Last week, I wrote about the attack by those on the left against Israel and their engagement in anti-Semitic conduct. This week, I will address those on the right whose beliefs could be dangerous. There are the white nationalists whom we are all aware of. They famously marched in Charlottesville with torches, chanting, “Jews will not replace us.” It reminded me of the Nazi marches in the 1930s. What I am more concerned about is the America First crowd, which are part of MAGA. There have always been individuals who are against using American funds to support foreign countries. The most notable has been Senator Rand Paul. What has been slowly occurring is that it is spreading. Now a candidate for president, Vivek Ramaswamy, who has taken up this approach. I worry that funding for Israel could be at risk.
If you think I’m being alarmist, look at what’s happened to Ukraine. When Ukraine was attacked by Russia, there was almost universal support for providing weapons and economic funding for Ukraine. People understood that this was an unprovoked attack by an enemy of the United States.
Without America’s involvement, Russia would win very easily. If America did not stand up, that could lead to further consequences such as Russia attacking a NATO member, which would require America to put troops in combat. It was also understood that if the United States did nothing, it would send a message to China that it could invade Taiwan without risk of an American response. It was also in America’s interest to have a weak Russia so it would not be involved in actions which would be detrimental to America’s interest.
None of these reasons have changed over time. Yet the American people’s support for additional aid, and the support in Congress for continued support, has lessened. In Congress, it is the far left and the MAGA crowd who are against continuing support. Those on the far left don’t want America to send weapons that kill people. Those on the far right say that we need to spend our money to deal with domestic problems. We don’t have money with a big deficit to spend on foreign wars. The new speaker in the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, voted against the last funding request.
Right now, there is strong bi-partisan support for military support to be provided to Israel. If the war drags on, that could change. There are those on the left who will argue that the war is causing needless suffering to those living in Gaza. I expect that there are those on the right who will argue that we need to spend the money to deal with our own problems, and spending on Israel will increase the deficit. They may argue that there is less of a reason to provide support for Israel than for Ukraine. Unlike Ukraine, Israel can survive without the additional aid. There is no fear that Hamas will spread into additional countries that America is required to defend (e.g., A NATO member). China would not look at America’s failure to provide funding to Israel as a green light to invade Taiwan. There are counterarguments that we can make, such as that Israel is an important ally in the Middle East and the only democracy in the region. Israel has also been a counterweight to Iran’s expansionist goals in the region.
I expect the Trumpians to say that there is no need to worry since Donald Trump is a strong supporter of Israel. However, he was not very supportive of aid to Ukraine. The reasons why MAGA and Trump have not supported aid to Ukraine would also apply to Israel. Trump’s comments attacking the Israeli Prime Minister and praising Hezbollah right after the Hamas massacre shows that he can be petty and vindictive. He may not support giving additional funds to help Israel as payback for Netanyahu congratulating Biden winning the election.
The bottom line is that we live in dangerous times, even in America. The ADL reported between October 7 and October 23, there were 312 anti-Semitic incidents, 190 connected to the current war. This includes 109 rallies where there was exhibited support of Hamas or violence against Jews in Israel. In 2022 there were only 64 antisemitic incidents and only 4 related to Israel. There was also a nearly 1000% increase in the daily average of violent messages mentioning Jews or Israel in white supremacists and right-wing extremist channels on the Telegram platform.
We should not take anything for granted. I call on my MAGA critics: Instead of spending your time trashing the president, who has been a strong supporter of Israel, use their energy to shore up United States support for Israel with the MAGA base and MAGA-elected officials to make sure that Israel, today and in the future, receives the necessary funding it deserves.