9/11 attacks. Here’s how Ellison phrased it: “Remember 9/11. Right? You had never have (sic) all this discrimination against religious minorities but for 9/11. You had it, but you didn’t have it to the degree that we have it now. 9/11 is this juggernaut event in American history, and it allows—it’s almost like, you know, the Reichstag fire kind of reminds me of that.”

The Reichstag fire, of course, was the burning of the German parliament in 1933, which the Nazis carried out in order to blame their enemies. Someone in Ellison’s audience called out, “But who benefited from 9/11?” Ellison replied, “Well, I mean, you know, you and I both know.” To which the audience member responded, “Yeah, Bush.” Ellison then added, “But the thing is that, you know, after the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.”

Comparing Bush to Hitler, suggesting that Bush carried out the 9/11 attacks in order to blame Muslims—I would consider that it to be “horrifically offensive rhetoric,” as J Street said about Ambassador-designate Friedman. Yet for some reason J Street is perfectly comfortable with Ellison’s horrifically offensive rhetoric.

Ellison is not the only friend of J Street who likes to use Nazi analogies. George Soros compared the Bush administration to the Nazis in his 2006 book, “The Age of Fallibility.” He wrote, “The Bush administration and the Nazi and Communist regimes all engaged in the politics of fear…Indeed, the Bush administration has been able to improve on the techniques used by the Nazi and Communist propaganda machines by drawing on the innovations of the advertising and marketing industries.” (Pages 84-85.)

Why doesn’t J Street consider Soros’s statement horrifically offensive? Do his large donations to J Street affect its judgment?

After Israel’s ruling coalition initiated legislation requiring NGOs to be more transparent, Aaron N. Rice, who identifies himself as a member of the “J Street National Leadership Circle and Executive Committee,” sent a tweet Dec. 28, 2015, in which he offered this comment: “What person in the ’30s dissolved a democracy & assumed dictatorial powers through democratic means?”

I checked J Street’s website, and could not find any statement condemning Rice’s horrifically offensive comparison of Israel’s prime minister to Adolf Hitler. Why the silence?

So pardon me if I’m not impressed by J Street’s indignation about David Friedman. When it consistently speaks out against Holocaust analogies—including those made by its executive committee member, Aaron Rice; its donor, George Soros; and its endorsee, Keith Ellison—then J Street might be taken a little more seriously. But I’m not going to hold my breath.


Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

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F-35 stealth jets arrive in Israel

Posted on 15 December 2016 by admin


JERUSALEM — Two F-35 stealth fighter jets touched down in Israel for a handover ceremony from their American pilots to their Israeli pilots. They originated in Fort Worth.
The planes arrived five hours late for the Monday ceremony after being delayed in Italy due to fog.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter was in Israel for the arrival of the airplanes. Earlier in the day, Carter met in Tel Aviv with his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Liberman, and they “discussed the depth and strength of the U.S.-Israeli relationship and reflected on the unprecedented defense cooperation between our two countries over the last eight years — including robust developments on missile defense, counter-tunneling, cyber security and intelligence sharing,” according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Carter and Liberman also discussed “regional security challenges in the Middle East,” as well as the campaign to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group.
“Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the U.S.-Israeli defense relationship and the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security in the future,” the Department of Defense said.
During the handover ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Carter for coming to Israel.
“It’s a sign of your personal commitment to Israel’s security on many fronts,” Netanyahu said, adding: “And I wish to thank as well, along with all the people of Israel, President Obama. Israel is your best and most reliable ally in the Middle East — in my opinion beyond the Middle East. We will always remain so. Thank you, Secretary Carter.”
Following the handover, Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, along with Israeli military officials, affixed the symbol of the Israel Air Force on the planes, which are known in Israel by the moniker “Adir,” or mighty.
Each plane costs about $100 million. An additional six planes will arrive in the coming year.
Last month, Israel ordered 17 more of the advanced aircraft under the 10-year, $38 billion U.S. military aid package for Israel signed by Obama in September. Most of the aid must be spent in the United States.
The F-35 is built by Fort Worth-based Lockheed-Martin.

