Trump Weaves a Revealing Blend of Zionism and Fascism in Making a New Mideast Policy

Why did the president decline to endorse the two-state solution or criticize anti-Semitic hate crimes?

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and President Donald Trump
Photo Credit: Screen Capture / CSPAN

Perhaps the most telling moment in President Trump's joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came when an Israeli reporter asked Trump about the surge in hate crimes since his election and about his view of U.S. policy supporting the so-called two-state solution.

In deference to Netanyahu, President Trump jettisoned Washington's long-standing position that peace in the region requires two states: one Jewish and one Palestinian. And in deference to his white nationalist supporters, he declined to single out hate crimes targetting Jewish people for criticism.

Thus the president appeased both the Zionist and the fascist sensibilities that course through his embattled administration, with revealing results.

Netanyahu came to Washington under pressure from right-wing partners in his government to abandon even a rhetorical commitment to a two-state solution. Trump obliged the Israeli leader by saying he didn't care.

As far as [Israeli] settlements, I’d like to see you [meaning Netanyahu] hold back on settlements for a little bit. We’ll work something out. But I would like to see a deal be made. I think a deal will be made. So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. 

As for the hate crimes, Trump opened by citing his 306 electoral votes and then implied the post-election wave of hate crimes was nothing new, despite the fact that 27 percent of the incidents involved Jewish targets and 41 percent referenced Trump's victory, according to a Think Progress survey.

Said Trump: "We are going to do everything within our power to stop simmering racism and every other thing that’s going on. A lot of bad things have been taking place over a long period of time.”

On the one hand, Trump is giving voice to the sort of extreme Zionism voiced by David Friedman, his nominee for ambassador to Israel. Friedman has advocated Israeli annexation of the Palestinian West Bank, which would be a one-state solution, at least for Israeli Jews. The Israeli right wants to confiscate more Palestinian land while privileging the Jewish population over Arab residents.

On the other hand, Trump is indulging the white nationalist vision of his adviser Steve Bannon, who has approvingly cited Italian fascist thinker Julius Evola, and who made sure Trump's Holocaust Remembrance Day message omitted any mention of the Holocaust's Jewish victims. The white nationalist so-called alt-right is behind the wave of hate messages, bomb threats, assaults and vandalism against Americans who are not white and Christian.

The common denominator: Trump's fondness for bullies.

Jefferson Morley is AlterNet's Washington correspondent. He is the author of the forthcoming biography The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton (St. Martin's Press, October 2017).

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