FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump’s Gambit: Sacrificing a Fascist for Establishment Approval and Israeli Propaganda

Since his election as the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump has been fighting multiple fronts: “Russiagate” has persistently remained on the mainstream agenda, the media has been highly critical of his cabinet appointments, a spike in xenophobic and anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. has been attributed to his associations with the “alt-right”, and after his failed attempt at repealing Obamacare members of his own party have been on the attack, smelling blood. With record low approval ratings in recent polls, Donald Trump has been in desperate need of a miracle.

On April 4th, residents of the rebel-held city Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, Syria were attacked with chemical weapons. Trump quickly seized on this Syrian catastrophe as an opportunity.

Prior to any kind of formal investigation, The White House determined that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack, with Trump flip-flopping on a statement made less than a week beforehand by his Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley who stated that Assad’s removal was “no longer a priority”.

On April 5th Trump removed Stephen Bannon from the National Security Council (NSC). Bannon championed Trump’s “America First” doctrine and was opposed to military action in Syria. Further, the move appeased the liberal establishment that was critical of Bannon’s fascistic “alt-right” and White supremacist associations.

Thus, after neutralizing opposition from within (Steve Bannon) and instilling the appropriate local propaganda (Sean Spicer), a strike on Syria would align Trump with establishment conservatives and neoliberals, as well as the corporate media.

Trump’s gambit worked.

On April 6th, to quote CNN’s political pundit Fareed Zakaria, “Trump became President” when he bombed Syria. Indeed, Trump was immediately embraced by an adoring and uncritical American media (also here), as well as by a bipartisan political establishment.

But what did Syria’s immediate neighbor and America’s closest ally in the Middle East – Israel – think of a strike so close to home? Israeli support is fundamental to the survival, success and popularity of American Presidents, and Trump knows this well.

Israeli Consensus

Trump’s courtship of Israel has been ongoing.

It fully took off at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in March, 2016. Since, Donald Trump has proven his loyalty to right-wing Zionists by supporting the expansion of Israeli settlements and the annexation of parts of the West Bankprioritizing the controversial move of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, announcing the death of the two-state solution during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House and appointing his bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman as ambassador to Israel. Only recently, Nikki Haley received a “rockstar welcome” at the annual 2017 AIPAC meeting when she promised to treat what the Israeli government and its allies view as an inherent bias against Israel at the UN.

Trump’s April 6th strike on Assad forces was yet another advance in his longstanding bromance with Netanyahu.

In Israel the strikes were met with resounding approval and even applause; nothing reassures Israelis more than an American show of force in the “rough neighborhood of the Middle East”. The last time a bombing was met with such glee in Israel was during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, when residents of Sderot gathered on hilltops opposite Gaza to watch its bombardment by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

Israeli Propaganda

“Wall to wall support in Israel for US attack on Syria” claimed Gil Hoffman of the Jerusalem Post in a recent piece that laid out a seemingly rare case of political agreement in Israel, whereby Netanyahu’s government coalition and its opposition were unanimous in their support of Donald Trump’s decision to bomb Assad’s army. From Zehava Gal-On (Meretz), Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) and Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) to Oren Hazan (Likud), Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) the Israeli political spectrum was presented as lock, stock and barrel behind Donald Trump.

But does such a consensus really exist throughout the entirety of the Israeli political spectrum?

A closer look at the article reveals that by “wall to wall support” the right-wing Jerusalem Post only considered Zionist parties, while completely ignoring the Arab Joint List, no small party at 13 mandates making it the third largest in the Israeli Knesset.

In fact, the Joint List was unanimous in its disapproval of the American bombing, but could not agree on a condemnation of Assad as responsible for the chemical weapons attack. Although Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was “100% sure” the attack was perpetuated by Assad’s forces, members of the Joint List remained unconvinced, siding with Assad’s regime over his opposition or claiming that regardless of the perpetrators, American intervention is counterproductive as is all other foreign intervention, including Russian.

In contrast to the uniform Zionist support for Trump, the subtleties of opinion and disagreements within the Joint List faithfully echo the long-lasting and ongoing worldwide debate over the war in Syria. Thus, the omission of The Joint List from the Jerusalem Post’s pro-Trump propaganda piece was clearly not an oversight, but meant to convey unanimous Israeli support for Trump’s aggressive tactics, while disregarding those who do not serve the expansionist Zionist objectives. After all, Assad represents a united Syria to which the occupied Golan Heights can theoretically be returned as a condition for peace. Further, Assad serves as a key ally of Israel’s mortal enemy Iran and a channel from which the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah receives weapons from its Iranian benefactors.

Clearly, Trump’s gambit worked. For the price of 59 Tomahawk missiles, he managed to align himself with the DC establishment, recapture corporate media, distance himself from the controversial and fascistic Bannon and as an added bonus, increase his popularity among American Jews and Israelis. His move threw egg in the face at those who underestimated his prowess and opportunism.

More articles by:

Yoav Litvin is a Doctor of Psychology/ Behavioral Neuroscience.  

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail