A senior Trump adviser discussed policy on several issues critical to Jewish and pro-Israel constituents, including campus anti-Semitism, the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, the Iran nuclear deal and Jewish education in the U.S.
By Barney Breen-Portnoy, The Algemeiner
A Donald Trump administration would ask the Justice Department to investigate coordinated attempts to intimidate Israel-supporters on US campuses, a senior adviser to the Republican presidential candidate revealed to The Algemeiner on Monday in a new policy announcement.
“Colleges are generally being far too lenient in allowing the pro-Palestinian community to deprive those in the pro-Israel camp of their First Amendment right to free speech,” said attorney David Friedman — with whom Trump regularly consults on matters related to the Jewish state. “This is a serious constitutional deprivation, so it is something that must be looked at.”
Where Trump’s approach to Middle East peacemaking is concerned, Friedman said that, as part of any future Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, the administration would not expect the Jewish state to uproot its citizens who now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
“It is inconceivable there could be a mass evacuation on that magnitude, in the unlikely event that there was an otherwise comprehensive peace agreement,” Friedman said. “It makes no sense for Judea and Samaria to be Judenrein [void of Jews], any more than it makes sense for Israel to be Arabrein [void of Arabs]. It’s not fair.”
This would mark a departure from the Obama administration, which criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year after he said, as reported by The Algemeiner, that the main obstacle to peace was the demand of Palestinian leaders for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews from the West Bank.
Friedman went on: “The critical thing is to recognize that there is not going to be any progress on a Palestinian state until the Palestinians renounce violence and accept Israel as a Jewish state. Until that happens, there is really nothing to talk about in terms of a political process.”
What our administration will not do, Friedman said, “is put its finger on the scale and try to force Israel into a particular outcome, but rather will support Israel in reaching its own conclusion about how to best achieve peace with its neighbors.”
“We trust Israel,” he continued. “We think it is doing an excellent job of balancing its respect for human rights and its security needs in a very difficult neighborhood. Israel is a partner with the US in the global war against terrorism. And we want our partner to be attendant to that task and not distracted by foreign countries telling it what to do. That’s really the overall premise of the policy — to respect Israel as a partner, and not to unduly influence its decisions.”
Furthermore, Friedman said, “The only thing that makes sense now is to take small steps to try to improve circumstances on the ground and provide encouragement and assistance to Palestinians who are not pursuing a hateful agenda.”
Turning to the nuclear deal reached last year between Iran and the P5+1 nations, Friedman said a Trump administration would “reengage with the world powers in a way that seeks to reintroduce leverage on Iran. A nuclear Iran in nine years is unacceptable. Nine years may sound like a long time, but it passes in the blink of an eye.”
Friedman predicted that Trump would fare better among Jewish voters than his Republican predecessors Mitt Romney (30%) and John McCain (22%) did in the past two presidential elections.
“If you didn’t like the Obama relationship with Israel, you’re not going to like the Hillary Clinton one,” he said. “And I think Jews who care about Israel recognize that.”
Regarding education — an issue of interest to many Jewish voters — David Peyman, the Trump campaign’s national director of Jewish affairs, told The Algemeiner on Monday that, as president, Trump would “add an additional federal investment of $20 billion in school choice programs, understanding the fact that currently if you send your kid to a Jewish day school or, for that matter, a Catholic school, you are effectively funding two school systems. One is the public school system through property taxes, and the second is the private school through your tuition.”
Trump, Peyman said, “recognizes the fact that there should be some relief there. This will be done by reprioritizing existing federal dollars. We will give states the option to allow these funds to follow the student to the public or private school they attend. Distribution of this grant will favor states that have private school choice, magnet schools and charter laws, encouraging them to participate.”
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