By Emily Cohen
At the White House Chanukah Party on Wednesday, December 11, President Donald Trump hosted Chabad rabbis and rubbed elbows with Jewish-American patriots like Alan Dershowitz, Robert Kraft, Rosalee Glass (a 102-year-old Holocaust survivor), Israel’s Ambassador Ron Dermer, and Jewish members of Congress.
During Trump’s remarks, another guest, Fox News host Mark Levin, cut in to sing the President’s praises:
“It’s an honor to be here with the first Jewish President of the United States,” he quipped. “And if he isn’t, he should be.”
He continued, speaking with great emotion. “I want to thank you. I want to thank you for everything you have done for the Jewish people. I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland. You are going to be remembered there for a thousand years. And I want to thank you for what you’ve done for the United States of America. And I want you to know that we will not leave our general on the battlefield without our support, period. G-d bless you.”
The room erupted in applause.
It wasn’t just because the room was filled with Trump supporters.
Trump has represented Jewish values and the Jewish community at a time when Judaism is under attack; he knows Israel has been at the forefront of his policy platform; and he shows a natural, and adopted, bond with the Jewish people.
In time for Chanukah, here are just eight of the reasons why Trump is, or should be, our first Jewish President.
- He’s Israel’s Best Friend
Since the start of his campaign, President Trump has held firm on his total support for Israel. “When I become president,” he promised, “the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one.” He has kept that promise.
Though he accepts a two-state solution, Trump has saved Israel from conceding even more territory and power than it has had to in the past, even under pro-Israel presidents like Bush II. Instead, he has rightly put the onus on Palestinian leaders to ratchet down their terrorist tactics and offer compromises of their own. “Palestinians must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish state and it will forever exist as a Jewish state.”
And Trump refuses to mince words when describing the murderous, terrorist threat Israel faces from its neighbors. “Half of the population of Palestine has been taken over by ISIS and Hamas, and the other half refuses to confront the first half.”
Thanks to his close relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his friendships with vocal pro-Israel activists like Sheldon Adelson, as well as his range of ground-breaking policy moves, Trump is well on the way to forging a lasting security and an enduring prosperity for the Jewish homeland.
“The Jewish state has never had a better friend in office than your president,” Trump boasted earlier this month. And he was right.
- He Moved the Embassy
Though his support for Israel has been huge, it is Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem that has made the most symbolic impact for Jews around the world.
When President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017 and vowed to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he brought to fruition a dream over two decades in the making. Thanks to Trump, everyone from secular Israeli citizens to observant Jews the world over can rest in the knowledge that their diplomatic and religious homeland is officially Israeli turf.
Moving the embassy had been featured symbolically on the Republican platform for over two decades when, in 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to make the switch. But no president had dared run afoul of Palestinian threats of violence or the scorn of other world leaders, who rejected the idea of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. So president after president issued “waivers” saying, essentially, “G-d willing, maybe next year in Jerusalem,” and refused to move the embassy or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Trump waved away their hostilities to anoint the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland as the rightful capital of the Jewish state. In signing the Jerusalem Embassy Act, he explained: “Old challenges demand new approaches… Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace… Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”
- He Took On the UN
An enemy of Israel is by definition an enemy to the Jews, and the United Nations has made no secret of its disdain for both. Over its roughly seven-decade reign, this kangaroo court of an international governing body has spent a wildly disproportionate amount of its time, funds, and resources issuing sanctions against Israel, the only Jewish nation in the world. Its joke of a “Human Rights Council,” staffed by egregious human rights violators, spends the majority of its time focused on the only democracy in the Middle East and one of the most liberal and governments in world history. Previous conservative presidents adopted a cool and distant, if respectful approach, to the UN. President Barack Obama heaped praise on the body, in keeping with his pattern of kowtowing to the international community. When anti-Israel UN sanctions came up for a vote in the last months of his presidency and he had the chance to veto them, he instead allowed them to pass, thereby validating the UN’s epically dishonest narrative about Israel. Worst of all, this joke of a world congress is funded largely by US contributions.