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Meet the Jews in Donald Trump’s inner circle

Meet the Jews in Donald Trump’s inner circle

Posted on 17 November 2016 by admin

Ivanka Trump (top left), Jason Greenblatt (top right), Steven Mnuchin (bottom left) and Boris Epshteyn (bottom right)

Ivanka Trump (top left), Jason Greenblatt (top right), Steven Mnuchin (bottom left) and Boris Epshteyn (bottom right)

By Josefin Dolsten

President-elect Donald Trump has a complicated history with Jews. On the one hand, his daughter Ivanka converted to Orthodox Judaism before marrying Jared Kushner, and he’s spoken fondly about having Jewish grandchildren.
On the other, some of Trump’s supporters identify with anti-Semitic elements of the alt-right movement, and he’s a favorite of prominent white supremacist David Duke. On Sunday, Trump appointed Stephen Bannon — the former chairman of Breitbart News, a site with ties to the alt-right — as his chief strategist in a move that sparked swift criticism from the Anti-Defamation League.
Still, Trump’s cadre of advisers is not short on Jews. While the real estate magnate and former reality TV star may not officially appoint family members to his Cabinet because of federal anti-nepotism regulations, here’s a look at his Jewish advisers, their views and possible roles in his administration.

Jason Greenblatt

Greenblatt has worked as a real-estate lawyer for Trump for 19 years, and he is one of two Jewish lawyers whom Trump has said he would appoint as his Israel advisers. An Orthodox Jew and Yeshiva University graduate, Greenblatt studied at a West Bank yeshiva in the mid-1980s and even did armed guard duty there.
The father of six from Teaneck, New Jersey, does not have any political experience. Greenblatt has said he speaks with people involved in the Israeli government but has not spoken to any Palestinians since his yeshiva studies. He has cited the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as one of his main sources for staying informed about the Jewish state, and helped draft Trump’s speech at the lobbying group’s annual conference in March.
Greenblatt, who has said he supports the two-state solution, has implied that Trump will take a more laissez-faire approach to peace building.
“He is not going to impose any solution on Israel,” Greenblatt told Israel’s Army Radio last week. He also said that Trump “does not view Jewish settlements as an obstacle to peace.”

David Friedman

Alongside Greenblatt, Trump named Friedman, 57, as an Israel adviser. Friedman, a bankruptcy expert and partner at the Kasowitz law firm in New York, is the president-elect’s longtime attorney. The son of a Conservative rabbi with a family history of ties to Republican presidential candidates — his family hosted Ronald Reagan for a Shabbat lunch in 1984, the year he won re-election — Friedman lives in Woodmere, New York, and owns a house in Jerusalem’s Talbiyeh neighborhood, according to Haaretz.

David Friedman

David Friedman

Friedman has expressed doubt about the future of the two-state solution, traditionally a pillar of bipartisan U.S. policy in the region. Prior to the Republican Party passing a platform that omitted references to the two-state solution, he said it might be time for the party to reject the concept.
“The two-state solution might be one answer, but I don’t think it’s the only answer anymore,” he said in July.
Friedman has also said that annexing the West Bank would not damage Israel’s status as a Jewish state.

Jared Kushner

Kushner — the 35-year-old scion of one of New York’s most prominent real estate families and, since 2009, the husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka — played a crucial role in the president-elect’s campaign, especially with regards to Israel. He worked on Trump’s speech to the AIPAC annual policy conference that earned Trump a standing ovation, and helped plan a trip to Israel for his father-in-law last year. (Trump canceled the trip after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed his call to ban Muslim immigration to the United States.)

Jared Kishner

Jared Kushner

Trump appears to be smitten with Kushner, often referring to his “fantastic” son-in-law when boasting of his pro-Israel credentials. Kushner, an Orthodox Jew who lives with his wife and their three children on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, may have become a household name during the campaign, but he’s no stranger to the limelight. In 2006, at 25, he bought the Observer newspaper. Two years later he became CEO of his father’s company, Kushner Properties, four years after his father was sent to jail for tax evasion, illegal campaign donations and witness tampering. In 2015, Fortune named Kushner to its 40 Under 40 list, its “annual ranking of the most influential young people in business.”

Ivanka Trump

Trump’s daughter Ivanka, 35, who converted to Orthodox Judaism, has served as the polished, softer face of her father’s campaign. A successful businesswoman whose brand is centered around empowering working women, she stood by him when recordings were released that caught the president-elect bragging about sexually assaulting women.
Ivanka has reportedly tried — not always successfully — to have her father tone down or walk back some of his most inflammatory remarks, including having called Mexican immigrants rapists, according to New York magazine.
She is the founder of the Ivanka Trump Collection, a fashion and lifestyle brand, and serves as executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, her father’s company. Ivanka, who gave birth to her third child in March, belongs to the Upper East Side Orthodox synagogue Kehilath Jeshurun with Kushner and has described her family as “pretty observant.” She made Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list in 2014, a year before her husband did.

