While questions about the outcome of the election may or may not need to get worked out in the courts, Democrats celebrate a win by Joe Biden in the 2020 US Presidential race. Unlike the hundreds of thousands of experts on social media, I make no claim to know much about voter fraud and election rules. I am at the mercy of the news media to tell me what happens. Unless I see evidence to the contrary, I am neither qualified nor irresponsible enough to question the legitimacy of the outcome. I do however have the ability to observe and read the reactions of people, and as I see many of my fellow Jews declare their joy over the election of Biden, what I have not seen in many of their statements are the words “the Jewish people” or “the State of Israel”. While I do not sit in judgment over what makes someone a good Jew or a bad Jew, as it is not my place to do so, I do find this to be curious, and can’t help but examine and indeed question, why this might be the case.
Everyone of course has their reasons for feeling as they do and saying what they do. I know many people who have done a lot for Jews worldwide that fall into that group that voted for Biden, and I recognize that, but the appearance it gives is that for many Jewish people in America, the best interests of the Jews and Israel were just not an issue of major importance to them in this election. To be clear, I am not merely coming to this conclusion based on reactions to the result, but also from discussions or debates I had in person, on the phone or in social media prior to the election. If anything it appears as though one issue was more important to them than anything else. Their hatred for Donald Trump.
Some make the argument that Trump is bad for Israel and stokes the flames of anti-Semitism in the United States. The debate has been conducted ad nauseum and I have no intention of restarting it, but I will say that this reminds me of something an old friend once said to me when we worked together as salespeople. People buy with emotion, and justify it with logic. I present this concept here because I have to wonder if the hatred for the sitting president is so great that Jews around the country just convinced themselves he was bad for Israel and the Jews in order to justify their vote against him. Or do they really believe that a man that moved the embassy to Jerusalem, something promised by administrations for decades, recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel, ripped up a deal that paved the way for Iran to have a nuclear bomb, and made peace treaties increasing security and prosperity for the Jewish state is actually an anti-Semite who is bad for Israel, or as many of his haters call him, another Hitler?
I don’t presume to know anyone’s motivation for what they say or do not say, but when one of my fellow American Jews goes on a rant about all the reasons they chose Joe Biden over Donald Trump, and the issue of Israel and the Jewish people is either an afterthought or an omission, I can’t help but get the impression that those issues were just lower on their list of priorities, if there at all. I know the responses many will give is either a list of all the reasons they see Donald Trump as an awful human being, as an existential threat to American democracy and all the reasons they feel the things he has done do not actually make him good for the State of Israel. I’ve heard and read them all. What I have not heard from my fellow Jews and Zionists is why, as part of one or two of those groups they are happy that Joe Biden looks to be their next president. I, as both a Jew and a Zionist am not, and it mattered enough to me to be reason alone to vote for Donald Trump.
While I am not writing this to argue the merits of hating or loving Trump, it strikes me that the number one reason people have grown to hate him is more because they don’t like what he says than it is what he does. I won’t litigate the various issues that people apply this to, but I will say that as a Jew and son of Holocaust survivors, nothing seems more irresponsible to me than choosing someone who sounds nice over someone who has your back. I said before the election that I felt that no matter who wins the election I believe there are dark days ahead for the Jewish people in America. As a Jewish man who is not convinced that Joe Biden will have our backs, I express no optimism over how he will be good for us in the coming years. So naturally I didn’t express any optimism. But for my fellow Jews that voted for him and also didn’t express that optimism, are you holding your breath and hoping for the best, or is it just not an issue that mattered to you enough to dictate your vote? That is a question that each and every one of you can only answer for yourselves.
Ultimately I tend to believe people vote for what they perceive to be in their own best interests. If any Jewish voter doesn’t see the security of Israel and the protection of their Jewish communities as being in their own best interest, then they’ve learned little to nothing from history.
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