A Post-Holocaust Betrayal: Israel’s Defiling Obeisance to Donald J. Trum

Benjamin Netanyahu and former U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House (Photo GPO)

by Louis Rene Beres

“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the entire Torah; the rest is commentary…:

Rabbi Hillel, Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a

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Israel’s continuous support for Donald J. Trump represents a grim irony of Jewish history. Even before the latest revelations concerning this former president’s anti-Semitic outbursts (that is, his denunciations of US Jews who would dare vote against him), Trump made conspicuously common cause with various anti-Jewish organizations and ideals. Eagerly, and without discernible reluctance, Trump lined up with an assortment of virulent hate groups, undermined a once-sacred US tradition of welcoming the refugee — one which defined his own mother’s biography — endorsed refugee family separations by “beautiful” barbed wire, turned a blind eye to genocide-like crimes in Syria, and rendered the United States complicit with Vladimir Putin’s egregious crimes against humanity in Syria.

On January 6, 2021, when Trump supporters carried out their anti-American and anti-Semitic insurrection at the US Capitol, this president heaped abundant praise upon the seditious conspirators. Even criminals who wore tee shirts lettered with “Camp Auschwitz” were included in this praise. On such bad behaviors, there were many pertinent details.

Since 1945, a proud Jewish mantra has been “Never again.” From a Talmudic standpoint, this commendable mantra should be applied to all peoples, not just the Jewish People. To do otherwise would represent the reductio ad absurdum of Jewish justice. Among other errors of correct reasoning, it would disregard Judaism’s immutably core commitment to a higher law, to species universality, and to human “oneness.” As we should all learn again from Talmud, “The dust from which the first man was made was gathered in all four corners of the earth.”

It remains an apt metaphor.

There is still more for Israelis to consider. During his sordid presidency, Donald Trump actively celebrated the rancor of “everyone for himself” as both a personal and national philosophy, a philosophy that is inherently predatory and alien to everything Jewish. In Judaism, after all, whatever the normative sources, dignified human relations must be founded upon cooperation and collaboration, not on gratuitous acrimony, inter-state belligerence, or zero-sum conflict.

Israel’s Curious Affection for Donald Trump

How did this defiling Israeli association with an American president’s leadership mendacity actually “happen”? Was it “merely” the result of a misguided Realpolitik or power politics in Israel? After all, from the start of his anti-scientific and anti-intellectual administration, Trump had presented himself as a “friend of Israel.” And doesn’t he also have a Jewish daughter and son-in-law?

Logically or intellectually, however, these were never compelling explanations or justifications. Why would a cosmopolitan nation founded upon Jewish principles of human dignity and higher learning declare its support of an American president who so openly loathed human empathy and civic virtue in any form? Though Trump supporters are always quick to identify the Abraham Accords as a tangible example of Trump-backed peace-maintenance and international coexistence, these contrived agreements did little more than codify non-belligerent relations with Sunni Arab governments that had never ever challenged such relations. At the same time, these agreements exacerbated Israeli and American relations with a recalcitrant leadership in Iran, a leadership which plainly regards the Abraham Accords as a cynical move by Washington/Jerusalem to further isolate and weaken Shiite Tehran.

Oddly, because Israel is generally a country of reasoning and education-oriented people, this degrading reciprocity was widely accepted among otherwise thoughtful Israeli citizens. Now, however, going forward, in moral, legal, and pragmatic survival terms, there will be a continuously high price to pay for Jerusalem’s complicity with Donald Trump’s naïve Realpolitik and his ubiquitous cruelty. It would be ironic too if Israel should become a more potent military power in the Middle East only by abandoning its raison d’etre, that is, its underlying rationale as a Jewish State. In more conventional parlance, all ought now to inquire as follows: “What purpose can there be for Israel to survive as a state at the expense of its very ‘soul.’”

Core Meanings of January 6

Looking back, among so many particular derelictions, the Trump administration endorsed and sought to replicate the worst features of authoritarian governance. While such a serious charge might ordinarily seem unreasonable, this can no longer be the case after January 6, 2021. On that day of viscerally fevered insurrection, and with unashamedly open support of white supremacy, an American president focused more on dominating his nation’s streets than on maintaining even the thinnest veneers of justice. Politically, how could this barbarous stance have been justified as “conservative?”

