Jewish groups pan Trump antisemitic tropes after remarks on Israeli, Jewish control

ADL chief says ex-president’s comments are ‘antisemitic, plain and simple’; AJC: ‘His past support for Israel doesn’t give him license to traffic in radioactive antisemitic tropes’

Then-US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City, on May 22, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)
Then-US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City, on May 22, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

Jewish organizations slammed former United States president Donald Trump’s remarks published Thursday, in which he said American Jews don’t love Israel and charged that Israel used to have “absolute power over Congress.”

“Insinuating that Israel or the Jews control Congress or the media is antisemitic, plain and simple,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote on Twitter Friday.

Trump’s comments from an interview in July with Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, were broadcast Thursday on the Unholy Podcast, hosted by Yonit Levi of Israel’s Channel 12 news and Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian.

In his remarks, the former US president returned to his frequently made accusations that American Jews are ungrateful for all he has done for Israel. “There are people in this country that are Jewish — no longer love Israel. I’ll tell you, the evangelical Christians love Israel more than Jews in this country,” Trump said.

“It used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress. And today, I think it’s the exact opposite. And I think Obama and Biden did that,” Trump continued.

“The Jewish people in the United States either don’t like Israel or don’t care about Israel,” Trump said in the recording. “I mean look at The New York Times, The New York Times hates Israel, hates them. And they’re Jewish people that run The New York Times. I mean, the Sulzberger family,” Trump added.

The American Jewish Committee tweeted Friday that Trump’s “past support for Israel doesn’t give him license to traffic in radioactive antisemitic tropes — or peddle unfounded conclusions about the unbreakable ties that bind American Jews to Israel. Enough!”

Jewish Democratic Council for America CEO Halie Soifer tweeted that “what [Trump] doesn’t understand is that American Jews despise him — and all he stands for in the GOP [The Republican Party] — because he’s a depraved bigot who continues to attack our democracy & his policies are antithetical our values. This has nothing to do with Israel.”

Trump spoke to Ravid for the reporter’s new Hebrew-language book, “Trump’s Peace,” about the Abraham Accords last year, the normalization deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, followed by Bahrain, Sudan, and Morroco, brokered with the help of the Trump administration.

In previous broadcast excerpts from the two taped interviews Ravid conducted with Trump, the former president savaged ex-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for congratulating Joe Biden on winning the presidency last November — “I haven’t spoken to him since. Fuck him,” Trump said — and said Netanyahu never wanted to make peace.

Then-US president Donald Trump (right) with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu prior to Trump’s departure to Rome at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, on May 23, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO via Flash90)

Trump has a record of making incendiary comments about US Jews and Israel. He has previously made similar remarks to those revealed in the recordings, drawing criticism for insinuating that American Jews should base their political decisions solely on the Israel issue. Speaking to US Jews, he has also referred to Israel as “your country.”

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 has also drawn rebuke for saying that Jews who vote Democrat are “disloyal.”

Over the past decade, Jewish voters have shown stability in their partisanship, according to data from Pew Research Center. Jewish voters identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party over the Republican Party by a roughly 2:1 ratio.

“It’s sad that once again we have to restate this point, but the vast majority of American Jews support and have some type of connection to Israel, regardless of which political candidate they vote for,” Greenblatt said.

Jews make up only a small portion of the national electorate, but in places like Florida, they can represent a crucial piece of the swing state electoral puzzle. Historically, American Jews have voted heavily Democratic.

No national exit polls on the Jewish vote were published after the 2020 election. A poll commissioned by the Republican Jewish Coalition found that 30.5 percent of Jewish voters voted for the Republican incumbent Donald Trump nationally, compared to 60.6% for the Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, a poll commissioned by the liberal group J Street found that 77% of Jewish Americans voted for Biden and only 21% for Trump.

In 2016, Pew found that Hillary Clinton won 71% of the Jewish vote to Trump’s 25%. In 2012, the numbers were slightly higher for the Republican candidate: Barack Obama won 69% of the Jewish vote, while Mitt Romney won 30%.

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