By Chaim Deutsch
A Democratic New York City Councilman, penning an opinion column praising President Donald Trump? Yes – you read that right. While you recover from the shock, let me explain.
I’m the son of Holocaust survivors. My parents were merely children when they had their whole world ripped apart. My father survived three concentration camps and two death marches; my mother’s family hid underground, in a tunnel they dug by hand.
Having your neighbors and your countrymen turn on you is no small thing, it creates a seed of distrust and fear that takes root in your soul. It makes you unable to ever feel security in the place where you live.
Israel is the answer to that fear, the answer to the Holocaust. A generation of Jews built a homeland, so that no Jew would ever be forced to endure another Holocaust.
Over the years since 1948, Jews who faced persecution in various countries around the world fled to Israel. Many European Jews are making that move now. Some of my Brooklyn neighbors are exploring the idea, as antisemitism in New York City grows.
For most Jews who live outside of Israel, support for the State lies in our collective memory of the Holocaust. We want to ensure a safe Israel because we know that if all of our neighbors betray us again, we will have a place to call home – and that’s why Donald Trump has the support of a vast majority of Orthodox Jews. Indeed, that has proven to be a prescient position.
In the three and a half years that he’s been in office, President Trump has arguably advanced Israel’s position in the world further than the last two presidents combined.
When Trump moved the United States’ embassy to Jerusalem, he wasn’t just keeping his own campaign promise, he was keeping the promises of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. He alone had the gumption to actually do it. He was roundly criticized at the time by the world media, but their promises of death and destruction proved unfounded.
President Trump also withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the Iran deal. An existential threat to the future of Israel, the Iran deal empowered regional enemies that have affirmed their desire to “wipe Israel off the map”. Trump’s bold action on this danger surely made Israel a safer place.
Trump’s rhetoric during the last several years, as well as his national security and diplomatic appointments, have been emphatically strong on support for Israel’s security. Former Ambassador Nikki Haley has become a folk hero of sorts within pro-Israel circles, for her consistent defense of Israel in the United Nations.
All of this brings us to last Thursday, when the Trump Administration announced a groundbreaking peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). After years of telling us that Trump was doing more harm than good with his strong pro-Israel stance, I would imagine that many foreign policy ‘experts’ were eating their hats when the news broke.
The UAE deserves praise for taking a step forward where other nations were afraid, and their courage will surely open the door for future peace agreements between Israel and Arab countries.
But let us not lose sight of the groundbreaking achievement by the Trump administration. It is clear that they are approaching peace in the Middle East with a distinctive outlook. Instead of demanding concessions and coming to the negotiating table hat in hand, Trump brokered a deal that will apply pressure to the Palestinians from their own Arab neighbors.
As a life-long Democrat, even I can acknowledge that President Trump has brought a unique set of skills to the job. In many ways, his lack of political experience has been an obstacle. But the lesson of the week is this – that inexperience can also be a virtue.