Boris Epshteyn

Epshteyn, 34, is a Republican political strategist and staunch defender of Trump who has appeared as the president-elect’s surrogate on major TV networks over 100 times, The New York Times reported.
A New York-based investment banker and finance attorney, Epshteyn worked as a communications aide for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, focusing his efforts on the Arizona senator’s running mate, then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whom Trump is reportedly considering for interior secretary, according to Politico.
Epshteyn, a Moscow native, moved to the United States in 1993. A fluent Russian speaker who has moderated a panel encouraging investment in Moscow, he may serve as an asset for Trump in navigating relations with Russia — Trump has expressed his desire to improve ties with President Vladimir Putin.
Then again, Epshteyn’s temper may make him less of an asset to Trump. TV hosts described him as “very combative” and “abrasive,” and in 2014, Epshteyn was charged with misdemeanor assault after he was involved in a bar tussle. The charge was dropped after Epshteyn agreed to undergo anger management training and perform community service.

Stephen Miller

Miller, 30, has played a crucial role in Trump’s campaign, helping to warm up crowds at rallies and drafting speeches, including the president-elect’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller

Miller, who has described himself as “a practicing Jew,” joined the Trump campaign in January, quickly rising through the ranks to become “one of the most important people in the campaign,” as Trump’s campaign manager told The Wall Street Journal. Previously he worked for seven years as an aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., helping the lawmaker draft materials to kill a bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill. Some of Sessions’ arguments contain similarities to Trump’s harsh and often controversial statements on the issue, such as calling for building a wall on the Mexican border and banning Muslim immigration to the country.
Though Miller grew up in a liberal Jewish home in Southern California, he was drawn to conservative causes early. As a high school student he wrote a letter to the editor of a local paper in which he slammed his school for providing free condoms to students and for making announcements both in English and Spanish, among other things.

Steven Mnuchin

Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, worked as Trump’s national finance chairman during the campaign with the aim of raising more than $1 billion for the candidate.
Trump and Mnuchin have been friends for 15 years, and prior to being in charge of Trump’s campaign finances, Mnuchin served as an adviser. Part of what The New York Times describes as one of Manhattan’s elite “most influential families,” Mnuchin and his father both got rich working at Goldman Sachs. The younger Mnuchin also co-founded the entertainment company RatPac-Dune Entertainment, which has worked on such Hollywood hits as “Avatar” and “Black Swan.”
Some saw Trump teaming up with Mnuchin as unusual, considering that the real-estate mogul had consistently bashed Goldman Sachs. But it didn’t seem to get in the way of a good working relationship — Trump is now reportedly considering Mnuchin for the position of Treasury secretary, according to Politico.

Lewis Eisenberg

Eisenberg, the private equity chief for Granite Capital International Group, serves as finance chairman for the Republican National Committee. He was one of a small group of Republican Jewish Coalition board members who did not flee from Trump’s candidacy, and was a major contributor to groups backing Trump’s election — only nine of 55 RJC board members gave to Trump. Alongside Mnuchin, he worked to raise funds for the candidate.

Lewis Eisenberg

Lewis Eisenberg

Eisenberg grew up in New Jersey, the Forward reported, and he has been floated as a possible pick for commerce secretary in the Trump administration. He was the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Eisenberg told JTA that he was “extremely enthusiastic” about a Trump presidency, calling him “a strong advocate for Israel, a strong advocate for justice and order.”

Michael Glassner

Glassner was not new to Republican presidential campaigns when Trump appointed him last year to serve as his national political director. He worked as director of vice presidential operations for McCain’s 2008 campaign and ran Geogre W. Bush’s campaign in Iowa in 2000. He has also worked with Palin and Sen. Bob Dole, a former presidential candidate.

Michael Glassner

Michael Glassner

Like many of Trump’s Jewish advisers, Glassner is outspoken in his support of Israel. Prior to joining the Trump campaign, he worked as the political director for AIPAC’s Southwest Regional. Glassner has praised the anti-establishment movement,  and he told Jewish Insider that his experience with Palin and the fact that he lives in New Jersey, not Washington, D.C., made him a good fit for Trump’s political outsider message. He also served as a senior adviser to Eisenberg when he was the Port Authority chairman.

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Will Obama launch a lame-duck Israel surprise?

Will Obama launch a lame-duck Israel surprise?

Posted on 10 November 2016 by admin

By Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON – It started several months ago in anxious whispers among pro-Israel leaders. Now it has burst into the open in full-page ads in The New York Times and op-eds in The Wall Street Journal:

President Barack Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office with Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the situation in Turkey, July 15, 2016. Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Avril Haines, Deputy National Security Advisor, listen. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office with Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the situation in Turkey, July 15, 2016. Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Avril Haines, Deputy National Security Advisor, listen. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Does Barack Obama have a lame-duck surprise in store for Israel? Or, as the Zionist Organization of America, one of the president’s fiercest critics, asked in the Times ad: “Will President Obama Betray Israel?”

In other words, will an unfettered Obama take unilateral steps, perhaps through the United Nations, to force his vision of a final-status agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians?

On the eve of the election, the answer is not likely, no matter who prevails. Obama’s anointed successor, Hillary Clinton, has made it clear she really, really does not want to deal with the fallout of any last minute U.S.-Israel tensions.

And even if Donald Trump is elected, Obama has not shown much appetite for another run at Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, especially after the catastrophic demise of the last round.

“Hillary Clinton has made clear her view that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be imposed from the outside, including at the U.N. – and she stands fully behind that position,” Laura Rosenberger, a top adviser to the Clinton campaign, told JTA in an email.

A campaign official added to JTA that Clinton has made her preference – that there be no lame-duck surprise – clear to Obama.

And Obama has made clear, through his fervent campaigning for Clinton in the final weeks of her campaign, that he wants as smooth a transition as possible.

And even if Clinton should lose, Obama has signaled that when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, he’s pretty much done.

In his last meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in New York in September, Obama conceded the issue to Netanyahu, who rejects outside interference in the process, precisely because Netanyahu is in for the long term and Obama is not.

“Obviously, I’m only going be to be president for another few months,” he said at the time. “The prime minister will be there quite a bit longer and our hope will be that in these conversations we get a sense of how Israel sees the next few years, what the opportunities are and what the challenges are in order to assure that we keep alive the possibility of a stable, secure Israel at peace with its neighbors, and a Palestinian homeland that meets the aspirations of their people.”

What’s true, according to Jewish officials who consult with administration and congressional officials, is that administration officials have discussed, since the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in April 2014, moves the administration could take to keep the two-state solution alive. Those options remain on the table, even if the likelihood that Obama will act on them wanes with each passing day.

“Every person I’ve spoken to in the State Department and White House say they have no idea what the president is going to do,” said Michael Koplow, the Washington, D.C.-based policy director for the Israel Policy Forum, a group that backs re-engagement on the peace process. “No decisions have been made.”

The options under consideration, according to reports, go as far as backing a U.N. Security Council resolution that would effectively recognize a state of Palestine, or are as benign as Obama outlining what he sees as the best outcome, in an interview or at a news conference.

One source for the angst currently infecting the centrist and right-wing pro-Israel community is the historical record.

In late 1988, President Ronald Reagan in his lame duck period recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as a favor to his successor, Vice President George H. W. Bush. President Bill Clinton outlined the parameters of a two-state outcome in December 2000 and January 2001, his final days in office, in a bid to salvage his second-term efforts to broker a peace deal.

But neither condition holds in this case: Unlike with Bill Clinton, there is no peace process underway; and unlike the first President Bush, Hillary Clinton doesn’t want the incumbent to do her any Israel-related favors. In the emails stolen from her campaign and posted by WikiLeaks, Clinton’s advisers have hopped with anxiety every time tensions rose between Obama and Netanyahu.

“Every indication we’ve had is that a President Clinton would want to calm things down with the Israelis,” Koplow said.

The anxieties persist, however. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee in September organized a letter signed by 88 senators urging Obama to quash any “one-sided” Security Council resolution on Israel.

The ZOA ad quoted a third-hand account of what the administration may be thinking in an 18-month-old memo from Stuart Eizenstat, an old Israel hand, to the Clinton campaign that was stolen from the account of her campaign manager, John Podesta, and posted on WikiLeaks.

The ad’s more recent citations are of a routine State Department condemnation last month of Israeli settlement building, which included an expression of the longstanding U.S. concern that any U.N. maneuver would be “one-sided.” The spokesman in that case added that the administration would also “carefully consider our future engagement” — the ZOA determined that signaled a major shift.

The ad also quoted, as somehow probative, a New York Times editorial warning that the settlement expansion could lead to “consequences.” The ZOA argument hearkened back to the Cold War era, when presidential administrations would tease out positions through friendly newspapers before making them public.

The ZOA also pointed to the White House transcript of Obama’s eulogy in September at the funeral for former Israeli President Shimon Peres; an early version of the transcript referred to“Jerusalem, Israel” and was later corrected to “Jerusalem.” For decades, U.S. administrations have consistently held that the status of Jerusalem is unresolved.

Jonathan Schanzer, a vice president at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal titled “Obama’s Israel Surprise?” saying that the farthest-reaching possibility for the administration would be to allow through, without veto, a Security Council resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood. That was unlikely, he said, if only because Congress would nix it, perhaps by cutting funding to the United Nations.