Trump made the UN one of his first targets. Upon entering office, he deployed Ambassador Nikki Haley to confront the UN and demand that the preposterous claims and sanctions against Israel be reversed. When the HRC continued cooking up its anti-Semitic resolutions – and in the immediate aftermath of the HRC’s vote on the embassy move – Trump in December 2017 cut $285 million dollars from the UN’s budget. He also threatened more cuts to come, should the UN not change course, and fast.
“The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known. We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked,” warned Haley. “This historic reduction in spending – in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN – is a big step in the right direction.”
On another occasion, he went even further: “The UN is not a friend of democracy, it’s not a friend to freedom, it’s not a friend even to the United States – and it surely is not a friend to Israel… I will veto any attempt by the UN to impose its will on the Jewish state.”
- He Stands Up to the Anti-Semites in Congress and the Media
Perhaps the thing Trump supporters both most love and most hate about the President is his lack of filter. He seems not to care – or not to be able – to control his words or his Tweets.
But a sharp tongue and an unfiltered persona definitely come in handy when you’re dealing with people as nasty as some of the rabid anti-Semites who’ve gained notoriety on the Left in recent years. Notably, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, and Senator Bernie Sanders have been very open about their anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiments, and Trump has refused to mince words in dealing with them.
In July, Trump summed up Omar succinctly: “Hates Jews,” he said at the White House. “It’s very simple… [She] says horrible things about Israel, hates Israel, hates Jews.”
He took on the “Squad” again in August for their anti-Israel rhetoric. “I think they’ve said horrible things, and they’re anti-Semitic,” Trump said. “And if you look at the kind of statements they’ve made about Israel, it’s a disgrace; [it’s] a very dangerous thing.”
He also made similarly unfiltered call-outs to Israel-hostile media outlets like The New York Times and to “activist” leaders of the BDS movement. Trump’s daring and candor in “calling a spade a spade” has empowered other elected officials like Senator Lindsey Graham to call out brazen anti-Semitism wherever they see it.
- He Stands Up for Jewish Students
It’s a dirty little secret that, over the last decade or so, college campuses in the US have become an increasingly hostile place for observant Jewish students. Professors and textbooks advocate openly against the human rights abuses of “Zionism” and the “toxic patriarchy” of Orthodox Judaism; Leftist student groups shout down pro-Israel rallies, and observant Jews face anti-Semitic harassment.
This alarming trend is in step with the greater trend of growing anti-Semitism, which is on the rise in hate crimes across the US, and with the Leftist intersectionality narrative, which paints Jews as a “privileged” class impervious to discrimination.
But schools have the ability to protect Jewish students on campus, and Trump’s recently passed executive order passed on Tuesday, December 10, aims to ensure that they do. For the first time, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which has thus far prohibited discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, will now also cover discrimination against Jews. The new order defines anti-Semitism using the same the language put forth in 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance: Anti-Semitism includes “the targeting of the State of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity,” and the denial of “the Jewish people to their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” or the comparison of “contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” as examples of anti-Semitism.
Schools that don’t go out of their way to protect Jewish students from this and other kinds of discrimination or harassment will lose their federal funding and accreditation.
With this executive order, Trump has made it clear that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, and that neither has a place on college campuses.
“It is a game-changer,” said Alan Dershowitz. “It will go down in history as one of the most important events in the 2,000-year battle against anti-Semitism. You will be remembered by history for all time for having signed this very important order.”
- He’s a Proper Zeide
Never in our nation’s history have there been Jewish grandkids in the president’s entourage – that is, until President Trump.
When Trump’s only daughter Ivanka married Jared Kushner in 2009, she converted from Presbyterianism to Modern Orthodox Judaism and vowed to raise her children in the same tradition. Sure enough, all three of her kids – Arabella, Joseph, and Theodore – are enrolled in yeshivah, and Ivanka and Jared maintain a shomer Shabbos and kosher lifestyle. Though Trump’s seven other grandchildren are Christian, the Kushner kids enjoy a close bond with them and are proud ambassadors of Judaism.
