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Tying Trump to Netanyahu

Updated: May 12



In the midst of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and the anguish Israelis feel over Hama’s October 7th terrorist attack, it feels selfish to think of the impact on our Presidential election. But it only takes a slice of voters who are angry enough at President Biden over his support for Israel to not vote, to vote “uncommitted,” or to vote third party to put Donald Trump back in the White House.


Yet a second Trump administration would almost certainly be worse for the Palestinians than the worst his critics claim about Joe Biden. While Trump has criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to prevent the Hamas attack and not ending the war  quickly, his complaints focus on the damage done to Israel’s image and global support – not  Palestinian suffering. A Republican backer says Trump is “giving the Israelis a blank check to finish the job and eliminate Hamas,” while Biden has threatened to withhold weapons for an assault on Rafah.   


How do we prevent the excesses of a right-wing, authoritarian leader in Israel (backed by hard-right Orthodox Israelis) from reelecting another right-wing, authoritarian leader (backed by Christian evangelicals) in America?


We can:


  • Recognize things may not be as bleak as they seem. One recent poll showed that only one in three voters aged 18-29 rate the war as their top issue, while “protecting Democracy” came first for 57 percent of young Democrats. On social media, a growing number of young, TikTok-fluent young influencers are attracting large audiences with overtly anti-MAGA messaging. We can work with partners like these to creatively promote their messaging.


  • Make the Trump/ Netanyahu connection explicit, painting them as a linked danger to their democracies and to minorities within their countries – gays, migrants and people of color in the U.S., Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Consider messaging like that cited by The Democracy Labs in a recent post, that both politicians are “stoking violence, racism and religious extremism to stay out of jail” – and get support from many of the same wealthy donors. 


  • Make it clear that some of us working so hard to re-elect Joe Biden also don’t feel he’s done enough to help the Palestinians in Gaza and done it soon enough. We can support their efforts to pressure Biden to do more to help the Palestinians while being clear how any vote except for Joe Biden will empower those elements in Israel that Democrats and Progressives oppose the most.  


  • Move the conversation away from high-voltage demonstrations in this country, that echo those in 1968 that helped elect Richard Nixon, to tough but respectful conversations focused on those most affected, such as these  by the New Israel Fund. Stay focused on the humanitarian and policy actions that will help Israelis and Palestinians and not let Trump win a second term by dividing the left.

 

The deep, sincere and desperate anguish we’re seeing from all sides about the Israel/Gaza issue is not going away, nor should it. Nor are our differences about how to end the conflict. But we need better ways of talking about it to each other, and the voters whose support we’ll need to save our Democracy this fall.  


Let me know your thoughts about these ideas and, most importantly, how we can act on them. Feedback from disenchanted Progressives especially welcome.

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This war has put Biden in a very unjust and difficult position. There is no side to take that would be fair, especially as it is really a war between Netanyahu and Hamas. It's unfortunate that Hamas has the gall to take innocent hostages and Netanyahu in return has killed innocent citizens. I believe Biden is treading very lightly to be diplomatic. And when you compare him to what Trump has offered, it seems it's a no-brainer that Biden is handling it better. In a Fox News interview, Trump stated that "You've go to finish the problem," in a context that suggested he supports genocide of people living in Gaza. Trump is just a bully with no restraint and…


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