December 12, 2016

Trump and Jews: Vigilant Optimism

Trump and Jews: Vigilant Optimism

There are worrying signs but we should judge President-elect Trump on his time in office, says Jack Rosen, President of the American Jewish Congress.

As Julius Caesar once said: “It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.” Today, we all make decisions quickly, snap judgements in the heat of the moment based on our biases and instincts, and not necessarily on the full facts. Waiting, giving ourselves that chance to assess a new reality, is as difficult as ever.

We have witnessed one of the bloodiest elections in living memory. Many things were said in the heat of battle, many inappropriate, some shocking, others outrageous. President-elect Donald Trump and his team must be held to account for some of his comments, but we also owe it to our country to take our time and see future actions before rushing to judgement.

Within days, we have already seen President-elect Trump change his mind from some of his most hardline proposals. The idea that he would look to prosecute Hillary Clinton seemed far-fetched at the time and so it has proven. There have also been re-assessments when it comes to policy areas such as Obamacare, NATO and others. It may be hard, but it is in all our interests to give Donald Trump a chance before writing him off, along with his administration and by extension our democracy.

However, we can’t duck the fact that Jews in the U.S. are wary of the President-elect. A wave of anti-Semitism has seeped into the public consciousness and has infiltrated both sides of the political debate. Whilst this type of abuse is common across parts of Europe, we have been privileged to live in a society where Jewish people haven’t just been accepted but have also been embraced. But, this election shows that people are rejecting mainstream political ideas. The rise in anti-Semitic incidents cannot be treated as a coincidence and must be taken seriously.

We all know that there are significant challenges posed by Trump’s election to the Jewish community. His pre-election commercial, which referred to “those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interest,” had worrying anti-Semitic overtones. This was present during the campaign and became more intense in the last few weeks. Further concerns have been raised about the President-elect’s appointment of Stephen Bannon as chief strategist. But we would be wrong to jump to conclusions, and the administration’s actions over the next few months will give us a clear idea as to how they intend to behave in office.

That is not just a Republican problem, Democratic Representative Keith Ellison, who is widely considered a frontrunner to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee, formerly defended Minister Louis Farrakhan, a spokesman for the religious group Nation of Islam which espouses anti-Semitism. As the public look for change, fringe voices are going to become part of the mainstream.

The early signs are that the President-elect will tackle the problem. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has already leapt to Trump’s defence and pointed to 25 occasions where he has denounced the KKK. We need to be prepared, if Trump’s administration, or any political leader, does not take steps to quash anti-Semitism, we need to call them out and hold them to account.

Our society has seen waves of immigrants from all over the world, living together, side by side, with people of other backgrounds and faith. I fully expect President-elect Trump as a New Yorker to not only realize this, but to embrace it. He has lived in the most diverse city on earth all his life. He has become a part of its culture and is aware of how our society works. I could not imagine that he would not want to take that inclusivity forward and ensure it is part of his administration.

Trump’s pre-election promises about Israel signify that he will take a very different approach to the country than the current Obama administration. He has promised to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and seems set on creating stronger ties with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. When I met with the Israeli leader last week, we recognized both countries are at the forefront of innovation and technology.

An ever closer bond between the two countries will be beneficial to both parties. On Iran, Trump has made it clear that he is willing to challenge the nuclear agreement that is currently a direct threat to both the USA and Israel. While we cannot ignore domestic issues, making progress in the Middle East could set a positive tone for Trump’s relationship with the Jewish community.

We cannot be complacent. There are worrying signs. However, we should judge our new president on his actions in Office and not on the tone of his campaign. The jury is still out as to what his long-term relationship with the Jewish community will be, but I choose to look forward with optimism rather than knee-jerk criticism.

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Jack Rosen
Jack Rosen is the Chairman of the American Jewish Congress, an association of Jewish Americans who are committed to ensuring the survival and security of Israel, and protecting Jewish communities around the world. Mr Rosen also founded the Council for World Jewry, an organization within the framework of the AJC. Rosen is very active in government and political affairs, as well as a number of public interest organizations. He and is also Chief Executive of a New York Real Estate firm, Rosen Partners LLC.
  • Nockian

    No article ? Maybe it’s spread to comment central ?