When, in the closing days of his now-aspiring dictatorship, Trump spawned a violent uprising against his own government, he was supporting the most egregious tenet of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. This was the supremely twisted message that once a lie becomes sufficiently monstrous and preposterous, it can, if “properly” fashioned, become more credible.“Intellect rots the mind,” declared Nazi Minister Goebbels at a Nuremberg party rally in 1934. “I love the poorly educated,” echoed then candidate Donald Trump to an American rally audience in 2016.

Jewish Obligations of a Higher Law

Moral and intellectual judgment ought never have been so easily cast aside in Jerusalem. From the start, Israelis ought to have known much better than to align their core interests and ideals with indefensible Trump crimes and derangements. Stingingly ironic too is that a principal surviving remnant of the Jewish People — that is, the legitimate Jewish State born directly from the ashes of genocidal murder — could identify its interests and its ideals with such a sorely disgraced human being. “Never again?” Makes sense, of course, but not just for any particular group. Judicially, any insistence upon Jewish exclusivity in such matters is unworthy and self-defiling. At best, it is also an oxymoron.

There is more. Certain tangible wrongs should be re-considered and taken into full account. Proudly, Donald Trump stood solidly behind multiple hate groups that vilify both universal human rights and specifically Jewish ideals of Higher Law. When this former president adopted cruel and illegal positions on immigration (i.e., positions that undermined various peremptory legal obligations concerning legitimate rights of refugees), and willfully separated thousands of young and infant children from their families at US borders, identifiable American offenses were more than “merely” illegal. They also represented a slap in the face to a people that had long-suffered from a uniquely frightful history of forced expulsions and international exclusions. This was, of course, the Jewish People.

Stephen Miller, Trump’s personal “architect” of immigrant exclusions, is himself the grandson of Jewish refugees from anti-Semitic pogroms in Europe. A key tenet of his grim standard for refugee admission to the United States had been “merit.” Like Trump, Miller pompously stipulated that only “the good ones” ought to be admitted.

It gets worse. In once unimaginable cases, Trump-created immigration offenses and corollary criteria of immigration selection reeked of earlier harms perpetrated against defenseless European Jews. The ironies are unspeakable, but remain well worth noting.

For those Israelis who were willing to cultivate US presidential support at all costs and whatever the moral/legal concessions, relevant details should be painful to recount. Until the bitter end, under the indifferent aegis of Donald J. Trump and his coterie of dedicated sycophants, an official US pattern of illegality included forced deportations of minor children and forcible expulsions of the most severely disadvantaged. It is not a pattern that ought ever to have been overlooked or embraced by a “Jewish State.” “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses….” command words inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, words from American Jewish author Emma Lazarus.

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False Presumptions About Trump and Peace

Other serious issues were involved in Israel’s willingness to betray its sacred ideals in “realistic” exchange for Trump patronage. Most perplexing and worrisome were those matters that centered on the always-key realms of war avoidance and peacemaking. In such essential matters, this US president’s lack of any informed and coherent vision of foreign affairs was obvious and consequential. How could these irremediable debilities ever have been so ignored in Jerusalem? How can they continue to be ignored by a “Jewish State?”

By preferring visceral seat-of-the-pants planning (“attitude, not preparation,” declared Trump) to any focused forms of policy creation, the former president sought to “reward” Israel with a series of marginal “victories” — e.g., moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a demonstrably Faustian agreement to arm the UAE with US F35s as quid pro quo for diplomatic recognition by Abu Dhabi and the “Abraham Accords.” At best, however, these alleged “gifts” to Israel will represent Pyrrhic victories. They lack absolutely any hints of substance.

There is more. All presumed Trump-bestowed benefits to Israel either ignore or exacerbate the more authentically critical security problems still at issue in the “neighborhood.” Most obvious and enduringly problematic here are the expectedly continuous antipathies of Palestinians and the still-accelerating nuclearization of Iran. In this regard, Trump’s unilateral US withdrawal from the JCPOA pact with Iran and his subsequent enhancement of selected Sunni Arab states only made matters worse. To be sure, further marginalizing Iran could hardly have signaled a propitious security outcome for Jerusalem.

Going forward, the several Palestinian elements seeking sovereignty with a determined prise de conscience, with an aroused consciousness, will not only remain fixed on achieving their overriding strategic goal. Plausibly, still seeking a nation-based Palestinian future, they will prepare for the next rounds of intercommunal violence. All this suggests, most urgently and with the de facto compliments of Donald J. Trump, another intifada.

