In marmur

Trump supporters in Israel seem to have gone silent after his announcement that he’s bringing home the remaining 2,200 American soldiers in Syria which will give Iran a freer hand to attack us here, either direct or by its proxies.

All that Trump’s great fan, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, could muster was to tell us that he had been informed of the American decision ahead of the public announcement and that “we will continue to take very strong action against Iran’s attempts to entrench itself in Syria.”

Trump’s defense secretary James Mattis and the United States presidential envoy in Syria Brett McGurk were less restrained: they both resigned their posts in protest, presumably not because they thought that Trump’s decision was bad for Israel or that his action, allegedly to please Erdogan of Turkey, was bad for the Kurds in Syria, but because it was bad for the United States. The declaration that ISIS, the terrorist organization, has been defeated is spurious, because everybody knows that terrorists regroup easily and reemerge in different disguises unless they continue to be restrained.

The right-wing Jewish press, also in Israel, has been less timid than the prime minister to remind us that Donald Trump is fickle, ignorant and unreliable who seeks to please his potential voters rather than to act in the best interest of his country.

Thus, for example, Shimon Shiffer of Yediot Achronot: “Trump is now responsible for abandoning Israel which has to face Iranian aggression in the region alone. As long as Russia is the region’s boss and there is no American deterrence in Syria, what is to prevent Iran and its heavily armed sidekick Hezbollah from turning the Syrian side of the Golan Heights into a military outpost?”

And more: “The American move points to Washington’s weakness, and perhaps even a betrayal of its allies. The Kurds in Syria are the first to be affected by the decision, for by pulling out of Syria, the US is essentially spilling the blood of allies who helped liberate swathes of the country from IS.”

Jonathan Tobin, the editor-in-chief of the right-wing website JNS Daily Syndicate, has accused Trump of imitating Obama, whom Trump & Co blamed for appeasing Iran: “A Syria pullout is incompatible with the goal of ending the threat from ISIS and Iran. Until Trump understands that – and the unfortunate consequences of this decision may teach him a lesson his advisors apparently couldn’t impart to him – there’s no use pretending that ‘America First’ isn’t a pale imitation of Obama’s flawed foreign policy.”

Sarah Stern, the founder and president of the right-wing Washington-based think tank The Endowment for Middle East Truth, told Donald Trump on the JNS website that “moral beacons do not desert their friends.” Accusing her president of misguided isolationism she wrote about the pullout from Syria: “This precipitous exit can only come from someone who lacks even the most fundamental understanding of the nature of the Middle East, as well as the psychology of some of the actors.”

The Psalmist, speaking in the name of all Israel, reflects that “all nations beset me.” That’s why, “it is better to take refuge in the Eternal than to trust in the great” (118: 9, 10). The ostensibly pious and patriotic among us who’ve put their trust in the current president of the United States and his supporters have good reason to change their stance and heed the words of Scripture.

Jerusalem 23.12.18                                                                                                                                          Dow Marmur

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