by Naomi Ragen
Why Donald Trump is the best option for Israel—and America.
Yes, I’m voting for Donald Trump. And I’m proud of it.
If anyone had told me two years ago that I’d be making that statement, I would have done a Jon Stewart eye roll and stare. What? The guy from reality TV? The “You’re fired” guy with the funny hair and New York accent? That guy?!
But things have happened in the last few years that have made me—and many pro-Israel Americans in both countries—decide that this is not only our best but our only choice.
First of all, there is President Barack Hussein Obama. As columnist Charles Krauthammer said in the 2012 video Daylight: The Story of Obama and Israel: “This president has done more to delegitimize and undermine Israel’s position in the world than any other president.”
Even without Obama’s toxic embrace, Hillary Clinton’s own history is damning. As she bragged to her online followers: “As Secretary of State, Hillary led the international negotiations that paved the way for the Iran deal.” Multiple outlets reported in March that Iran had test-fired two ballistic missiles bearing the phrase “Israel must be wiped out.” Clinton, conveniently no longer secretary of state, uselessly suggested sanctions. Of course, Obama did nothing. Are you surprised? Was she surprised?
I continue to wonder why American Jews—who often declare, “Never again!”—don’t seem to grasp the enormity of Clinton’s responsibility for the creation of this existential threat to six of the world’s remaining 16 million Jews. She and her fans, many of them American Jews, still believe Jewish votes are her due and expect them to sweep her into the White House, where she can carry on where Obama has left off.
How can I be sure Donald Trump will be better for Israel? I can’t. But at least he gives me hope. I fully admit that, as an American who lives in Israel, I personally loathe and distrust Hillary Clinton. Among my many reasons is her willingness to sell arms to Israel’s enemies: As reported by the International Business Times, during Clinton’s tenure, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales, some of it over Israel’s vociferous objections. This includes the 2011 sale of $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. This ramp-up has continued after her departure and may have multiple causes, but most worryingly, “…governments and corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton’s State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation,” the IBT says.
Israel doesn’t have a slush fund to compete with either Saudi Arabia or Qatar. Whatever you say about Trump, he isn’t in this for either wealth or fame, both of which he has in abundant supply.
Most of all, when I look at these two candidates I see a clear choice between a successful entrepreneur and a corrupt politician; a family man honest about his failings and a hypocrite involved in a sham marriage. A person with a vision (agree with it or not) for America, and someone willing to endanger her entire country’s national security with a private email server simply to hide the truth about her words, actions and beliefs. Moreover, the cynical manipulation of the Democratic National Committee to gain unfair advantage over her opponent reveals an endemic propensity for deceit. She would have won fair and square. But that’s just not her way.
Even if you don’t believe everything in the anti-Clinton exposé by Peter Schweizer, Clinton Cash, there are just too many coincidences: “Who else in American politics would be so audacious as to have one spouse accept money from foreign governments and businesses while the other charted American foreign policy?” Schweizer asks. Until the Clintons can come up with a convincing counter-narrative—which they haven’t so far—and given their conduct in amassing great wealth since leaving the White House “broke” in 2001, every American should shudder at the possibility of their returning to power.
Trump, on the other hand, has given me no reason to believe he is in this fight for the money. He did little serious fundraising in the primaries. I believe that Donald Trump is sincere in the vision he has for America, and that he will do his best to achieve it.
Some people find that vision appalling. But I have a different take.
Take border walls. As an Israeli whose family almost died in the 2002 Passover massacre in Netanya, a direct result of the disastrous Oslo “peace accords” pushed by Bill Clinton, I can testify to the wonderful power of walls. When we began building ours in 2003—over universal condemnation—our casualties from suicide bombings, from a peak of 220 dead in 2002 and 142 in 2003, dwindled until in 2015 there were… none.
Radical Islamists have taken the worst in their religion and made it their creed, infecting some of their coreligionists with an ideology that turns them into rabid killers. This virulent ideology can strike at anyone, any time. What is wrong, then, with advocating a careful vetting of all those from affected areas? Likewise, what is wrong with stopping the illegal arrival en masse of Mexican criminals who are not vetted at all?
Clinton’s promise to continue Obama’s mass amnesty plans, along with her even vaguer plans to “protect our borders,” is simply irresponsible. Given power, she will do to America what Angela Merkel has done to Europe, destroying its people’s peace and security and leaving them helpless to barbarous daily attacks by a mass of people who appreciate neither generosity nor kindness.
Would I have preferred that another candidate—one with better hair, a more neutral accent and no reality TV on his résumé—espouse Trump’s agenda? You bet! But as it is, as an adult, I have no choice but to deal with reality. And the reality I see is that Trump is the best bet in this particular election for those who love both Israel and America.
Naomi Ragen is a novelist living in Jerusalem.