What about the vaunted Abraham Accords? At every level of assessment, these agreements, negotiated via the former American president’s “good offices” — and also kindred agreements with Morocco and Sudan — are devoid of any gainful substance. In essence, to praise these Accords for enhancing Israel’s security is a bit like commending US President Ronald Reagan’s October 1983 invasion of Grenada on the grounds that Americans have not since had to face any catastrophic aggressions from Grenada. It is a caricatured praise.

When Israel-Palestinian relations and Israel-Iranian relations are taken into combined account, the “whole” of negative outcomes for Israel could prove more injurious than the simple sum of its respective “parts.” Here, as authentic synergies, net costs of the Trump-brokered agreements would significantly exceed Israel’s net gains. By definition, this means that at least as long as we can assume an Israeli capacity to estimate the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action, Jerusalem’s participation in these politically-concocted agreements was effectively irrational.

Even in the best of times, no one could reasonably describe the Middle East as a region of impending stability or collective security. In the worst of times, this endlessly-volatile region could quickly descend into a more far-reaching condition of chaos. Such a potentially lethal descent could have its precipitating origins in nuclear confrontation with Iran — a confrontation made more likely by Trump’s earlier withdrawal from the Obama-era Iran pact (JCPOA) and by his mid-November 2020 queries about launching an American military first strike.

Once again by definition, the calculable “whole” of tangible injurious effects suffered by Israel would be greater than the simple sum of its component “parts.”

From its predictably disjointed beginnings, the Trump presidency was detached from any identifiable considerations of history, law, or diplomacy. Until the bitter end, saddled with overwhelming and self-inflicted debilities, the former American president “advanced” unashamedly toward ever-more conspicuous postures of anti-reason. These non-analytic postures included conspiracy theories so morbidly vacuous and outrageous that they would make even the most witting fools blush with a well-deserved embarrassment. If this were not enough humiliation to worry about, all such critique ignores Donald Trump’s unhidden disrespect for elementary logic and science, most distressingly his preposterous correlations of Covid19 testing with increasing illness and his corresponding recommendation that US citizens should consider taking household disinfectants by ingestion or injection.

There is little here that is subject to any factual dispute. Former President Trump’s disjointed Corona Virus policy resulted in the needless deaths of a great many trusting Americans. Though lacking the “intent” or mens rea that is integral to the formally codified crime of genocide, the president’s Covid19 policy’s effect upon US civilian populations was effectively genocidal.

From the standpoint of American victims and their families, the juridical fine point here is immaterial. It’s a bit like the parable of frogs being killed by the playful rock-throwing of young children. The boys may not have intended any such harms, but the frogs remain dead nonetheless.

From the start of the Trump Era, Israel had been forewarned. In all complex matters of world politics and foreign policy, this American president had always operated by the “seat of the pants,” without any considered plan, without any sturdy analytic moorings. Whatever the subject, Trump always navigated precipitously, ad hoc, jumping wildly from crisis to crisis, always without an elementary grounding in theory, ideology or science. Like his appointed and uniformly obsequious subordinates, Trump read nothing, nothing at all.

To the everlasting delight of his American followers, there were three places this former president would never agree to visit: a museum, the theatre or a library. Is this an American president from whom Israel should ever have expected palpable wisdom or informed guidance? Is this a person with whom the classical Jewish ideals of learning and scholarship could reasonably have been associated?

For Jerusalem, though already very late in the “game,” the cumulative security consequences of any Trump-induced regional disorder (Trump said on several occasions, “I love chaos”) are apt to be far-reaching and at least partially irremediable. By assuming, without any verifiable reason, that this US President had ever had Israel’s best interests in mind or that he could conceivably have figured out what those national interests might actually have been, Israel will soon find itself dealing with otherwise once-avoidable regional crises. In pertinent worst case scenarios, such crises could have an expressly nuclear dimension.

Trump, Putin and “Westphalia”

Other basic questions should now surface in US policymaking circles. Whatever the specific issue at hand, Donald Trump, as president, remained beholden to Vladimir PutinHe would never have considered doing anything that did not first comport with the Russian dictator’s presumptive personal preferences. Today, in this regard, nothing has changed.


It’s not a silly question.

It deserves a proper answer.