“Congress would become unyielding,” he said. “The president would be forced to spike it.”

More likely, he said, are two less consequential actions: a speech by Obama outlining the parameters he sees for a two-state solution, or allowing through a narrow resolution condemning settlement expansion. (That would be a first for the Obama administration, which unlike every administration since 1968 has vetoed all resolutions related to the Israeli-Arab conflict that have been opposed by Israel.)

The settlements resolution might not advance, Schanzer said, because the Obama administration could insist on balancing it with language that would soften it for Israel – condemning Palestinian incitement, for instance – that the Palestinians and their U.N. allies would oppose.

That leaves the parameters speech, which would have the fewest consequences, if any, although it would engender bitterness in Jerusalem.

“The Israelis would likely be unhappy, it would likely call for concessions that they would prefer to be done in negotiations,” Schanzer said. “The drawbacks are minimal because he can speak whenever he likes – and it’s nonbinding.”

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Could Sanders have beaten Donald Trump?

Could Sanders have beaten Donald Trump?

Posted on 10 November 2016 by admin

By Ben Sales

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 9:  Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) attends a campaign rally at Bronx Community College on April 9, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The New York Democratic primary is scheduled for April 19th. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 9: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) attends a campaign rally at Bronx Community College on April 9, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The New York Democratic primary is scheduled for April 19th. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

At the start of his campaign, he was dismissed as a fringe protest candidate, an old man with messy hair whose ideas were too extreme to win a national election. But now that Democratic mainstay Hillary Clinton has lost the election to Donald Trump, it’s worth asking:

Would Bernie Sanders, the 74-year-old Jewish socialist from Vermont, have beaten Donald Trump?

The answer, of course, is we don’t know. The mix of personalities, policies and circumstances would have been different. But Sanders did consistently beat Trump in hypothetical head-to-head matchups, according to the RealClearPolitics average. And he aimed to appeal to the one key group that delivered the election to Trump: white, working-class voters.

Trump slaughtered Clinton in that demographic. Among white voters without a college degree, Trump won 67-28 percent, a 39-point margin that ABC News reported was larger than Ronald Reagan’s 32-percent advantage in his 1984 victory over Walter Mondale. No matter that Clinton won the minority vote; white, blue-collar Americans gave key Midwestern states to Trump, winning him the election.

Several of those same states — Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia — went to Sanders in the primary (though statistical evidence that he carried white blue-collar voters in the primary is scant). Like Trump, Sanders railed against the same free-trade deals that Clinton supported. He talked about saving factory jobs. Trump’s needling of Clinton on her support for NAFTA and TPP, arguably his best moment in the first debate, would have been deflated if he were arguing against a candidate who also opposed those free-trade agreements.

And Sanders’ personal story could have lent credibility to his claims of standing up for working people. Trump accused Clinton, with a net worth of more than $100 million, of being part of an out-of-touch elite. Sanders, on the other hand, used to cook by dousing a roll of toilet paper in lighter fluid and igniting it in an empty coffee can.

But could Sanders have appealed to independents? Trump, who specialized in nicknames like Crooked Hillary, could have had a field day with a man who essentially was the Republican caricature of Democrats: a Jewish hippie socialist from New England. Last year, half of Americans told Gallup they wouldn’t vote for a socialist, the worst result among a variety of identities.

Clinton tried unsuccessfully to make the election a referendum on Trump. But facing Sanders, Trump could have made himself out to be the moderate facing a fringe extremist. Could a socialist have beaten an arch-capitalist in America?

Writing about this question in The Week, Peter Weber noted that Clinton did score points by impugning Trump’s character on his treatment of women and attacks on minorities. Sanders pledged to focus on policy, not personality.

“If this had been a positive, issues-oriented campaign, like Sanders pledged to run, we might not have learned so often or clearly how temperamentally unfit Trump is when faced with the slightest adversity or challenge to his authority,” Weber wrote. “For all the grousing about how ugly a campaign this has been — and it hasn’t been pretty — goading Trump into showing his thin skin was a real service to the republic.”

Finally, there’s the Jewish angle: Currents of anti-Semitism surrounded Trump’s campaign, from an endorsement by the Ku Klux Klan to abuse of journalists, many of them Jewish, on Twitter by self-proclaimed Trump supporters. But while the Jewish media paid attention to this issue, it didn’t receive a ton of play in the general campaign — even when Trump’s closing ad echoed anti-Semitic themes.

