Despite the outrage, there was really nothing shocking about events surrounding Israel since last Friday. Speculation that Barack Obama would betray Israel on his way out the door has been buzzing for weeks. The U.N. resolution against Israel was been out there for a while. Donald Trump’s support of Israel has been clear once he got his talking points straight around the middle of the year.
Now, everyone’s watching both the President and the President-elect to see what they’ll do in the last four weeks of Obama’s reign. Does Obama have more up his sleeve? Will Trump continue to Tweet his way through pre-inauguration foreign affairs? Everyone is also watching Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. He’s accused Obama of treachery. He’s called for help from Trump. He’s downgraded diplomatic ties with every member of the U.N. Security Council other than the United States.
The question that some are asking is whether or not Israel can avoid more damage from the U.N. before Trump gets into office. A question that isn’t being asked is whether or not Trump will continue to support Israel throughout his term(s) as President.
It’s a valid question.
Let’s be clear about two things: Trump’s actions towards Israel since winning the election have been solid and Trump has been known to change his perspectives at will. I’ll continue to credit him as long as he’s the true ally Israel needs, but that doesn’t mean that I will take his support for granted. Neither should Israel. Trump had been an avid fan of partial-birth abortion, assault rifle bans, and Democrats before changing. He financially and verbally supported both Clintons and their roles in government. He had been very friendly with Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney, and John McCain before turning on them abruptly.
Most importantly, he said less than a year ago that he wanted to remain “neutral” regarding Israel and Palestine.
This isn’t an attempt to dredge up dirt on Trump that most people already know. It’s simply intended to justify why I’m calling for everyone involved, particularly Israel itself, to not assume that Trump will be this great friend to the Jewish nation forever. He’s a deal maker who’s been saying for over a decade that the toughest deal to make in the world is lasting peace in the Middle East. If one of his goals is to solidify his place in history, there are two ways to do that: build a wall and bring peace to the Middle East. He has one of them already being considered a given with his administration. The second would be the coup de grace that chisels his name up there with the great leaders of the world for all time.
My fear isn’t that he’ll act against Israel wittingly. With so many ignorant yet loud perspectives saying that a two-state solution is necessary for peace, Trump may start to listen to some of them. He is malleable to the extreme and there are few drumbeats in the world louder than the two-state solution drumbeat.
I’m hopeful about Trump’s current stance with Israel, but his word is not as firm as one might expect from a President. We need to expect Trump to maintain his support but we must also be watchful for any deviations that start to creep in. If they do, we must be vocally opposed in order to get him back on the right track.