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Donald J. Trump couldn’t have cared less about Israel’s national well-being or even its physical security. Always, his cynical outreach to Israelis and American Jews had only one self-serving objective. This goal was to re-elect Donald Trump and to extract ebullient homage (and money) for America’s reigning “emperor.”

That was all.

Now, more than ever, history deserves appropriate pride of place. Since the seventeenth-century, the structure of world politics has been consistently anarchic or “Westphalian.” But anarchy means “only” the absence of authoritative central government. To fully unravel still-meaningful effects of the destabilizing Trump presidency, Israel would need to prepare more systematically for various “centrifugal” foreign policy developments. The object of such rampant geo-strategic disorder would be identifiable as chaos.

Quo Vadis? For Israel, a true condition of chaos could prove far more threatening than “mere” anarchy. In virtually any still-expressible form, this bewildering condition could play havoc with even the nation’s best laid plans. From the particular standpoint of Israel’s military readiness, chaos represents a constantly unpredictable, deeply frightful and ever-changing “correlation of forces.” Suddenly or incrementally, this correlation could impair all “normal” (and potentially indispensable) national security preparations.

There is more. Such impairment could arrive suddenly, as a dissembling “bolt-from-the-blue” enemy attack, or less discernibly and less dramatically, in variously tangible but unforeseeable increments. Whatever its mode of arrival, such results for Israel could be intolerable. In large measure, these results will have been generated by misconceived and manipulative US presidential (i.e. Trump) thinking.

A new chaos is impending. For strategists and scholars, this new chaos must be differentiated from the more “normal” disorder associated with Carl von Clausewitz’s (the nineteenth-century Prussian military strategist) “friction” and its correlative “fog of war.” At its core, this Trump-boosted chaos describes a deep and systemic level of uncertainty, one that could create unprecedented and residually primal forms of international conflict. It follows, for Israel, that regional chaos could quickly and conclusively smother any still-simmering hopes for some cumulatively gainful “Trump Effect.”

In essence, there was never any defensible legal or strategic reason for Israel to fashion its formal compacts or understandings with a law-violating American president; that is, to betray its national interests and its Jewish ideals at the same time.

At best, even when considered together, the US embassy move and the Abraham Accords will prove of limited consolation or benefit to Israel. At worst, these “rewards” (designed originally only for Trump’s domestic political benefit) will be responsible for accelerating anti-Israel passions and policies, including new waves of Palestinian terror in Judea. Samaria (West Bank) and Israel proper. Any such revived instances of Sunni-Arab terror could hasten rather than hinder the creation of a Palestinian state, a plausibly portentous outcome for Israel that could hasten ominous synergies with Iranian nuclear weapons development. Moreover, once such creation had become a fait accompli, Israel would likely experience new incentives to initiate various “anticipatory self-defense” options.

Wittingly, many states in world politics, not just Israel, should soon acknowledge the steadily increasing risks from assorted forms of nuclear conflict. In this connection, Donald Trump’s flagrantly evident incapacity to manage a complex nuclear crisis and/or control any more-or-less related military escalations is difficult to dispute. Should this former US President have failed to prevent a single escalation from an ongoing crisis to overt nuclear warfare, the corollary effects could have impacted several other parts of the world. These effects would have arrived in the form of prompt, immediate or latent physical casualties, and less dramatically, as the probable cause of certain unique social and economic misfortunes.

A geometry of chaos

World politics is not geometry. In these complex spheres of interaction, ones where complex synergies are often involved, the whole can become greater than the sum of its parts. For Israel, going forward, the most obvious chaos-generated perils could concern (1) simultaneously escalating violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and/or Syria; (2) near-simultaneous deteriorations in a still-ongoing Iranian nuclearization effort and/or in the many-sided Palestinian insurgency; and (3) further escalations of Russian aggression against Ukraine, especially if there is any crossing of the nuclear threshold.

Facing such prospectively intersecting perils, Jerusalem is already well aware that the Hashemite monarchy in neighboring Jordan remains vulnerable to assorted new forms of Islamic radicalism. Also apparent to decision-makers in Jerusalem is that a continuously authoritarian el-Sisi military regime in Cairo might not be able to control the re-aspiring Muslim Brotherhood indefinitely. Nothing done by the Trump administration ever addressed any of these continuously key problems.

