By Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom—
The effort to impeach and remove US President Donald Trump from office has produced many losers and few winners. The drama of the trial in the US Senate is must-see TV for political junkies, but it has also been dispiriting viewing for Americans of all political stripes. Few issues have divided the country more starkly than the question of whether or not the president should be removed from office. The arguments from both sides of the spectrum and their lawyers, as well as from the talking heads on television, have not worked to change any minds from their original political positions.
This means that no matter where you stand on impeachment, it’s painfully clear that Americans will emerge from this bruising battle even more at odds with those with whom they disagree, harboring bitter grudges that they may never entirely give up.
Amid the damage coming from all the nasty arguments Trump opponents and Trump supporters have not merely disagreed on, but often delegitimized and demonized each other over, is the entire notion of a bipartisan consensus on behalf of the State of Israel.
Building any consensus that stretches across the vast chasm that separates the two major political parties is a heavy lift, no matter what topic is at issue these days. But it has become increasingly difficult to speak about Israel in a manner that is not affected by opinions about the president and his detractors.
That was particularly obvious this week during the announcement of the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan at the White House, televised while the impeachment trial was being held at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. In a more normal political universe, the unveiling of any such scheme wouldn’t necessarily be considered a partisan event, no matter the identity of the president. And were the plan in question considered to be favorable to the Jewish state – or at least rooted in ideas that were widely held by most Israelis – it should not be difficult to portray that plan or the motives of those promoting it as something that Republicans and Democrats ought to at least treat as a reasonable starting point for future negotiations.
But in an atmosphere in which everything Trump says or does is viewed by his opponents as not merely debatable but more evidence of his personification of evil, there was never a chance that the administration’s proposal was going to get much of hearing from his opponents.
To note this is not to argue that its terms were above reproach, even if they seem far more based in the realities of the conflict then those of his predecessors, which were the product of magical thinking about the willingness of the Palestinians to make peace. But it bears pointing out that it is hard to think of anything that might have been put forward by any previous administration that was supported by both major political blocs in Israel – the Likud-led coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Blue and White Party led by Benny Gantz, the former general that is his rival – that would not be viewed as non-controversial by both major American parties. Continue Reading….