At the White House Chanukah party last week, Trump shared his admiration for Ivanka and her family’s Judaism. “I’m truly grateful to have the Jewish faith woven so deeply into my family,” he said. “May you all have a truly blessed Chanukah.”
We just hope, for the grandkids’ sakes, that he’s generous with his gelt.
- He’s the Quintessential New York Jewish Businessman
At the Israel-American National Council Summit in Miami in early December, Trump caught major flack for “peddling vicious anti-Semitic tropes.”
Speaking to a crowd of over 4,000 Israeli and American Jews, including a number of business bigwigs, he riffed, “A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well. You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all.” The crowd burst into laughter and applause. He continued on: “You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax. ... Yeah, let’s take 100 percent of your wealth away. No, no. Even if you don’t like me, some of you don’t. Some of you I don’t like at all, actually. And you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you’d be out of business in about 15 minutes if they get it.” Again, belly laughter and wild applause. “You have to vote for me. You have no choice. You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that.”
When he called us “brutal killers” – clearly in jest, mind you—we were all beaming, because we, like Trump, wear our business hustle as a badge of honor.
Say what you will about Trump’s actual business prowess – its widely acknowledged that he’s better at branding and self-promotion than he ever was at earning money – he’s still got the “chops” as a New York businessman. There’s a self-made, from the streets, hustling ambition that runs deep in him that Jewish entrepreneurs can relate to – and which he harnesses to guide the policy vision that has brought our economy so much growth.
Born and raised in Queens, he learned the ins and outs of hometown property development from his father, developer Fred Trump. Because he worked hard at his own business, he understands the toughness it takes to deal and the importance of owning your earnings. He knows that, the harder it is to earn a buck, the more you’ll resist having the government tear it from your hands. That’s what he was talking about at IAC, that’s why everyone in the room cheered when he said it, and that’s why they’re supporting him so enthusiastically in the 2020 election – and particularly against all those opponents he aptly named the “Do Nothing Democrats” who want to punish self-made success stories, like Sheldon Adelson and so many other Jewish businessmen.
Trump knows Jewish businessmen because he is one, and his contributions to our economy have been the most successful “deal” of his life.
- He’s Enemy Number One for Jewish Liberals
This reason could stand alone as Trump’s greatest claim to Jewish fame.
That is to say, you know you’re a great tzadik when Jewish Leftists hate you – and Trump is without a doubt their number one “enemy of the people.”
Let’s cast a quick glance at this particular style of Jewish American Trump-hater: Self-hating. Israel-hating. Palestine-sympathizing. Intermarrying. Reform-Judaism-subscribing. New-York-Times-subscribing. They’re generally morally bankrupt people who stand for nothing but the supposed “rights” of those who would destroy them and for the erosion of social norms.
These are the people who’ve been urging women to “shout their abortions” with pride and who support fetal murder to the point of birth, the people who want to let others work and then steal their earnings, the people who are teaching our children that boys can be girls and girls can be boys
Bernie Sanders is a great example. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is another. Sarah Silverman. The list goes on. And let’s not forget the newest VIPs of the “Trumped”-up impeachment charges: Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler.
These people are what I call “JINOs”: Jews In Name Only – hostile to Torah and family values, embracing anything and everything that dissolves halachic standards, taking pride in their secular identities, and seeking to dismantle 300 years of entrepreneurial spirit and capital enterprise in favor of Communist redistribution and rationing.
If ever they wear their Judaism proudly, it’s only to lend credence to their anti-Israel slurs. No wonder Trump so aptly pointed out that some American Jews “don’t love Israel enough.”
These are the people who hate Trump with a passion, who call him the anti-Christ (literally), and who stand against every ideology he seeks to enshrine.
But the good news is that when Jewish Liberal Leftists hate you, you know you’ve done something right. It means you’ve championed Judeo-Christian values and the State of Israel. Trump has run afoul of this group for precisely these positions: namely, for standing up for real Jewish values. And for that, we know just what a tzadik he really is.
And so, on this Chanukah night, we wish a great l’chayim to our first Jewish President, Donald Trump – ad mei’ah v’esrim shanah!