In principle, at least, the “Brotherhood” or its kindred organizations could sometime seek to get its hands on weaponized pathogens or even nuclear explosives. Regarding the “germ warfare” components, there would be grave uncertainties about plausible effects of use during any already ongoing viral pandemic. What then?

There is more. Apropos of any derivative “Trump effects” upon Israel’s national security, Pakistan exhibits another critical site of wider-area disintegration, one that could suddenly transform a “merely” volatile Middle East from basic Westphalian anarchy into a genuinely unfathomable chaos. To wit, if the already-nuclear regime in Islamabad should sometime fall to Jihadists, all other regional sources of chaotic disintegration could promptly pale into comparative insignificance. In this regard, there is no evidence that the Trump administration ever accomplished even a modicum of appropriate strategic planning.

In an expectedly worst case scenario for Israel, assorted Jihadists, emboldened by earlier expressions of Trump administration confusion and indecisiveness, would take singular or “hybrid” control in one or several of the more plainly unstable Sunni Arab and/or North African governments. Ultimately, these “martyrdom-driven” leaders could acquire certain game-changing weapons of mass destruction. This worrisome prospect, even if all acquired weapons were to remain non-nuclear, should bring to mind the fearsomely correlative scenario of a “suicide-bomber in macrocosm.”

A Jihadist “hybrid” could be a terror-group amalgam (that is, no direct state component) or reflect an asymmetrical alignment between particular terror-groups and a kindred state or states.

With the still-expected advance of an earlier Trump-enhanced chaos in the Middle East, Israel could sometime have to face certain nuclear and ideologically Islamist enemies on both the Iranian (Shiite) and Arab (Sunni) fronts. Even in the absence of old enemies with new atomic arms, nuclear and biological materials could find their way to Hezbollah in Lebanon and/or to Hamas in Gaza. Along the way, Jerusalem — perhaps still following former President Trump’s uncertain and disjointed policies  — could find itself having to take sides with one or another set of mortal enemies.

Back in the seventeenth-century, the English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, had already recognized that although international relations exist indefinitely in a “state of nature,” a condition of anarchy (not one of genuine chaos), these decentralized relations are nonetheless more tolerable than the condition of individual human beings living in similarly “everyone-for-himself” circumstances. This is the case, argued Hobbes, because nations, unlike individuals, lack the capacity to destroy one another utterly.

But today this once reassuring distinction is no longer meaningful. Thomas Hobbes was unable to conceptualize a world with nuclear weapons. Now, proliferation of these weapons, especially in the Middle East, could quickly reduce the orthodox and relatively tolerable Westphalian anarchy of international relations to an authentically Hobbesian chaos, a “state of nature,” a condition that could normally exist only between individuals.

Here, as more and more nations came to share what Hobbes had cleverly called “dreadful equality,” a more-or-less symmetrical capacity to inflict mortal destruction, the portent of regional nuclear calamity could become correspondingly more likely. 

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“…the blood dimmed tide is loosed…”

In his modern classic, “The Second Coming,” William Butler Yeats wrote of a time in which “the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” Succinctly, the celebrated Irish poet then revealed what continues to elude historians, diplomats, statesmen and scholars: In the not-too-distant future, there could arrive a moment wherein there would be no safety in numbers, treaties, or armaments; no help from “civilizations;” no counsel from public authority; and no last-minute rescue from science. Such an apocalyptic “moment,” one made more likely by the residual effects of America’s ill-prepared and steeply corrupted former president, might rage for a long while, perhaps until every flower of human culture had been trampled and every once-intact human community had been ground insidiously into dust.

From this resurrected medieval darkness, there would be neither escape nor sanctuary. Rather like the “America First” or “know nothing” illiteracy that Mr. Trump had championed in the United States, such darkness could envelop entire regions of our long-suffering planet in a suffocating pall. What then? What will Americans have learned from the still-enduring costs of Trump era declensions?

For Israel, the prime inheritor of Genesis, Trumpian chaos augured severe and paradoxical kinds of national fragility. As a continuously beleaguered microstate, Israel could still become (depending upon the precise extent to which it will have allowed itself to be manipulated by promised Trump “rewards”) the principal victim of an even more-rampant regional disorder. In view of the far-reaching interrelatedness of all world politics — always, everything is “system” — this victimization could arise even if the actual precipitating events of war and terror were to occur elsewhere.

