Column: Who has the moral authority to speak about Israel’s excesses? Certainly not Donald Trump

Donald Trump addressing a crowd in bleachers, decorated with flags and bunting,  at an outdoor rally
At a rally in Vandalia, Ohio, on March 16, the former president predicted a “bloodbath” if he isn’t relected in November.
(Jeff Dean / Associated Press)

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer was not only brave but correct recently when he called for new Israeli elections and the ouster of hard-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has thumbed his nose at the world with his callous and continuing assault on the people of Gaza.

“We love Israel in our bones,” said Schumer, a Democrat and the highest-ranking elected Jewish official in American history, as he proceeded to explain why, for Israel to survive and flourish, Netanyahu must go.

Opinion Columnist

Robin Abcarian

“We should not let the complexities of this conflict stop us from stating the plain truth,” Schumer said. “Palestinian civilians do not deserve to suffer for the sins of Hamas, and Israel has a moral obligation to do better. The United States has an obligation to do better.”


Offended that Schumer would dare speak truth to Bibi, Senate Republicans immediately invited the Israeli leader to address them privately. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has said he will invite Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress. Schumer, to his credit, turned down Netanyahu’s request to privately address Senate Democrats, but he welcomed the idea of a speech to the full Congress.

“Israel has no stronger ally than the United States and our relationship transcends any one president or any one prime minister,” Schumer said in a statement. “I will always welcome the opportunity for the prime minister of Israel to speak to Congress in a bipartisan way.”

Many Jewish faith leaders and commentators in the U.S. are decrying what they say are inflammatory remarks by former President Trump.

March 21, 2024

And former President Trump’s contribution to this delicate moment?

The GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee has shown once again that he is incapable of demonstrating the intellectual, emotional or political nuance required of world leaders.

“Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion,” Trump told podcast host and MAGA sycophant Sebastian Gorka. “They hate everything about Israel, and they should be ashamed of themselves because Israel will be destroyed.”

Trump’s increasingly desperate rhetoric mirrors his increasingly desperate legal and financial situation.

He has failed to come up with enough money to cover the multimillion-dollar judgment against him in a New York fraud case and now finds himself in a previously unthinkable place.


The Biden administration is frustrated on two fronts over Israel’s war in Gaza. Russia and China vetoed a U.S. cease-fire resolution as Blinken met with resistance from Netanyahu.

March 22, 2024

He is contemplating what must be — to him — the horror of either declaring bankruptcy or selling off some of his precious real estate, much of which is apparently less valuable than he has claimed, which is partly why he is in this predicament in the first place.

Trump is like a cornered animal, spitting and snarling his way toward November.

A little more than a week ago, he warned autoworkers in Ohio of a “bloodbath” if he does not win the 2024 campaign. His choice of words has occasioned much commentary on whether he was speaking narrowly about the fate of the auto industry in a second Biden administration, or in general about what a loss would unleash from his disappointed voters. (The actual quote was ambiguous: “Now, if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole — that’s going to be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country.”)

Anyway, searching for subtlety or clarity in a Trump speech is pointless.

For argument’s sake, though, let’s say he was speaking metaphorically and not calling for a literal armed insurrection in the event of yet another election failure.

Does anyone really think if Trump loses a second time to President Biden he will go quietly?

He has already presided over a literal bloodbath — you know, the one that took place on Jan. 6, 2021 — and seemed to enjoy it immensely.

In fact, on the same day Trump was ranting to autoworkers, former Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, his nemesis, was being interviewed at the New Orleans Book Festival by the biographer Walter Isaacson.


Former President Trump is bashing California in his 2024 campaign; if he wins he wants to force it to change — on environment, immigration, LGBTQ issues and more.

March 18, 2024

Cheney told Isaacson that during testimony given to the House committee investigating Jan. 6, she’d learned that the president, who was watching the riot unfold on television, did nothing to stop it even after being informed that someone had been shot trying to break into the House chamber. (That was, of course, Ashli Babbitt, whom Trump has tried to turn into a martyr, along with the “hostages” and “unbelievable patriots” now incarcerated for storming the Capitol.)

“We know that when he was handed that note, he put it down on the table in front of him and he continued to watch the attack on television,” Cheney said. “Now, I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, that’s depravity.”

No question about that.

In his new book, “The Return of Great Powers,” CNN’s chief national security analyst Jim Sciutto quotes Trump’s second chief of staff, John F. Kelly, as saying that Trump had spoken favorably of Adolf Hitler.

“Well, but Hitler did some good things,” Kelly said Trump told him when Kelly urged the president to stop praising the genocidal Nazi warmonger.

“It’s pretty hard to believe he missed the Holocaust, though, and pretty hard to understand how he missed the 400,000 American GIs that were killed in the European theater,” Kelly told Sciutto.

Hard to believe that this is the man Republicans are trying to put back in the White House.