The Jewish Report Editorial

What Donald Trump does, matters to us

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“Why should I care if Donald Trump rules in America? It doesn't affect me.” This sentiment, which was proffered as feedback for our edition last week, seems to be widespread among the community. Some food for thought from editor Peta Krost Maunder
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Feb 16, 2017

I find it curious that people believe that what happens in what is perceived to be the “centre of the free world” doesn't impact on us. I understand we are continents away and our way of life may be different, but we are all connected.

Consider how many of us have relatives living in the US. It is so commonplace to hear a South African accent in places like Boca Rotan in Florida and even in New York, Washington and Chicago.  Suffice to say, the Jewish world is a small one.

But, that’s not all. What happens in the US has a direct impact on Israel and South Africa. The connection between the US and Israel is a bit like a child tied to its mother by its umbilical cord. The only issue is that the brain of the mother keeps changing and sometimes she is not quite as fond of her baby as at other times. While she looks after her young, she doesn’t always back her on every decision the youngster makes.

As for the connection with South Africa, we are part of a world that is impacted by the uber-powerful US on economic, social and political levels.

Clearly Trump was not our biggest fan. “I really like Nelson Mandela but South Africa is a crime-ridden mess that is just waiting to explode - not a good situation for the people!”

This was a Tweet Trump made back in December 2013. Then in 2015, he tweeted: “As I have long been saying, South Africa is a total - and very dangerous - mess. Just watch the evening news (when not talking about weather).”

However, perhaps things are looking up for our relationship following Trump’s much hyped request to call President Jacob Zuma on Monday. The two leaders were said to reaffirm their commitment to strengthening bilateral relations between them and security matters on this continent.

“There are 600 US companies in South Africa and strong trade relations between the two countries,” according to the SA presidency.

So, does Trump matter to us? I would say he does, whether we agree with his policies and ideas about running a country or not. Does it matter that there are many Jews in his Cabinet? I would say it does. Does it matter what he does about ISIS? Yes, because ISIS would be happy if we weren’t on the face of this earth. Does it matter if he gives his 100 per cent support to settlements? Sure does.

Elana Stein, from the Academy of Jewish Thought who spoke at Greenside Shul over Tu B’Shvat, made this relationship we have so clear in biological terms. She described how a fig can only be pollinated by wasps, but not just any wasp. Each sub-species of fig has to be pollinated by a specific sub-species of wasp.

If a specific type of wasp becomes extinct, the type of fig it pollinates will die out. If that happens, it will sorely impact on that ecosystem, including the animals and possibly humans that rely on the figs.

That will have a microcosmic impact, which will then spread. For me, this is an analogy of how we operate as Jews, as the Jewish world, as South Africans and citizens of the world. It matters to us what happens in the US and in the rest of the world.

Just some food for thought.

Shabbat Shalom!

 Peta Krost Maunder

1 Comment

  1. 1 nat cheiman 16 Feb
    Correct. Well said. I like the analogy about wasps.
    Of course, your articulation is intellectual although, most in the world today do not aspire to the cerebral cognitive, unfortunately.
    And that is the reason Jews need an ISRAEL. A home for Jews, because many people do not care about figs nor honey.
    A great article. Thank you.


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