For many American Jews, #NeverTrump is the only slogan that matters. His shameful, unfiltered words have them running to Hillary Clinton.
For those of us with political honesty, the choice is the lesser of two evils. We are not choosing between Mother Teresa and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Our choice is between a liar who can be bought and a brash, uninformed egomaniac. The question becomes: Whose faults can we forgive?
Although I am not among them, my strong impression is that most Persian Jews in Los Angeles support Donald Trump. My impression is not based on any scientific poll. But while Clinton supporters allege that Trump supporters are all uneducated, I regularly meet doctors, attorneys, engineers, entrepreneurs and highly successful businesspeople whose reasons for supporting Trump I summarize below. You may agree or disagree with their reasoning, but based on my interactions with Trump supporters, this is how they feel:
1. “The accusations against Trump are overblown by a biased and hostile media that easily forgive Clinton’s criminal investigation but exaggerate Trump’s speech.” In all of his years in business and during his television show, “The Apprentice,” not once was Trump accused of bigotry or misogyny. This political bullying was also used with past Republican candidates, most recently calling George W. Bush “dumb.”
2. “I prefer an ugly truth to a beautiful lie. As a lifetime politician, Clinton sugarcoats her lies, whereas Trump speaks with honesty.” Nixon’s Watergate pales in comparison to Clinton’s email leaks. Former CIA Director David Petraeus was prosecuted for sharing intelligence, while the media and President Barack Obama protect Clinton. Democrats dismiss her WikiLeaks lies because she is well composed when she lies, and they focus on Trump’s harsh and unedited speech because it’s raw.
3. “We ran away from radical Islam and don’t want it to follow us here.” Unlike Europe, Trump will deal with Jihadists head on. Islamist extremists respond only to strength. The left’s political correctness shows Islamists our weakness and helps them thrive. Clinton’s policies led to the rise of ISIS. She led the invasion of Libya. Trump wants to protect the United States and hates terrorists. America can’t become Europe. Look at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s troubles in Germany. Listen to the people of England. Brexit was a vote against radical Islamists entering as refugees from countries known to export terrorists. We need a better vetting process. We need more secure boarders.
4. “Clinton has been fully supported by Arabs.” Palestinian flags flew over the DNC convention and Israeli flags were burned outside by protesters. This was not the case with the GOP convention. It was no coincidence. Clinton owes Arab countries so much that she can’t be trusted.
5. “All who compare Trump to Hitler are disingenuous and hurtful to the memory of survivors.” We witnessed Democrats give rise to President Jimmy Carter, who despite the dubious Nobel Prize, has blood on his hands. His policies prompted Persian Jews to flee Iran after 2,500 years, led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iranian Muslims in the Iran-Iraq war, the mass persecution and killing of minorities, Christians and Baha’is, and the public hanging of innocent members of the LGBT community. Carter directly caused Iran to become an extremist Islamic country that is now the biggest funder of terrorism around the world and routinely burns the American flag and threatens the destruction of Israel with nuclear weapons. The Democrats may be great speakers, but actions speak louder than words. Obama and Clinton handed monies to the Iranian government via the Iran deal and threw Israel under the bus.
6. “In Iran, people took to the streets to foster a revolution.” In the United States, it’s done through the election process. Obama was an American revolution against Bush. Trump is a revolution against the policies of Obama. The pendulum needs to swing back.
7. “Trump will rebuild our military and protect us against Russia, China, Iran and ISIS. America needs to become stronger again.” The weakness of America through the Obama-Clinton plans have led China, Iran and Saudi Arabia to start negotiations with Russia, turning their backs on the United States.
8. “Trump advocates cutting taxes to 15 percent from current 35 percent.” Clinton wants to raise them. Lower taxes mean more economic stimulus. Under Obama, the rich got richer and poor got poorer. We need smaller government. We entered this country empty-handed and worked hard. Private companies are more competitive and more efficient.
9. “Trump knows how to manage groups and will build teams of excellence.” Trump is independent and will not be bought by any special interest groups. Trump started with some $300 million and turned it into $4.5 billion. He understands capitalism and business.
10. “Trump will repeal Obamacare, which has been disastrous for many patients.” He will replace it with affordable, free-market systems whereby insurance companies can compete across state lines, bringing down premiums.
As I personally, remain torn on my choice of a candidate, I look forward to the debates to shed clarity on these contested issues. I am not with her. I am not with him. I am with America. And I stand with Israel.
Afshine Ash Emrani is assistant clinical professor at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. He blogs at jewishjournal.com. This op-ed was further edited for clarity after posting.