Were his opponent Jewish, it may have been harder for Trump to dismiss allegations that he or his supporters trafficked in anti-Semitism. (Trump’s campaign vehemently denied that the candidate was responsible for, or was obligated to disavow, the anti-Semitism heard among some of his supporters.) His closing ad positing a global conspiracy flipped between pictures of Clinton and leading Jewish financial players George Soros, Janet Yellen and Lloyd Blankfein, all Jews. What if, instead of alternating with Clinton’s image, they alternated with a photo of yet another Jewish person?

“If he was going against a Jewish candidate, the anti-Semitic themes and stereotypes that he and his supporters employed in the campaign would have been less tolerable,” said Aaron Keyak, managing director of Bluelight Strategies, a public relations firm that worked with the Clinton campaign and various liberal Jewish groups. “The dog whistle would have been more apparent.”

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Op-ed: Why Trump dominated Jewish coverage of the 2016 campaign

Posted on 10 November 2016 by admin

By Andrew Silow-Carroll

On Monday, one day before Election Day, I received a call from a reader. She identified herself as a Reform Jew, 46, from Chicago. She had praise for JTA and our daily newsletter, but also a complaint: Our emphasis on the Trump campaign, including charges over the weekend that a campaign ad of his was reminiscent of anti-Jewish propaganda, led readers like her to believe that we were clearly biased in favor of Hillary Clinton.

I was able to say in all honestly that our staff had been discussing that very idea moments before she called. On our homepage that morning were 11 stories about the campaign. Four of the stories I would call “neutral” in the sense that they focused on both candidates (one reported on a poll in Israel, another on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying his government won’t intervene in the U.S. elections).

Six stories focused on Trump or his campaign. No story focused exclusively on Clinton or hers.

That suggests something, but not political bias. We try to be an unbiased source of Jewish news, but first and foremost a source of Jewish news. And this sample of our daily coverage demonstrates what we’ve noted throughout the campaign: Trump, his campaign and his minions created the more compelling Jewish story.

Think about it: A Jewish daughter. A Jewish son-in-law who serves as his top adviser. An ever-evolving Middle East policy. A vocal minority of supporters who traffic in the worst kind of anti-Semitic trolling. A campaign staff that either doesn’t understand the ways it courts or comforts those trolls or simply doesn’t care. A strained relationship with Republican Jewish donors and other influentials.

By contrast, Clinton’s Jewish story line is pretty thin and unsurprising. We’ve known for years how she stands on Israel (left of Netanyahu, right of Barack Obama) and Iran (backed the deal, vows to aggressively monitor Iran’s compliance). She kissed Sura Arafat in 1999, but served a fairly uncontroversial term as senator from New York beginning shortly thereafter. She is married to the convener of the Oslo Accords, who is, depending on whom you ask, Israel’s greatest friend or its worst enemy. She and Joe Biden have Jewish children-in-law (whose names you probably don’t even know).

Hillary Clinton may be controversial in other ways, but when it comes to Jewish issues, she is a known quantity. You can write about her stated positions and historical record on Israel on Iran — and we have — but once you do, you’re essentially done. Trump’s brand is chaos, hers is control. Trump’s campaign is the media equivalent of a shofar blast — or 100 in a row. Hillary is the synagogue treasurer, mumbling through the weekly announcements. One makes you pay attention. The other is someone you listen to politely if you’re not already asleep or out the door.

Trump has managed to spotlight Jewish concerns and obsessions, but the spotlight mostly shines on him, the Republican candidate.

This wasn’t the case in the past two elections. When Obama ran against John McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012, there were compelling arguments and story lines on both sides about “Jewish” issues, especially Israel. The Republicans had managed to shape themselves as the more “reliably” pro-Israel party, at least in the eyes of Netanyahu and the groups and individuals who shared his security-first vision. Democrats were more likely to be aligned with an Israeli minority that supported a dormant peace process. That led to a lot of stories about whether the Jews were ripe for a political realignment.

At home, Obama had the Reverend Wright albatross to contend with; McCain shackled himself to Sarah Palin and stalled the inroads that the GOP was making among Jewish voters for at least another four years. Netanyahu made clear that he was no fan of Obama, and Obama treated him in kind, a story line that kept the Jewish media busy before and after Obama’s second-term victory.

These were typical issues that played out in normal ways. Who’s better for Israel? How do you define “better”? Should the pro-Israel lobby abandon its decades-long commitment to bipartisanship? Is Israel the only issue that Jewish voters do or should care about? Would the bubbe and zayde vote tip Florida?

This time around, none of these issues seem to matter. Trump, who blew up the entire notion of a “typical” politician, undermined the old categories — in Jewish journalism and everything else. Who’s to say who is “better” for Israel when Trump himself was barely expressing a foreign policy, had no meaningful track record on the issue and made statements on the region that often were contradictory? Israel barely came up at the three presidential debates, and the Iran stuff seemed like an afterthought. As for the great Jewish political realignment — not this year, anyway. Trump barely made inroads into the Republican Jewish Coalition, let alone among American Jews as a whole.

