‘Antisemitic and insulting’: White House denounces Trump’s attack on US Jews

Ex-president told Jewish Americans to ‘get their act together’ and to ‘appreciate what they have in Israel before it’s too late,’ also claimed he’d easily be elected Israel’s PM

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House on October 17, 2022, in Washington. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP)
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House on October 17, 2022, in Washington. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP)

The White House on Monday condemned former US president Donald Trump’s “antisemitic” criticism of American Jews, who he charged were not sufficiently appreciative of his policies toward Israel.

In a Sunday statement, Trump called on Jews in the United States to “get their act together” while claiming he would cruise to victory if he ran for prime minister in Israel. The comments were denounced by the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee, among others.

“Donald Trump’s comments were antisemitic and insulting both to Jews and to our Israeli allies,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during the daily briefing.

“Let’s be clear, for years now, Donald Trump has aligned with extremist and antisemitic figures. It should be called out,” she added. “We need to root out antisemitism everywhere it rears its ugly head.”

She also said US-Israel ties are “ironclad” and “rooted in shared values and interests. Donald Trump clearly doesn’t understand that either.”

Trump’s statement, which was posted to his social media platform Truth Social, argued that “no President has done more for Israel” and said Evangelical Christians “are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the US.”

Citing his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights and role in brokering the Abraham Accords between Israel and regional states, Trump said it was “a different story” in the Jewish state, where he said he had “the highest approval rate in the world” and “could easily be PM [prime minister].”

Trump urged Jews in the US to “get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel – Before it is too late!” He did not elaborate.

Then-US president Donald Trump speaks at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Hollywood, Florida, December 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Trump has frequently castigated US Jews for their perceived lack of gratitude and support and often conflated Israeli interests with those of American Jews.

A poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute in November 2020 found that 70 percent of Jewish Israelis considered a victory for Trump over Joe Biden in the US presidential election to be preferable for Israeli interests.

While many US Jews are generally supportive of Israel, they have consistently rejected accusations of dual loyalty toward the Jewish state, typically seen as an antisemitic canard.

Trump’s posting came days after the right-wing Zionist Organization of America announced that it would bestow on Trump a rare honor, listing his multiple initiatives that aligned US policy more with Israel’s hawks, including moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, cutting funding to the Palestinians, exiting the Iran deal and recognizing Israelis sovereignty in the Golan Heights.

JTA contributed to this report.

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