What Trump Really Represents
I was just a simple airline employee for the luxurious Qatar Airways, biding my time in the service industry before beginning my studies towards a masters degree, when I encountered now US presidential candidate Donald Trump several times in the course of a few months. We had instructions straight from the top that he was to be treated exceptionally; he would always fly first class, of course, all this courtesy of the Qatari royal family, the al-Thanis, who also own the airline.
I was supervising check-in agents and my first time meeting him was enough to understand that this guy was a slick chauvinist who would use anyone to get what he wanted. Just in my brief encounters with him before his flights, he would both make exceptionally offensive statements about women and flirt with them all in one amazing stroke.
In addition to the gender issues, I cannot imagine what has compelled Trump to ever utter even a hint of criticism against Muslims, considering his ties to the Muslim world and the hospitality that he has eagerly partaken of from Muslims. His investments and connections to several Muslim countries are extensive.
I wonder if he has ceased profiting from these lucrative ventures, such as his massive projects in the Emirates, some of which were quite questionable from a human rights perspective? I wonder if Trump’s partnership with Dubai luxury property developer, Damac Properties, or his friendship and business with Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker are seen as problematic to his supporters? Or maybe rich Muslims are okay; it’s only the ones fleeing with nothing on their backs that make people uncomfortable.
If he speaks against the most needy Muslims fleeing Islamic extremism, but has no qualms in benefiting from the powerful elites in whose hands the Muslim world is actually shaped, then the hypocrisy has reached new heights.
But the truth is, this is not just about Donald Trump. He merely represents a reality that has become widespread; he is simply one figurehead among many hypocritical elites who merely point to the victims as the culprits, knowing that if the real oppressors are revealed, they have much to lose. And so the wheels of greed and oppression that this world runs on continue.
Here in Israel and Palestine, we saw similar rhetoric in last year’s Israeli elections. In fact, the elections resulted in a win for Netanyahu, who had urged Jewish Israelis to go out and vote as, according to him, Arabs were “voting in droves.” His entire campaign was based on fear and hate, claiming the left-wing was aiding terror and demonizing all Palestinians, including those with Israeli citizenship.
As believers in a Messiah who came to break the yoke of suffering placed on the majority of humanity by systems that make idols out of money and power, the worst thing we can do is support such people, whether they be Trump in America or his equivalent here among Israelis and Palestinians. We bring the Good News and cannot align ourselves any longer with leaders who represent greed, racism and a hopeless obsession with power. What do such alliances say to a weary, struggling world?