But Trump managed to make “Jewish” news anyway in ways that Clinton didn’t and probably wouldn’t want to match. At least three times — in retweeting the infamous “Star of David” anti-Hillary meme, in a Florida speech railing against “international bankers” and in this week’s campaign ad doubling down on the global conspiracy theory — Trump raised alarms among Jewish watchdog groups and everyday readers about his intentional or merely careless broadcasting of popular anti-Semitic tropes.

Beyond his control, perhaps, were the self-proclaimed Trump followers on the self-proclaimed “alt-right” attacking Jewish supporters who criticized their candidate with vile anti-Semitic tweets and threats. The guy at the Trump rally shouting “Jew-S-A.” Donald Trump Jr. using an ill-advised “gas chamber” analogy to complain about the media’s double standards. Trump’s stumbling path to a disavowal of former KKK leader David Duke.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were their own fount of Jewish stories, from how they were dealing with the accusations of anti-Semitism to the decision by their rabbi to withdraw from a speaking engagement at the Republican National Convention to the mere fact of their celebrity Jewish marriage at the heart of Trumpland.

Trump also attracted the lion’s share of our attention as journalists for another reason: No one had ever seen anything like him. Week by week, sometimes day by day, Trump would do or say something that in a normal election year would be seen as the campaign’s defining story. Sometimes a Trump outrage would barely be the most interesting or controversial thing he did or said that day. You tuned into Trump news like a fisherman checks the weather reports — the sky is always changing, and there is bound to be a storm.

That’s not to say that Hillary is not a flawed person or politician — but she is in most ways normally flawed. Her secretiveness undermines her, and her own sense of infallibility leads her to ignore what so many other see as reckless conflicts of interest. She rails against special interests one day, gives a top-dollar speech to a bank on another. In most ways that makes her a politician, not a criminal. It was news when the FBI dug into her emails, and it was news when it found no criminal wrongdoing, but it wasn’t exactly Jewish news.

My Chicago caller said she was most concerned about the rise of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on the far left, suggesting that was an area we had undercovered in reporting on the campaign. But we did cover it when Clinton was still in a tough race against Bernie Sanders and the issue was in play. Sanders, while an avowed defender of Israel, also spoke about Palestinian rights in a way attractive to the left wing of the party. The Democratic National Committee allowed him to appoint five people to the platform drafting committee, and three of his picks were frequent critics of Israel.

In the end, however, Clinton defeated Sanders decisively, and the party rejected the main ask of the Sanders people: language calling for Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank and settlement activity. And we covered that battle.

There are some things I wished we had done differently in covering the campaign. We wrote a number of articles about Trump’s appeal (or lack thereof) among Orthodox voters, but too few about Clinton’s appeal (or lack thereof) among the Jewish majority that is bound to vote for her. I would have liked us to do more on the influential “Never Trump” Jewish Republicans and what splits in both parties augur for the future of Israel as a foreign policy issue.

But I don’t regret our focus on Trump and what his ascent has meant to the country as a whole and Jews in particular. Telling that story well was more essential than creating a false “balance” between two very different candidates.

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At Jewish colleges, student voters take a dim view of 2016 campaign

Posted on 10 November 2016 by admin

By Ben Sales

NEW YORK – Jacob Silberstein used one word to describe the first presidential campaign he’s experienced as a voter: “underwhelming.”

Like many of his classmates at List College, a joint program here between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Silberstein voted for Hillary Clinton. He liked the Democratic candidate’s advocacy of gay rights and women’s rights, as well as her foreign policy stances.

But in a year when political pundits are wringing their hands over the nastiness of the campaign, Silberstein said he’s not surprised. And in any case, he said, congressional inaction will most likely frustrate either of the White House hopefuls’ plans.

“There’s this incredible fear [that] there’s this incredibly bigoted businessman with no experience in politics versus this career politician who’s a female,” said Silberstein, 21, of Tenafly, New Jersey. “This is the craziest thing they’ve ever seen. [But] you can go back to Thomas Jefferson’s time and he posted things in the newspaper that called his opponent infertile. It might have been more classy, but it was just as bad.”

(According to CNN, Jefferson’s 1800 campaign called John Adams “hermaphroditical.”)

Like many Jews this year, first-time voters at List, a Conservative Jewish institution, and Yeshiva University, the flagship institution of modern Orthodoxy, took a dim view of the 2016 campaign. Speaking to a reporter on Election Day, they repeated a now familiar assessment that the choice is between the lesser of two evils, and sounded concerned over the state of discourse in the country and in the Jewish community.

