How America Looks From Here
Israel must quickly learn the lessons of the misfortunes befalling America, lest they be imported here in short order
Donald Trump, who contrary to current media portrayals is still the President of the United States, issued an unprecedented emergency declaration this week that conspicuously failed to mention President-elect Joe Biden.
Some Hebrew-language media (such as the Toronto-based private TV channel Perspectiva) speculated that a surprise was in store for January 20, and that, in short, Trump wouldn’t be vacating the White House. Normally, I’d dismiss such scenarios, but these aren’t normal times. If you’d told me a week ago that Big Tech would effectively silence a sitting American president, gang up on an upstart messenger favored by conservatives (Parler), and that commercial companies would take aim at any business identified as supportive of Trump, I wouldn’t have believed that, either.
Watching from here what is happening over there, what comes to mind is the Great Purge of the 1930s perpetrated by Joseph Stalin (after finishing writing this piece, I saw Fox News talking about “the purge”), which began with a massive political campaign to demonize “dissidents,” all of whom ended up dead or in the Gulag. It is next to impossible that a Stalin-style purge will happen in the US, but a great purge is nonetheless taking place right now.
The boldness of those helping the incoming administration get rid of political opponents is truly unprecedented, at least in the US. But the truth is that this all began four years ago with Trump’s election, when a movement was birthed that came to be known as “Cancel Culture,” in which Trumpists and even just plain old conservatives were harassed to the point of losing jobs and reputation. Still, as insidious as Cancel Culture may be, for the most part its coming from NGOs and other private groups.
But when corporate giants like Facebook and Twitter pull the rug out from under a myriad of “dissidents,” they do so with the full knowledge and consent of political leaders who want such dissenting voices to disappear. This is a purge by (enthusiastic) proxy, perpetrated by those eager to take revenge and reap the spoils of a defeated foe, who in this case is a fellow American citizen.
As one watching from afar, the events unfolding in the US strike me as a suspension of democracy. In the wake of the 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords, and in light of the fact that this agreement was made possible through political bribery in broad daylight, then-Education Minister Yuli Tamir stated that sometimes democracy must be suspended to effect significant change. Democracy is now suspended in America for the exact same reason, which is fully justified, at least in the eyes of one side.
Regrettable as it may be, the misfortune to now befall poor Americans just might prove to be a blessing in disguise for Israelis, who know that what Democrats are doing over there, Leftists will also do here, given the chance. What we’re witnessing now–the hate, the fear, the purge–should horrify any freedom-loving person regardless of political affiliation. Ignoring the lessons pouring out from our greatest ally could plunge Israel into the same chaos America’s now experiencing. Because as bad as this situation is for America, importing it to Israel could prove detrimental.