    Central banks don’t work any better than any other kind of soviet style producer. They produce too many tractors when we need more ploughs. This is because banking isn’t independent, it isn’t laissez faire capitalism that is being practised, but the soviet style economics of central planning. It is not, per se, the fault of the central banks, anymore than it was the fault of the Russian tractor factories for under/ over producing as a result of state diktat. Unfortunately we have a mixed economy, which is 50% socialistic and has been expanding for several decades-most of us now give over 60% of our earnings to government directly (it’s probably a bit more depending on inflation and inflexible tax bands).

    The answer is to get the state out of commerce, then the central banks will either survive or collapse within a laissez faire banking system, but first we must begin to accept the truth, that we cannot continue to sustain such a gargantuan welfare system and its associated government. If we want to produce more, we need to be taxed less, we must save not spend.

  • ratcatcher11

    If everyone saved and did not spend there would be a massive worldwide slump, so it is obvious there has to be spending. Making things for sale is thus important, services alone cannot sustain an economy. One of the biggest problems is Keynsian economics that are basically tax, print and spend socialist policies. We do not need the government to build a railway we need a private company to build the railway which will compete with air travel fairly, not by taxing air travel to make it it less profitable. Thus the governments air taxes should be scrapped and private companies encouraged to re open rail lines closed by Beeching. This is the development we need not government spending 90 billion of money on an HS2 line built from somewhere to nowhere and never stops to pick up passengers.

  • Debs

    Expansion of economies cannot go on forever no matter what so called monetary policy is. You dont need to be an economics expert to realise it.

    All I know is governments and banks seem to be constantly coming up with schemes to leave we the lowly tax payer with less of our money.Forget about the trumpeted tax cuts ,everything else is going up accordingly except real wages of course. Dont even mention the Green scam or the cheap labour scam.

    Bail ins and cashless society are two more scams I have seen trailed in various media outlets over the past few years. Gradually our hard earned money is being prised away from us to fritter away on who knows what.

    They wonder why Trump got elected.

  • Nockian

    The market will raise rates eventually, regardless of wether the central bank wishes it or not. The problem is that we have all become mesmerised at central bank control, when, in reality, at this stage they have little at all. They cannot raise rates to normal, because, firstly, we don’t know what normal looks like (it could already be normal) and secondly any increases will create an avalanche effect-let’s face it, no one but the wealthiest wants to bring down countries governments through a collapse in public spending leading to actual anarchy on our streets.

    The bogey man of fractional reserve is a myth that has permeated libertarian consciousness, in a free market banks would have to take risk or they would, by any definition, not be free market. Banks are not currently lending to private individuals because capital requirements are already so high-they have become zombified businesses that look like they function, but are like the shops we set up as kids with funny money and plastic fruit. The market is broken as far as banks are concerned, they are no longer part of it.

    Fixing the problem cannot begin by looking at the central bank, nor the main banks. It’s far too late to consider than anything can be done at this stage, we are so far beyond normal that we aren’t looking at a functioning banking system at all. It would be like bleeding the radiators to solve a broken boiler.

    The problem we have is at its heart a simple one. It’s the problem that labour refused to accept when the banks blew up. We have an unsustainable welfare system and an over sized government. We have to tackle our public spending first of all and I see little sign that any current, nor perspective government is prepared to give the public the awful news about the reality.

    Even the great Tory saviours have flunked out of the monetary boiler rooms. The situation is dire, there is no fuel left, we have been ripping up the ships timbers to maintain the illusion of tranquil sailing progress, but eventually the ship will sink for lack of substance. There is no monetary policy that can save us, all we are going to get is an ever growing war on cash, savers and anyone who tries to make a profit. We are going to end up in the late stages of a soviet style melt down whilst spinning mirrors to pretend it isn’t happening.

    We all know what’s going on, we can offer solutions, make sympathetic noises and talk up any temporary progress, but the reality of the situation is now apparent. We have to do what every debtor must eventually conclude; that our spending has unfortunaly exceeded our earning capacity and all those red letters mean some drastic rethinking is required. We are going to reach the end of the road, not by a sudden explosion, but the drift into monetary authoritarianism which will result in ever greater protectionism and falling living standards. We are in great danger of losing the West to the East and ending up as country cousins of a world of declining freedoms and the rise mysticism.

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