Friday, November 11, 2016

A Brand New Day - Looking at the Bright Side

Trump advisor, Jason Greenblatt
I can’t help it. I hate to keep talking about the election, but it is dominating discussion everywhere. And as I said yesterday, it’s hard to focus on anything else right now. There is so much to talk about– unlike any other post election in my lifetime.

I am still in a state of shock about what happened last Tuesday. Every time I see Trump in his new role as President-elect I recoil. Donald Trump? Sitting in the White House with President Obama in transition mode? I cannot believe what I am looking at. The image is so off - it’s almost like a dream (some might say a nightmare). 

It should be Hillary doing this. That's what we all expected. Not Trump. The Republican Party should be in shambles. Not the Democratic Party. And yet, there it is. It is not a dream. And it need not be a nightmare either. We have no choice but to wait and see. As I indicated yesterday, we need to wipe the slate clean right now and give this guy a chance to do what he was elected to do. And to hopefully do what he has promised to do after the election: Unite the country.

Unfortunately that is going to be a huge if not impossible task. You cannot unsay what you said during the campaign. Some of those things were unforgivable. How is it possible to give a guy that said all those things a chance? The answer is that we must. Because this is how the system works in this – the greatest country on the face of the earth and perhaps in all of history. (Leaving out Israel of course which for religious reasons is our greatest country.)

The protests continue and are becoming riots and violent. Innocent store owners are being vandalized. This is not protest. This is criminal activity. Or about provoking the police to respond and then calling it a police riot – as happened in Chicago in 68.  

I’m sure many of the protesters are just venting their frustration over the results of the election. Which they have every right to do. Just like the rest of the world, they to can’t believe what happened. But among them are people with other agendas that in some cases look for opportunities to disrupt our way of life and foment rebellion. If you listen to some of the rhetoric coming out of the mouths of some of the protestors you get the impression that this is their goal and they won’t stop until it happens. 

That is seditious behavior and they have to be stopped! Our police must be supported. And no one with a nefarious secret agenda should be allowed to join them. I hate to use the cliché but law and order must be maintaied.

To follow up on the theme I discussed yesterday, One of the positive things about Trump’s victory is how many Orthodox Jews will be in his inner circle of advisers. That his Orthodox Jewish daughter, Ivnaka, is one of his most trusted confidant is well known. There is talk that she will be given a cabinet position. But she has hinted that she is not interested in that prefering to focus on the Trump orgnization. But that does not mean that he won’t be turning to her for advice. I’m sure he will.

What may be more likely is that his Orthodox Jewish son in law, Jarred Kushner will be placed in some high government position. Another Orthodox Jewish adviser is Trump’s real estate attorney, Jason Dov Greenblatt. Here is what a Forward article from April of this year said about him:
“I do rely on him as a consultant on Israel,” Trump said of Greenblatt at an April 14 meeting with Jewish reporters, including JTA. “He’s a person who truly loves Israel. I love to get advice from people that know Israel, but from people that truly love Israel.”
Greenblatt, 49, has an unusual resume for a prospective presidential adviser on Middle East affairs. An Orthodox Jewish father of six from Teaneck, New Jersey, who wears his kippah at work, Greenblatt has worked for Trump for the last 19 years dealing exclusively with real estate and company matters. His titles are executive vice president and chief legal officer…
Greenblatt told JTA he hasn’t met any Palestinians since he was a yeshiva student in the mid-1980s at Yeshivat Har Etzion, in a West Bank settlement bloc near Jerusalem, when he had some casual interactions with Palestinian laborers, gardeners and shopkeepers. (That was also when Greenblatt, like all students at the yeshiva, did occasional armed guard duty.) 
Imagine that! The Presdient’s chief adviser on Israel is an Orthodox Kipa wearing Jew that was a student in Rav Aharon Licthenstein’s Yeshiva. 

His latest pronoucnment on this issue was that settlements are not an obstacle to peace – reversing decades of America policy on this subject. This is what Netanyahu and some of his predecessors have been saying all along. 

No longer will anyone be able to say that Israel is spitting in America’s face with new constrction in the settlements. Thereby endangering US support (…if it ever really was in danger even under Obama. Who said the relationship could not be stronger and that even close members of families can have disagreements). 

But in the Trump administration it appears that there will be no daylight between Netanyahu and Trump. Those who think settlements are an issue anyway are just going to have to deal with the new reality. We’ve tried it Obama’s way. I too felt that settlement construction was counterproductive since America opposed it – right along with the rest of the world. But all Israel got for restraining settlement construction is one intifada after another. It’s time to try it Trump’s way.

Ma'ale Adumim
I should add that I do not support outlying settlements deep into the West Bank where many Palestinian Arabs live. I think Trump might agree with that. Those are counterproductive and in my view do a lot more harm than good. They should be dismantled. But I do support construction in large settlement blocs that border pre 67 Israel (like Ma’ale Adumim and Beitar)  for purposes of natural growth.  For me this is a wise and fair approach.

Another thing that may go Israel’s way is a fairer assessment of its defense and security tactics. No more will the Amercian administration automatically blame Israel if a Palestinian gets hurt by the police or soldier doing their job. A Trump administration is far more likely to ignore media bias in reporting an incident. They might instead say that Israel has a system of justice in place and we have no business judging them from afar.

In spite of the shock, trauma, trepidation, and all of hand wringing we are feeling right now - there is a positive side to all of this. We are about to embark on a new era of change unlike any we have ever seen. Hopefully most of it will be 'good for the Jews' and good for everyone else.

Republicans are the majority in both houses of congress. They represent what used to be called the moral majority. They are ecstatic. Religious freedom will now be as respected as personal freedom. And their conservative economic legislation is more likely than ever to pass.

Everyone thought the economy would sink if Trump got elected - including me. Well, the opposite seems to have happened before Trump even takes his first step into the White House as President. The Dow Jones industrial averages hit an all time high yesterday. That’s because investors now see a businessman who understands the business world in office. And a congress who favors business too. 

What about the 'little guy' who is unemployed? Increased business means increased jobs. Which means more money will be thrown into the econmy - increasing demand.

We should all be looking at the bright side. The sun will come up tomorrow. And indeed tomorrow will be the start of a brand new day. Let us all work to make it a good one