Trump’s speeches, and what has happened since, remind us once again about the marginality of Jews.
Some may feel comfortable, and justly, given his realism about Jerusalem the Western Wall, and non-Israeli sources of problems throughout the Middle East.
But Muslims, and Europeans, are rabid, or upset about what he has unleashed.
It’s nothing new. There are signs in the histories told by the Hebrew Bible, Josephus, and much that has occurred since then.
It’s probably inevitable in the case of a small nation, divided geographically since ancient times, with a culture that accepts fierce argument, with claims of being at the center of God’s mission.
We’ve learned to cope, and to succeed. Marginality does not require submission and being satisfied. If we cry, we are doing it on the way to our banks and investment advisers, also likely to be Jews.
There is no need to recite the well known record of the Jews, both in ancient and modern times, in suffering, accomplishments, and contributions.
For some decades, most if not all countries of the world have recognized that Jerusalem is the operational capital of Israel. Now the President of the United States, Russia, and a few others have said it out loud, but all of them with limitations and reservations. And the most important others have been insistent that it isn’t time to make such an announcement, and won’t be until they are satisfied about key diplomatic accomplishments that are elusive to the point of being impossible.
We are not, as we have never been, accepted as full citizens of the world with all the rights and privileges of others.
But we are more secure than our adversaries, and living better than most of those who deny us full membership.
The condition isn’t all that different from getting into elite colleges through the 1950s, with quotas and Jew spotters in the admissions offices, then being told that fraternities could have us eating in their dining rooms but not as full members.
Now Jewish students have to maneuver through faculty members and students who see Jews and Israel as undesirables.
The greater portion of our pity should go to our adversaries. The hyperbolic responses to Trump’s well crafted and balanced speeches has included not only outspoken rants by heads of Muslim countries that deal quietly with Israel, but Palestinian outbursts that qualify as declarations of war against Israel and the United States, with a virtual ending of any prospects for a peace process.
Declaring the US Vice President persona non grata? Perhaps the Palestinians have some powers we have not been able to perceive or imagine.
Israeli rightists, along with a fair number of us in the center and left are cheering. We can look forward to respite from the pressure to come up with something that will bring the Palestinians to the table.
Estimates are that Palestinians, Jordanians, and others are playing to their mobs, and don’t want to upset their regimes by any serious moves against Israel.
Perhaps, but the rhetoric will incite individuals to seek martyrdom along with pensions for their families by taking a knife and going forward to kill a Jew. Gazan extremists have been sending missiles to southern Israel. So far none have created significant damage or injuries. A fair number haven’t made it out of Gaza. The IDF has responded in its usual limited fashion, in hopes of avoiding escalation. But from both the West Bank and Gaza there is potential for yet another round of military operations that hurt us both, but them much more in terms of casualties and rubble.
It doesn’t help to calm Palestinians on the margin of violence when their leaders describe as “cold blooded murder of a brave freedom fighter” the shooting death of a man who attacked a policeman with a knife.
Even some confirmed leftists questioned the wisdom of Abbas’ comments at a conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.