Left to right, Larry Elder, Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt at the Unite Inland Empire Conservative Conference on April 30. (photo by Dave Gordon)
Eight hundred supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gathered in a Los Angeles-area venue recently – before the controversy this week over Trump’s sharing of classified information with Russia – to hear four major U.S. media figures discuss why, in their opinion, the president had thus far made impressive executive choices.
The April 30 event – the fourth annual Unite Inland Empire Conservative Conference – was entitled Trump’s First 100 Days.
Panelists were talk radio hosts Larry Elder, Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager and senior editor-at-large of Breitbart News, Joel Pollak.
Trump was praised by all speakers for his Supreme Court choice of Neil Gorsuch, his strike on Syria, his efforts to overturn Obamacare and the newest Iran sanctions. The two Jewish speakers – Prager and Pollak – told the Independent that the president has, in a very short time, done much for Israel.
Appointing a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who is critical of the world body’s treatment of the Jewish state should be seen as significant in itself, Prager said. “Why isn’t Nikki Haley enough for a Jew?” he asked.
The author of seven books, including the recently released Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code, Prager said Trump should divest the United States entirely from the UN, however.
“It is a morally bad organization. It does more harm than good,” he said. “You can have aid agencies without the UN. Think we need UN peacekeepers? You can talk about Rwanda. What good has the Security Council done? It is the most anti-Jewish institution in the world. What more do you need to know? My whole life I have understood Jew-hatred as the barometer of the world’s health.”
In terms of reported rising Jew-hatred in the United States, Prager said some of it is fabricated and some is an imminent threat.
“All of the Jewish centres’ bomb threats – this was hysteria – all because of a black radical and a disturbed Jewish kid in Israel. It wasn’t 40 antisemitic incidents; but maybe one or two.”
To those who accuse the president of attracting those who bear ill will towards the Jews, Prager added, “It’s a world of lies that Trump has increased antisemitism and that he is an antisemite and that he has let antisemites in his administration.”
The true menace, he said, was “the transformation of the university to the most Israel-hating institution in America. Jews don’t want to acknowledge this because they adore the university.”
Antisemitism might be among the reasons Trump has waffled on his promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Prager said, adding, “I 100% excuse him on it.”
It is Prager’s belief that Israel may be reticent, at this point, to deal with the potential blowback.
“The Arab world is a passion-based, hate-filled world,” he said. “The hatred of Israel is the food of the Arab world. There’s no joy in saying this.”
However, it was important that Trump said that while campaigning, argued Prager. “I believe [the promise] didn’t say, ‘I am going to open an embassy in Israel.’ It said, ‘I care about Israel,’ unlike the previous president.”
Meanwhile, Pollak thinks that the president may follow through with moving the embassy to Jerusalem at some point in the future.
“I don’t see it as a back pedal,” said Pollak. “David Friedman [U.S. ambassador to Israel] is going to live in Jerusalem, even though the embassy is in Tel Aviv. It indicates which of the two cities the U.S. considers is Israel’s capital.”
In terms of the peace process, the new administration will not be mirroring that of Barack Obama, who “took the Palestinian side, and that was destabilizing,” said Pollak.
On the UN, Pollak said it was a forum for enemies to hash out their differences, but its Human Rights Council – where many dictatorships have representatives – should be dismantled.
In agreement with Prager, he said the pressing danger to U.S. Jews is the surge of university-based antisemitism.
“Students are being exposed to anti-Israel activities that they’re ill-equipped to counter,” said Pollak. “It has gotten so bad that now discrimination is happening on religion, not just for supporting Israel.”
Last year, U.S. campuses saw a 45% increase in anti-Jewish sentiments, according to Tel Aviv University researchers and the AMCHA Initiative, which investigates antisemitism on college campuses.
The issue will worsen, Pollak said, as more young people remain ignorant of the Holocaust – a tragedy all-too-often invoked and misused by those who compare the Final Solution to the Palestinian situation.
For attendee Evan Sayet, author of Kindergarten of Eden, the “single most important thing” for American Jews to do is to rebuke government-funded universities, “twisting the screws against the lies and antisemitism in the guise of academia.”
He said, “You might not think of American campuses, because it doesn’t seem like an existential threat. You might think academia is just a place of words. Obviously, this is the next generation who are infused with antisemitism. It bodes ill for the Jews. Antisemitism is an evil that is placated in the Arab world and, now, other places in the world, including Europe.”
Dave Gordon is a Toronto-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in more than 100 publications around the world.