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Monday, December 17, 2018

So am I going to be a bad person if I tell you something you don’t necessarily want to hear?

Coming from socialist summer camps and a liberal Democrat family, I decided not to make up my mind about the President. So when Donald Trump got up to the microphone, I closed my eyes for as long as I could and listened.

I’m here to propose to you that if anyone else got up on that stage and said most of the words that Donald Trump said, he or she would have been given a standing ovation by the AIPAC audience.

I got so tired of people whining about how they were going to walk out on Trump during his AIPAC message. Walking out is the coward’s way to make a decision. You don’t walk out on a person delivering a message contrary to yours. You stay and you try to understand where that person is coming from.

I read through all of his quotes, and they sounded like a person who wasn’t indifferent towards Israel. They sounded like a person who wasn’t apologizing for his positive feelings towards Israel. He did not appease those who hate Israel.

I am not saying that Hillary didn’t deliver some strong lines of her own. She was strong, as was Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Bernie, oy, I feel as if we’ve been betrayed by this guy. He doesn’t show up to the party, yet he says disparaging things about Israel, pandering to the anti-Israel voter?

So let’s call it “Super Monday.” It was the day we all were waiting for at the AIPAC Policy Conference, and now as high school students might say, “It is so 20 minutes ago.”

Perhaps the biggest news story was that Donald Trump was arguably not the same guy who arrogantly turned off the Republican Jewish Coalition last December. Gone was his so-called “neutrality” on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Trump told the crowd that when he is president, he will resist any attempt to impose peace terms on Israel. He, instead, vowed to confront Palestinian terrorism and to “move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”

Perhaps his most applauded line came when he said that “when I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one.”

But let’s not forget, all of the candidates knew what they had to say to the AIPAC crowd to get it on its feet.

Clinton is the likely standard bearer of her party. The former Secretary of State talked about the story of Purim. She said that “Queen Esther refused to stay silent in the face of evil and so should Americans.” She went after Trump and his pre-AIPAC comments about Middle East neutrality when she said, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.” Quoting Elie Weisel, she said, “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Ted Cruz, who is a frequent and forceful speaker for Christians United for Israel (CUFI), comfortably took the AIPAC stage and said, “We need a president who will be a champion for America, and we need a president who will be a champion for Israel.”

Cruz said he would “rip to shreds” the Iran deal and pledged to go to New York himself as President to veto any United Nations Security Council resolution that recognized Palestine as a state outside of the context of talks with Israel.

For Gov. John Kasich the line to remember was his promise to stem the “Palestinian culture of death.” He made the case that his experience as Ohio’s chief executive made him the best candidate equipped to conduct foreign policy and “ensure Israel’s security.”

Flash forward. Now we can unfortunately ask a question that was foisted on all of us. We awoke Tuesday morning with the news that Islamic terrorists in a coordinated attack murdered and maimed innocent people at the Brussels Belgium airport and train station. In a matter of 24 hours, “Super Monday” became “Reality Tuesday”; the revolving red CNN “Breaking News” banner and the flashing Fox News “Alert” logo had left AIPAC, switching to Brussels where at this writing over 30 people were killed and over 100 maimed by terrorist suicide bombers at the train station and the airport.

So now we ask the question emerging out of the terror in Belgium, which one of the candidates do you think would best respond to this unbridled terrorism or for that matter best suggest preventative measures to attack Islamic terrorism?

But the bottom line is are we sure that any of the candidates are ready for what happened in Brussels?

We really need to know the answer.

Because the radicalized Islamists who killed citizens of Belgium and France are connected to ISIS which is connected to Hezbollah which is connected to Hamas. Israelis were killed last weekend in Turkey by an ISIS suicide bomber. ISIS is operating against Egypt in the Sinai, and Hezbollah has a new front against Israel in Syria. And it seems that almost on a daily basis we read of another “lone” wolf terror stabbing in Israel.

So candidates Trump, Clinton, Cruz, Kasich and Sanders, what about the terrorism? If you were President, what would you be doing the day after most of you told the AIPAC crowd everything they wanted to hear?

AIPAC Policy Conference has come and gone. Whose words will hold up in the coming months?

Super Monday at AIPAC didn’t bring me that clarity.

Tuesday made it clear to me, however, that I want a President who is going to be strong and not tepid, and who is going to make sure that the U.S., Israel and its allies will respond to terrorism with force, not politically correct verbiage but strength.

Which one of the candidates that we heard this past Monday would you want in office this past Tuesday?

My eyes aren’t closed now. They are wide open, and I’m listening.

By Phil Jacobs