In many ways, U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are political reflections of each other — almost political "Siamese twins."
Both can point to an impressive array of tremendous achievements as heads of the executive branch of their respective countries — both domestically and in the international theater.
Yet despite their records of success, both have been widely — and savagely — excoriated as grave dangers to the future of their respective nations.
Both have been subjected to blatant and and thinly guised attempts by political adversaries — unwilling to accept the results of the democratic process and unable to acknowledge their defeat at the polls — to circumvent the electorate and depose Netanyahu and Trump by an abuse of the legal system, undergirded by a concerted media assault, no matter what either man did, or does.
To illustrate the point, a recent October 2020 study found that from Inauguration Day in 2017 through October 20, 2020, ABC, NBC, and CBS newscasts were negative when referring to Trump 90.5% of the time.
Those familiar with the Israeli media will know that, with a few notable exceptions, both the printed and electronic press have been overwhelmingly and excessively anti-Netanyahu.
The abhorrence of the mainstream media in both Israel and America is rooted far more in sociological sentiment than in political persuasion; far more in terms of self-perception and self-image than in terms of ideological differences, or disagreement over concrete policy decisions.
Indeed, the bitter irony is that any fair-minded person could well have expected that many policy initiatives launched by Trump and Netanyahu would have been readily embraced and effusively lauded by their Left-leaning liberal adversaries.
After all, Trump introduced prison reform, cut prices of prescription drugs, and brought unemployment to record lows for minorities. Likewise, he appointed the first woman ever to head the CIA (Gina Haspel), the second woman ever as Secretary of Homeland Security (Kirstjen Nielsen), and a woman to the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court (Amy Coney Barrett).
Likewise, Netanyahu froze construction in Jewish settlements for several months and released convicted Palestinian terrorists as a grand gesture in a (vain) attempt to coax the Palestinian-Arabs into peace talks.
Together with the Trump administration, he forged new peace/normalization agreements with previously inimical Arab states — something which received grudging and muted approval from their political rivals.
So, those seeking to identify the real reason for the incandescent hatred towards these two demonstrably successful leaders must look beyond unbridgeable ideo-political gaps between them and their political opponents.
The real reason for this extraordinary ire and abhorrence is that both Trump and Netanyahu are seen as unworthy and impudent usurpers, who have brazenly challenged the entrenched Establishment, snatching way not only what that Establishment desires more than anything but what it considers its unalienable right: The privilege and power to rule.
Thus, supporters of Trump and Netanyahu have been denigrated, respectively, by disdainful opponents as "deplorable"; and as primitive "pagan" worshipers and boorish "kissers of sacred amulets."
Accordingly, in the search for an explanation for the inordinate domestic animus towards the U.S. president and the Israeli premier, we need to grasp that is not that their opponents see the Netanyahu-Trump political victories as an intolerable challenge to the validity of what they believe, but as an intolerable challenge to the validity of what they are.
Dr. Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, dedicated to the preservation and propagation of joint values shared by the USA and Israel as embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Israel's Declaration of Independence. He served for seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli Defense establishment and acted as a ministerial adviser to Yitzhak Shamir's government. Sherman lectured for 20 years at Tel Aviv University in Political Science, International Relations and Strategic Studies. He holds several university degrees — B.Sc. (Physics and Geology), MBA (Finance) and PhD in political science/international relations. He was the first academic director of the internationally renowned Herzliya Conference and has authored two books as well as numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of political, diplomatic and security issues. He was born in South Africa and has lived in Israel since 1971. Read Martin Sherman's Reports — More Here.
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