Despite the cold, over 100 people came to Congregation Adath Jeshurun (AJ) in Elkins Park on a Sunday morning to hear Trudy Rubin speak about foreign policy, including the politics and prospects for the Middle East. Rubin is the well known “Worldview” columnist for “The Inquirer” and is syndicated in other newspapers across the nation. The event was sponsored by the AJ Adult Education Committee.
Coming just two days after President Trump’s travel ban on Muslim countries, Rubin had much to say. The travel ban, she pointed out, does not reach the countries from which the largest number and worst terrorists have come to the United States. (Editor: By far, the majority of U.S terrorist attacks are perpetrated by Americans!) Neither does it take into account its possible destabilizing effects. For example, she noted that Jordan is an important ally of the U.S. But it is also host to one hundred thousand Syrian refugees, and is unable to afford to house or feed them or find them jobs. The American ban sets a precedent that is bad for the situation in Jordan. The government of Jordan holds a tenuous grasp on the situation, and our action endangers it.
Israel’s settlement policy has all but rendered impossible a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, Rubin said. Drawing from her travels touring settlements on the West Bank, Rubin concludes that the Israelis will soon have so extensively cut up the territory that no separate state can be established. When hope is lost for a negotiated Palestinian state, the present Palestinian administration will no longer be able to contain Hamas to Gaza. And when Hamas rises again on the West Bank, the Israelis will be forced to reoccupy that territory, resuming a very expensive and militarily difficult situation, according to Rubin.
Rubin stated her view that the Trump administration’s moves to date have made a chaotic world even more chaotic. She noted some of the questions that the president’s nominations to his Cabinet have raised.
Rubin expressed the view that the president will be duped by Russia’s Vladimir Putin into relieving our sanctions against Russia, entered in response to its takeover of the Ukrainian Crimea, without receiving any meaningful correction of the issue for the Ukraine. She pointed out that the Crimean annexation by Russia is the first time a boundary has been changed by military power in Europe since the end of World War II. Rubin noted the impact of the Russian action on other Eastern European countries, and the further impact if Trump drops the sanctions without achieving any pertinent relief for Ukraine.
A lively and informative question and answer session followed. Steve and Sima Sussman chair the AJ program series, which will continue on March 5 with journalist Adam Garfinkle as the guest speaker.