Monday, March 14, 2016

AIPAC's Trump Invite is Taking PC a Step Too Far; Is Trump Simply Misunderstood?

I am ashamed, embarrassed and angry. I am ashamed, embarrassed and angry that an organization that purports to be American and Jewish has invited Donald Trump to be a speaker at its annual policy conference.

AIPAC, the American Israel Political Action Committee, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, has for years asked leading presidential contenders to speak to its assembled thousands. Hillary Clinton was also invited.

But political correctness should be put aside when it comes to Trump. He surely does not practice it and neither should AIPAC in this instance. Disinviting Trump would not be seen as showing favor toward Democrats. After all, leaders of the Republican Party, including all remaining contenders for the presidential nomination, have denounced Trump’s style and substance for encouraging hooliganism and behavior that is un-American.

I am ashamed, embarrassed and angry that under the cover of political neutrality AIPAC has offered a platform to a bigot, a misogynist, a racist, a nativist, a bully, a neofascist. Trump should not be handed an opportunity to strut before an audience that should be repulsed by everything he has espoused during and prior to this campaign. Supposed devotion to Israel should not be an excuse for legitimizing a candidate who inspires modern day brown shirt tactics and who has advocated policies in defiance of the U.S. constitution and international law.

AIPAC has compromised its standing as an organization with Jewish values. Did AIPAC not learn anything from Trump’s appearance last December before the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Presidential Forum? Did it not observe that he is a stereotypical anti-Semite?

For sure there will be Jews at AIPAC who are Republicans, who are dismissive of President Obama and Hillary Clinton, who don’t like Bernie Sanders. That’s politics. It is always appropriate and important to invite speakers with diverse viewpoints. But imbuing authenticity and legitimacy upon a demagogue like Trump is shameful for a Jewish organization.

AIPAC should immediately rescind its invitation to Trump. I doubt it will. I had not intended to go to the AIPAC conference. If I had the opportunity, I would picket Trump’s appearance. At the very least I would urge all who are attending the AIPAC conference to show they care about the quality and dignity of our nation’s government by walking out en masse as a protest to Trump’s presence at the podium.

The principled thing to do is to take a stand. We are not talking here about Trump’s right to speak. His campaign can pay for all the venues it chooses for him to spout his venom. By inviting Trump AIPAC is bestowing a mantle of legitimacy on evil. For that I am ashamed. Embarrassed. And angry.

Is He Just Misunderstood? Yes, he’s really just a misunderstood fella. Few friends. Uncomfortable around strangers. His ego is easily bruised. “Deep down, he’s a very nice guy,” Abe Wallach told The New York Times.

Wallach should be in a position to know. He once worked for Trump as head of the billionaire’s acquisition team. In a personality profile in Sunday’s paper under the headline “For Trump, Friends in Few Places,” Wallach followed up his nice guy appraisal by saying “but he can’t let go and just be nice because he fears that people will take advantage of him. Donald is actually the most insecure man I’ve ever met. He has this constant need to fill a void inside. He used to do it with deals and sex. Now he does it with publicity.” (

I can attest, secondhand, to Trump’s insecurity. About 15 or 20 years ago one of my editors, Marianne, went to a retail technology conference in Hilton Head, SC. Trump was an attendee.

As it happened, Marianne and Trump were seated at the same dinner table. The rest of the 10 attendees came from small chains headquartered in small cities and towns across America. In that pre-Apprentice time, few knew of the not-yet-realized reality TV star. He, in turn, showed little interest in them after he discovered Marianne worked in Manhattan. He showered her with attention, she told me upon her return to New York. Alas, they haven’t spoken or seen each other since.

Blame Obama: It’s commonplace among Republicans to blame President Obama for all of the ills that afflict our country, and for that matter, the world. 

Now it comes out Trump’s race for the presidency can be placed squarely on Obama’s shoulders. According to another Times article, Obama’s ridiculing of Trump during the April 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner galvanized The Donald to seek stature as a legitimate political force (

Surely a classic example of the law of unintended  consequences.