by G. Murphy Donovan
Say what you will about Donald Trump, but beyond ego, bluster, and stable manners; you will often find the courage of truth, a kind of candor too painful to ignore. The recent “official” recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a dramatic example of Trumpian instinct or prescience.
Never mind that Jerusalem has been the geographic and emotional heart of Judaism for three millennia. Never mind that Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were taken by Calif Omar in 628 AD by conquest. Never mind that Mohamed’s alleged “ascension” from the Temple Mount is the most transparent example of “miraculous” cultural appropriation in the history of religious fiction.
Never mind that Mohamed never set foot on “Al Quds”. Never mind that Jerusalem is mentioned over 300 times in the Old Testament but not once in the Koran. Never mind also the knee-jerk angst of anti-Semites worldwide to the mere presence of Jews in Jerusalem today.
Just as Muslim conquest took “Al Quds” in the 7th Century, the IDF retook Jerusalem in 1967. Losing a war, then or today, has consequences.
Indeed, the modern state of Israel is now the Gates of Vienna once removed. Israel is the line-in-the-sand that defies contemporary revisionism and recidivism, fictions about Mohamed and toxic visions of global jihad.
What we now know to be culture, indeed civilization, is possible to imagine without Islam, but not possible to imagine without the Hebrew diaspora and the modern righteous state of Israel. We say righteous because if there were ever a people who earned a homeland, freedom, democracy, and recognition; it is the Jew. Indeed, Israel is a cultural beacon in the long night of Muslim cultural pathology that now metastasizes universally as the Ummah.
What Muslim sects, Shia and Sunni, could not win in war is now pursued through 50 years of terror. Palestine is a front line Arab tribal surrogate, not a state. The “two-state” chimera is an illusion, not an option.
What rational observer really believes that the solution to global Islamic terror is another Muslim terror state – at the UN or in the heart of Israel?
If religious polemics can be thought of as a battle for souls, no religion is more hostile to Jews, Christians, indeed reform or democracy than contemporary Mohamedism. A simple arbitrary charge of “unislamic” could be the occasion for a fatwa or beheading.
Flames of anti-Semitic terror are today blown white-hot by Shia and Sunni clerics and politicians alike.
Nevertheless, if the past is prologue, the children of Abraham are still on the right side of progress and history. And if truth, achievement, and morality are virtues, pound for pound, Jews have been fighting above their weight since Jesus Christ celebrated his bar mitzvah.
So what gives a parvenu like Trump the insight to find value in a political signal that the rest of the world excoriates? Surely the Donald is no scholar, historian, or philosopher.
Shooting from the mouth is not reflection.
Trump might simply be the categorical imperative with a comb-over, a strategic Queens street creature with the vision and moxie to just “do the right thing.”
He was swept into office by political instincts and the wisdom of crowds. He was probably more surprised than we. The “basket of deplorables” now has every right to expect their choice to deliver.
All the while, Trump haters exhibit two fatal flaws; excess and underestimates. With both, Trump critics run the risk of creating another victim or, better still, a populist saint.
Beyond the gutter brawl that passes for liberal politics today, history and fact conspire to validate Trump’s instincts: Washington is a swamp, the EU and NATO are weak sisters, Democrats did try to rig the last election, Hillary should be in jail, Putin is a strawman, and the Mueller inquisition is a partisan witch hunt, a transparent inside-the-Beltway campaign to undo an election. In sum, fake news is a thing.
Adding insult to augury, the usual suspects continue to live up to the worst of Trump’s allegations.
Say what you will about Trumps rhetoric or motives, but results to date speak for themselves. Trump beat a host of establishment Republicans like a drum; he then thumped leftist fixers in the general election. Call that poetic justice.
Throughout, he humiliated a dishonest biased media that was in the bag for Mrs. Clinton then and now. And today, Donald Trump presides over an American economy that is thriving. What’s not to like?
Trump now takes the same swagger that put him in the Oval Office to the foreign policy arena. Defying the usual suspects, Islam’s apologists, and a lactating US State Department; the President is all-in with Israel.
Shalom! Serendipity strikes again.
It’s Trump and Netanyahu against the conventional “wisdom,” against the two staters, against the anti-Semites, and against the EU hermaphrodites of globalism. Indeed, they are two against the world.
The Donald and Bebe are fighting above their weight class with relish. What’s not to like?
Beyond serendipity, there are facts and philosophical traditions to validate Trump’s instincts, beliefs that underwrite America and Israel as natural, permanent allies.
Trump may remember little about his Scottish antecedents. It doesn’t matter. He may have read Hume and Smith (Hamilton too) at Fordham or Wharton. That doesn’t matter either. Trump seems to have absorbed the verities of the Anglo/Scott/American Enlightenment by osmosis. His actions speak volumes.
The president is by any definition a mercantile pragmatist, a chap who knows that emotional appeals and romantic Utopians put no falafel in the oil and no bangers on the grill. Wishful thinking is not strategy.
The business of any business, or entrepreneurial nation for that matter, is success, concrete achievements and measurable results; without which the pieties of religion, social justice, and inclusion are bravo sierra. In this, we are not Roman so much as we are Jewish.
Jewish communities are still with us today because they honor family, survival, tradition, education, reform, democracy, justice, science, art, and entrepreneurship.
Jewish culture thrives today because it works. It works, not because it is godly or perfect, but because it is Talmudic; creative, reflective, adaptive, and tolerant. Not perfect, but ‘pretty’ good compared to the neighbors.
The same utilitarian values that made America great have made 21st Century Israel possible. The grand irony of modern politics is that these truths are again made self-evident by a buccaneer Presbyterian like Donald Trump.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!
God still works in mysterious ways.
The author is an erstwhile Irish Catholic reprobate from the East Bronx. He writes regularly about the politics of national security, occasionally about New York or baked goods.
Nothing to add, simply brilliant!
Nicely and comprehensively stated. Question: How do you see Putin as a straw-man? Quibble: Ought not 'inside-the-Beltway' be more accurately put as 'inside-the-lower colon' ?
G. Murphy Donovan
Putin's an easy target, a distraction, a diversion and thus straw-man. Albeit, an necessary enemy to justify profligate defense spending whilst ignoring, or minimizing real threats like the various jihads. We ignore the Islamist threat that kills daily and fabricate a Kremlin specter that would rather be an ally. Common sense has been standing on it's head for half a century now.
You made me laugh. You are an original and expressive writer. Thank you for this fantastic, insightful piece.
G. Murphy Donovan
Thanks, Fred and Ruth. The difference between the enlightened and the irridentist seems to be fundamental. A Jewish worldview uses the past to make the present and future relevant. Talundic, if you will. The Islamist sees the present as the gun slit to an absolutist past. Turkey's Erdogan put it best. "There is no moderate Islam. Islam is Islam."