Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner for president, is a confirmed speaker at the annual policy conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee next week. His many offensive, outrageous statements should have disqualified him from the invite list, but then again, they also should have disqualified him from earning a single primary vote for president.
Here are my suggestions for what the conference attendees — 18,000 registered, by one count — should do:
1) AIPAC can’t disinvite him. That’s not good manners, even if the invitee has shown he doesn’t have any himself.
2) AIPAC should give him a time slot somewhere between 3:00 and 3:45 am.
3) If that’s not possible, schedule his appearance before Hillary Clinton speaks. Let her eviscerate him. That’ll give him a taste of what’s to come.
4) As many attendees as possible should stay away. Trump seems like a man who gets hives if he sees empty seats.
5) If attendees can’t stay away — he’s the entertainment, after all — they should be very, very quiet. Like, sit-on-your-hands quiet. No jeers, definitely no cheers. Not even a polite clap. Just silence.
6) No music for his entrance.
7) No music for his exit.
8) No introduction. Does he really need one?
9) No “thank you” afterwards. A nod from the emcee will do.
10) No live streaming. He’s gotten more than his share of free publicity for months now.
11) No Trump swag.
12) No snarky tweets during or afterwards. The attendees and conference organizers need to display Ghandian self-discipline. I know that’s hard for us Jews — we’re an outspoken, passionate bunch, especially about Israel. But one thing that Trump has not faced is the silent treatment from a group he desperately wants to love him. Deny him that love, that attention. Put him in his place with all the dignity and elegance he lacks.
13) And then maybe AIPAC won’t have to invite him back as president next year.
Jane Eisner, a pioneer in journalism, is writer-at-large at the Forward and the 2019 Koeppel Fellow in Journalism at Wesleyan University. For more than a decade, she was editor-in-chief of the Forward, the first woman to hold the position at the influential Jewish national news organization. Under her leadership, the Forward’s digital readership grew significantly, and won numerous regional and national awards for its original journalism, in print and online.