Logic and the president
Abraham Foxman, in an article about Donald Trump (“This is dangerous. Words do matter,” August 30), discusses Trump’s recent accusation of disloyalty leveled against the Jews. He questions whether Trump knows what he is doing. Foxman says there is no reason to doubt that Trump loves Israel. He states that Trump is not stupid.
I assume that Mr. Foxman is familiar with the practice of logic. Assume for a moment that Trump is smart, and that he loves Israel. Then how can words about disloyalty flow from his mouth? The statement is false. If there is true love, and if there is intelligence, then the speaker must be self-aware about what he says. Therefore, logic dictates that either of the two assumptions is wrong — or both are.
Former advisers, such as Rex Tillerson and James Mattis, have commented on Trump’s intelligence. Tillerson’s assessment was too colorful for publication in the Standard. Mattis described Trump as having “limited cognitive ability.” Anyone who witnessed Trump’s performance at the recent G7 meeting has to agree with Tillerson and Mattis. Some have speculated that Trump is affected by some mental impairment associated with aging. To paraphrase a famous fictional Southerner, frankly I don’t give a damn. It makes no difference.
Now let’s turn to the other assumption, namely that Donald Trump loves Israel. The evidence is an embassy move to Jerusalem, and one-sided support for Israel (pulling back from any semblance of a balanced peace process).
The embassy move, while symbolically important, has characteristics that may not be widely appreciated. First is its placement, in East Talpiot. The neighborhood is right on the green line, facing an Arab village a short walk away. The site is a visual red flag in front of a bull. Any location in West Jerusalem would have sufficed. Why was East Talpiot selected? Because real estate values are skyrocketing there. The embassy building is an asset that helps surrounding developers. Local residents also have reported insane traffic problems. There was also talk of a secret promise to Arabs living in East Jerusalem of an embassy of their own. A fine quid pro quo.
As for the peace process, isolating the Palestinians has only fueled their hardliners. Hamas has been able to maintain a hot border at Gaza. Hezbollah and their Iranian backers continue to gain strength. (God only knows how far along the Iranians really are in their nuclear program.) Internally, Israel politics are not at peace either. Despite a strong personal relationship between Trump and Netanyahu, Israel’s security is now at greater, not lesser, risk.
Given the logic of this situation, it is impossible to conclude that Trump is smart, or that he truly loves Israel. After all, words do indeed matter.