Oddly enough, a triumphant global chaos could reveal both sense and form. Generated by mutually reinforcing explosions of mega-war and mega-terror, any further disintegrations of world authority could assume a revealing shape. But how should such a unique shape, such a sobering “geometry” of chaos, be suitably deciphered and purposefully understood in Jerusalem? As a related and similarly vital question, Israel’s leaders would then need to inquire:

“How should we deal with potentially irrational nuclear adversaries, dedicated foes operating within both state and terrorist groups?”

There is more. Among other things, the whole world, like the individual nation-states that comprise it, is best understood as a system. By definition, therefore, what happens in any one part of this world always affects what happens in some or all other parts. When, for example, global deterioration is marked, and begins to spread from one country to another, these effects could undermine international stability in general. When deterioration is sudden and catastrophic, as it would be following the onset of any unconventional war and/or act of unconventional terrorism, the unraveling effects could become more immediate and more overwhelming.

The State of Israel, a system of interdependent and interpenetrating parts like every other state, exists precariously in our larger world system. Aware that any Trump-inspired collapse of regional authority structures (most plausibly, in increments) had, in one way or another, impacted its few friends as well as its many enemies, leaders of the Jewish State should now advance variously informed expectations or scenarios of collapse. This would be done in order to best prepare suitable forms of response. Ultimately, recognizing that any rapid and far-reaching global collapse could spawn a more or less complete return to “everyone for himself” in world politics, or what philosopher Thomas Hobbes had called in Leviathan a bellum omnium contra omnes, a “war of all against all,” Israel’s leaders must consider just how they should respond to any future national life in a global “state of nature.”

These considerations would not present encouraging or pleasing forms of analytic effort. Still, they would represent prudential national policy steps, and must therefore be undertaken. Such eleventh-hour considerations could be critical to the extent that the triggering mechanism of collapse would originate within the Middle East itself, from massive chemical, biological and, in the future, nuclear attacks against Israel. In these continuously uncertain times of biological “plague,” the specific actions of any microbial assault would be largely unpredictable but highly consequential.

Any chaotic disintegration of the regional or wider-world system, whether slow and incremental or sudden and catastrophic, would impact the Israeli system. Accordingly, following the intellectually and morally deficient Trump presidency, Israel will have to orient its military planning doctrines more expressly toward worst-case possibilities. In the end, Israelis, not just Americans, will have to extricate themselves from various Trump-engineered misfortunes.

To avoid similar judgments or mistakes in the future, Israeli leaders ought never again calculate that the flamboyant wishes of an American president are ipso facto coincident with their own nation’s best interests. President Donald Trump inflicted deeply corrosive harms upon the United States, but he also set the stage for continuously creating corollary or corresponding harms to Israel. Now, these significant harms, left unresolved, could not only imperil the Jewish State’s physical security, but also its still-residual convictions concerning international justice and human rights.

A small nation that earlier chose to follow a dissembling and dishonest American president should expect a future of multiplying lamentations and potential despair.

For Israel, from the start, any deal made by US President Donald J. Trump “on its behalf” was essentially a bad deal. “Proof” of this once-preventable result is already evident in moral and legal realms; Soon, it will become similarly clear in matters of national strategy and self-defense. These matters will involve adversarial actions issuing forth from various sectors of the Sunni Arab world (including some that have been beneficiaries of Trump deal making) and Shiite Iran (including certain cooperating elements of Sunni al-Qaeda and Shiite Hezbollah).

For Israel, the Jewish State, it shouldn’t have to end this way. Recalling Rabbi Hillel, the applicable standard of correct behavior is longstanding, clear and compelling. “That which is hateful to you,” instructs Talmud, “do not do to your neighbor.”

Prima facie, it’s not complicated. Nothing has happened to minimize or abrogate this ancient instruction. For Jews in Israel or elsewhere, it represents a comprehensive command to avoid self-defilement. The rest is “commentary.”

Louis Rene BeresLouis Rene Beres  was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), and is Emeritus Professor of International Law at Purdue. His twelfth book, Surviving Amid Chaos: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy, was published in 2016. His other writings have been published in Harvard National Security Journal; Yale Global Online; World Politics (Princeton); Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Israel Defense; Parameters: Journal of the US Army War College; Special Warfare; Oxford University Press; The Jerusalem Post; Infinity Journal; BESA Perspectives; US News & World Report; The Hill; and The Atlantic.

This article was first published in Jurist