Trump Proves the Most Philo-Semitic President—To America's Benefit | Opinion

Amid great uncertainty, the Trump administration is dedicating critical time and resources to bolstering America's strategic position with respect to the tip of the spear of the global jihadist movement, Iran, by seeking to strengthen Iran's greatest rival and America's greatest friend in the Middle East, Israel.

In so doing, it is putting the finishing touches on the most philo-Semitic term in American history—to the benefit of our national interest.

The proof is in the pudding of an Iran that has found itself checked in its pursuit of regional hegemony, and reduced jihadist violence against America and its interests from Iran and its Islamist partners and proxies alike—all while America has been able to avoid new military entanglements and reduce the size and scope of existing ones.

What presidents do at the end of their terms speaks volumes about their true nature. And when it comes to matters of foreign policy, actions concerning Israel—the West's frontline in a region marked by Islamist tyranny—serve as a vital litmus test on war and peace, and our civilization and its enemies.

In this regard, the contrast between the policies and proclamations of President Trump in the waning days of his first term, and those of President Obama at the end of his second term—both of which involved Israel—could not be more stark. Nor could it be more salient in the event the latter's vice president—poised to reprise much of his boss's agenda, with alumni in tow—soon assumes the Oval Office.

Consider some of the Trump administration's moves in recent weeks.

On November 19, the State Department announced new guidelines mandating that goods produced in areas of Judea and Samaria—the heart of the Jews' biblical homeland, often referred to as the "West Bank"—under Israeli control be labeled "Israel," "Product of Israel" or "Made in Israel" for purposes of export to the United States. This reversed the Obama-Biden administration's re-issuance of guidance in 2016 that explicitly forbade such labeling. As several senators supportive of the Trump administration policy noted, revised guidance was imperative because "a future administration [such as a Biden one] could choose to enforce these [Obama-era] rules and thereby differentiate Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria, making them prime targets for BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement-led] boycotts." President Obama, it should be noted, had signed anti-BDS legislation into law, but refused to administer it with respect to Israeli "settlements" in Judea and Samaria.

The State Department released a related statement declaring it U.S. policy to "combat anti-Semitism everywhere in the world and in whatever form it appears, including all forms of discrimination and hatred rooted in anti-Semitism." The Obama-Biden administration clearly did not share this conviction, given its view of Judea and Samaria. Foggy Bottom resolved to conduct a review of all organizations affiliated with or supportive of the BDS movement in order to ensure that no State Department funds be directed to any such entity, given its view that the global BDS campaign is anti-Semitic because "anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism."

These proclamations coincided with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's most recent trip to Israel, in which he visited a winery in Judea and Samaria, marking the first such high-level U.S. visit. Pompeo also toured the strategically significant Golan Heights, where he reiterated the administration's position in support of Israeli sovereignty over it.

Several weeks prior, the Trump administration had permitted U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem, for the first time, to list their place of birth as "Israel." The Obama administration had litigated against this, right up to the Supreme Court.

The Trump administration thus cemented its positions on Israeli sovereignty, particularly regarding Israel's most cherished territorial possessions—which are under greatest threat from its adversaries, a potential Biden administration and a world that seeks to marginalize and alienate it due to cowardice in the face of, or complicity with, said adversaries.

While affirming its respect for the realities on the ground in Israel, rooted in a view that lasting peace requires recognizing truth, the Trump administration also apparently sought to continue bolstering the growing U.S.-Israel-Arab anti-Iranian partnership. Sec. Pompeo departed Israel for Saudi Arabia, where he is rumored to have participated in, or at least helped broker, a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss Iran and normalization of relations. Supposedly, the meeting did not bear fruit on normalization, with the Saudis hedging, given the prospect of a potential Biden administration. Nevertheless, the U.S.-led effort to build on the Abraham Accords, Sudan-Israel normalization and various sub rosa dealings between Israel and the Islamic world has demonstrated a desire to further solidify Israel's position, as part of a broader bulwark against Iran. The benefits of such a bulwark accrue to an America that can shoulder less of a burden, with Iran checked.

