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John Chuckman



This is foolish.

First, being related to Anne Frank qualifies someone with absolutely no expertise or even knowledge of this or any other political matter.

She’s entitled to her view, of course, but it means not a jot more than the views of 7 billion other humans who will not receive publicity in The Guardian.

Second, for any informed person her assertion is close to ridiculous.

I reject most of Trump’s views, but I would never compare them to Hitler’s.

I don’t even understand how anyone who knows anything can say this. Just read one of the better biographies of Hitler – Allan Bullock or Joachim Fest, for example – and you will quickly understand why I say this.

Confusing unpleasantness and unacceptable views with monomania and nihilism shows pretty poor judgement.

In fact, in a few areas, Trump is exactly Hitler’s opposite. He tends to be anti-imperial wars, and he voices a sensible view about Russia and China.

These are the areas where Trump does bring something new to American national politics. Our political systems, unfortunately, are such that any national candidate comes with a bundle of views and issues. If you buy into one part of the bundle, you must take, willy-nilly, the rest. No one comes with a platform completely satisfying to most voters.

Trump comes with some very heavy baggage, yet he does have the potential to bring some welcome change to international affairs, an end to decades of pointless war in which the U.S. has been engaged.

I utterly reject ideas like his wall with Mexico, and further I don’t believe it would prove doable. But it does seem to me that criticism of him is highly selective. How is his wall proposal any different than Israel’s walls? It isn’t, and indeed Israel is building still more walls, but they don’t receive the publicity that Trump’s proposal does.

Again, I utterly oppose selecting a kind of immigrant who is unacceptable, especially Muslims who are in my personal experience excellent people.

Yet Trump has not proposed a ban or an end, he has proposed a pause, and that is a very different thing. There can be no question that massive Muslim – or any other specific, culturally different – migration over a short time can cause huge social adjustment problems, as it very much is doing today in Europe.

However, please think about the absolute root cause of this sudden massive migration: it is America’s violent tear through the Middle East, upsetting old societies, killing tens of thousands, destroying countless homes and institutions. Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and others. That American savagery is source of all our headlines today, and this consideration takes us back to the importance of changing American foreign policy.

I think it worth noting, too, that Israel has a permanent ban on many, many kinds of immigrants. For some recent poor black refugees it did not want to accept, given embarrassing public outrages over black migrants, it actually bribed some African states to take them, where I’m sure their future, given the circumstances of their arrival, will be bleak.

Israel truly grants full citizenship to only one kind of people, its million or so Arab citizens being both an accident of 1948 history and a people who live under constant shadows and threats of expulsion as well as a set of laws which do not treat them equally in almost any matter.

Of course, then there are the five million or so Palestinians – some of whom are Christian and some Muslim – who live under illegal occupation with daily abuse, no rights, no votes, no hopes, and not even secure ownership of homes or farms. I haven’t heard Trump advocating anything resembling that ghastly reality which has endured in Israel for half a century.

So, if you are of a mind to criticize Trump’s more extreme ideas, then you should be in the forefront of doing the same for, not just a dismal prospect, but a dismal reality in Israel.

“We haven’t really learnt anything—I’m depressed by the current situation.” I can at least say amen to Eva Schloss on that, but I’m sure we are not talking about the same situation.



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