“In this election it’s really confusing for everyone in both parties because I don’t think either candidate is up to par with what it should be,” said Yeshiva student Isaac Beletskiy, 21, from Maryland, who supports Trump.

“I don’t get good vibes from Hillary,” he added. “The way [Trump] represents himself, people aren’t comfortable and used to it. So you don’t just say, ‘I support Trump.’”

Shlomo, 19, a Yeshiva junior from Scarsdale who declined to give his last name, said some of his friends aren’t voting because they didn’t trust either candidate. Shlomo cast his ballot for Clinton and tried to convince his Trump-voting classmates to switch sides. In the end, he said, they usually agreed to disagree.

“Most of my friends are not voting, which I understand, because Hillary is a corrupt person,” he said. “She’s taken a lot of money from people. A lot of things, I understand, are bad about her.”

Some young voters said the Jewish community bought into the divisive rhetoric that has characterized the campaign.

Shira Botzum, 20, a List student from Pennsylvania, noted that her state is politically split between the urban areas of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and the smaller towns in the center. That divide, she said, is one “we need to come to terms with a little more.”

Within the Jewish community, Botzum believes voters need to take a more complex view of how candidates reflect Jewish values rather than relying on a simplistic judgment of which is more pro-Israel.

“Most of adult American Jewry is too quick to sort of take the ‘Republicans are pro-Israel, Democrats are not’ route without examining the facts a little more,” she said. “I think a lot of people I know who are voting for Trump because of reasons like that make me disappointed in our community.”

Not all voters are pessimistic. Ruti Regan, 31, a rabbinical student at JTS, has voted in previous elections. But while others said this campaign has taken discussion to a new low, Regan said it left her feeling more inspired than ever. The Clinton campaign, she said, emphasized inclusion of the country’s disadvantaged groups – something she has seen reflected in her day-to-day interactions since the campaign began.

“I think that there’s been a shift in how much it seems legitimate to care about people,” Regan said. “There’s been things that I never thought I’d see from a mainstream politician, and I never thought I’d see as campaign issues, like the extent to which people think that it matters how women are treated, it matters how people with disabilities are treated. It’s important to reach out to every community, and if you say ‘we,’ you have to mean everyone.”

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Trump elected 45th president of the United States, GOP keeps Congress

Trump elected 45th president of the United States, GOP keeps Congress

Posted on 09 November 2016 by admin

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09:  Republican president-elect Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 09: Republican president-elect Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


WASHINGTON — Donald Trump will be the next U.S. president, having swept to victory in at least 29 states with 288 electoral votes and jolted a Jewish community made increasingly anxious as his rough-edged nativist rhetoric emboldened the far right and amplified a strain of anti-Semitic invective not heard in decades.
Trump called on all Americans to “heal the wounds of our nation” and “come together as one united people” in his victory speech shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday at the New York Hilton Midtown, blocks from his iconic Trump Tower. He was surrounded by family, including his Jewish daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, who helped guide his unlikely path to victory.

Republicans were projected to maintain their majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, making Trump’s victory a sweep for his party.

In polling by Edison Research for the National Election Pool, 71 percent of Jews voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton and 21 percent for Trump. The sample size was small, however, and that result is likely to be fine-tuned as more data becomes available.

In his victory speech, the real estate developer turned reality star turned insurgent politician asserted he would be a “president for all Americans.”

“We will deal fairly with everyone — all people and all countries,” he said.

Trump said he had congratulated his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and her family on a “very hard-fought campaign,” and told his supporters “We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.”

The mainstream pro-Israel community will likely take solace from Trump’s pivot away from his cool stance on many of its issues during the primaries to a more full-throated support of defense assistance to Israel and investing in the defense alliance. As the Republican nominee, Trump aligned with right-wing Israel advocacy in supporting a retreat from U.S. insistence on a two-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pledging to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Other Jewish groups will be rattled by the election as the world’s most powerful leader of a man who appealed to an anti-immigrant strain among voters. Critics noted that in speeches and in a campaign commercial, Trump embraced the notion of a secretive power cabal that to many observers echoed classic anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews.

Trump’s insular posture on foreign policy was also likely to stoke concerns, despite his pro-Israel pronouncements, particularly his apparent closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is allied with the Assad regime in Syria, an implacable enemy of Israel.

Clinton’s campaign director, John Podesta, shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday indicated to her supporters that she would not speak until later in the day, saying, “Go home, get some sleep. We will have more to say tomorrow.”

CNN reported at 2:40 a.m. that Clinton called Trump to concede.

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