These events come amid intrigue pertaining to the mullocracy. In recent days, Iran's leading nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated. Days prior, it leaked that al Qaeda's number two, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was also killed on the streets of Tehran—a testament to the fact that Iran is the linchpin of the global, Sunni-Shia jihadist movement. News reports also claim that President Trump recently requested options on striking Iranian nuclear facilities.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Kobi Gideon/GPO via getty Images

We do not know what roles, if any, the U.S., Israel or any of their Arab partners may have played in the acts taken to-date, the veracity of rumors regarding potential future actions, or the motives behind the leaks. But what is clear is that the Trump administration is doing what it can, where it can, to protect America and its interests from a wounded Iran—which is licking its chops at a potential Biden presidency that could rescue it—in its support of Israel.

Consider, on the other hand, that the Obama-Biden administration spent its waning days seeking to land a knockout blow against Israel. It abstained from United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2334, in contravention of longstanding U.S. policy to veto such measures. As per the associated United Nations (U.N.) press release, UNSCR 2334 claimed "Israel's Settlements Have No Legal Validity" and "Constitute [a] Flagrant Violation of International Law." It cast Israel as an "occupying power." It deemed illegitimate Israel's construction on its own land, and treated lands surrendered by those who sought to destroy Israel, including East Jerusalem, "Palestinian territory." It threatened Israel's right to its holiest sites in Jerusalem. It opened the door to lawfare in international courts against the Jewish state, and paved the way for increased BDS activity. It overturned the U.N. resolution stipulating that in a future peace negotiation, Israel would only cede some portion of lands claimed in response to the 1967 invasion, consistent with its security needs.

As Newsweek columnist Caroline Glick summarized it: "Resolution 2334 serve[d] to criminalize Israel and its people and to undermine Israel's right to exist, while embracing Palestinian terrorists and empowering them in their war to annihilate Israel."

Unbeknownst to observers at the time, the Obama-Biden administration allegedly did more than merely abstain. In March 2019, The New York Times reported that according to an anonymous former administration official, the White House had cynically pushed for the resolution not to be brought before the UNSC prior to the 2016 presidential election, in order to protect Hillary Clinton. Others asserted that the Obama-Biden administration played a much bigger role in the drafting, lobbying and bringing of the resolution to the floor. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was adamant that the Obama-Biden team led the effort to see it passed.

This was the capstone for an Obama-Biden administration that had punished Israel, while promoting its sworn enemies, with a litany of words and deeds, beginning with the infamous Islamist-emboldening 2009 Cairo address, and hitting its apex with the Iran nuclear deal.

President Trump challenged UNSCR 2334 itself, before he was inaugurated; moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, fulfilling a formerly bipartisan U.S. commitment that all prior administrations had failed to enact; vacated the Iran nuclear deal; imposed a "maximum pressure" campaign on the mullocracy; and executed the architect of its monstrous and sprawling terror apparatus.

To name a few other actions: President Trump has doggedly defended Israel at the infamously hostile U.N., slashing funding for and even withdrawing from its most anti-Israel agencies, and voting against its most odious resolutions, where predecessors had merely abstained; closed the PLO's Washington, D.C. office over its unwillingness to enter negotiations with Israel; cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid that would have been ended up in the hands of Palestinian-Arab terrorists; and protected pro-Israel Jews from discrimination on college campuses.

The Trump administration effectuated a total sea change on Israel, its adversaries and the adversaries of America. In so doing, President Trump has executed a "peace through strength" agenda, of which a defense of Jews and the Jewish state, and an assault on their worst adversaries, has been an integral part.

It would be imperiled under a President Joe Biden, who, based on past policy and indicated personnel, would not have executed any of these Trump agenda items, and would likely undo those he could.

Though the leftists, and among them the Jews who overwhelmingly vote Democrat, will never give him credit for it, President Trump has proven to be the ultimate defender of Judeo-Christian Western civilization.

Ben Weingarten is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, fellow at the Claremont Institute and senior contributor to The Federalist. He is the author of American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party (Bombardier, 2020). Ben is the founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and production company. Subscribe to his newsletter at bit.ly/bhwnews, and follow him on Twitter @bhweingarten.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.