Verbal drone strikes of the media would prove more of an effective tool than massive carpet bombings.
Dr.Gerstenfeld’s article: Where Trump is right, this was first published in Israel National News and republished here with the author’s consent.
TRUMP TACKLES THREE REAL PROBLEMS
By exposing American media bias, Muslim terrorism and Europe’s hypocrisy, U.S president Trump is drawing attention to three major issues which should be addressed. He receives much flak from many directions. Only part of it comes from people who have not yet digested that Barack Obama is no longer U.S president. However, Trump, as a democratically elected president, should also not behave, even unintentionally, as if he believes in Mussolini’s claim: “Many enemies, much honor.”
The three real problems Trump is tackling all have impacts on Jews or Israel. As far as leading media outlets are concerned, a number of them are weighty distorters of the truth. If one follows the publications of the Camera mediawatch organization1 over the years one sees how the New York Times regularly expresses anti-Israel bias in both its news and op-eds.
In an interview, Ricki Hollander and Gilead Ini, two senior analysts at Camera, accused the paper of advocacy journalism. They said: “Both its editorial pages and news reporting lean heavily toward an anti-Israel perspective…the NYT poisons the public’s mind against Israel by shaping the perception of the Jewish state as responsible for many, if not most, of the region’s ills. It does this with double standards in reporting about Israel versus her enemies and recounting only half the story. It sanitizes the role of Israel’s adversaries, including terrorist organizations, and obsessively indicts Israel at every turn.”2
If Trump would listen to a strategist’s advice he would not attack all media at the same time. He would rather put an experienced media-observer to the task of analyzing the New York Times’ bias, and quote examples of it regularly. This would be far more convincing than an overall attack on the media. The other media outlets would not show solidarity with the NYT, because why back up somebody else’s bias, when he is attacked? Focusing all attacks on one paper by providing regular examples of it, is far more convincing for the public at large than spreading attacks over general media. Punishing the NYT, for instance, by excluding it from White House Press conferences would then also be seen by many as justified.
A second important problem Trump has raised is that of the major terrorism coming out of parts of Muslim societies. Yet, here again, the approach to deal with this important issue has been clumsy. With some professional assistance, the temporary entry-ban of people from some countries could have stated upfront that it did not concern green card holders, citizens with dual nationalities, those who have helped the US military and a few other categories from the countries concerned. The essence of what should be achieved by the US is to keep potential foreign terrorists as well as hate-mongers out, with as few domestic protests as possible.
It would be very advisable that in future, there is further improved vetting of immigrants including screening for antisemitism.3 Trump has suggested this during his election campaign as a possibility and Jewish organizations should support him on this. Was Trump wrong “Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, now”? It might have prevented 9/11. He concluded his argument by saying rightly that there was a horrible mess in Europe.4
This brings us to the third issue which has some bearing on Jews. Trump understands that the European Union has for many years maintained policies on various major issues which are the opposite of his policies. Is there anything more alien to Trump’s policies than the German open door attitude toward refugees which started in September 2015? Only a part of those entering were registered by the German authorities. Hundreds of thousands came in without any registration.
Trump wants a strong United States, not weakened through opposition by European masochists. The massive European criticism on the US entry-ban, only partly justified, provides further proof that one cannot count on halfhearted Europe too much in the battle against terrorism. The same is true as far as keeping hate mongers out. The non-selective immigrant policies of Western European countries have led to a huge influx of antisemites, mainly from Arab countries.
One voice dissenting from the European critic-brigades was hardly heard. Italian foreign minister Angelino Alfano told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that what Trump did was not in line with the Italian policy, yet, “Trump in his electoral campaign has made certain statements. On that basis he has won the elections. Now he carries out what he has said. He is not doing anything different from what he has promised.”
Alfano added: “Europe should not imagine that it can be both incompetent in managing the immigration issue and at the same time be respected for its judgments. It is not in a position to express opinions on the choices of others. Or do we want to forget that also in Europe walls have been erected.”5
Israelis understand very well the truth of what Alfano said. The EU claims to know what Israel should do in regards to the Palestinians, sometimes applying double standards which are the core of antisemitism. At the same time, the EU itself is in a major crisis. To paraphrase a regular statement of pseudo-progressives on Israel: By insisting that the Europeans start spending significantly far more on military issues –rather than being parasites on the United States – Trump may well be saving Europe from itself.
Confronting media bias, Muslim terrorism, and European hypocrisy are all fields where Trump can make a major contribution to the upkeep of Western values if he does not use overblown rhetoric. Then any good points he makes will get lost. Jews and Israel will benefit if he succeeds. One can only hope that Trump becomes more professional in dealing with these highly problematic issues and does not spread himself too thin by adding even more subjects to fight about.