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Trump says US Jews ‘don’t love Israel enough,’ because they didn’t vote for him

Former US president tells ultra-Orthodox magazine that he finds it ‘strange’ he got such a small chunk of the Jewish vote after doing so much for Israel

US President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting, Saturday April 6, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
US President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting, Saturday April 6, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Former US president Donald Trump said in an interview published this week that American Jews don’t love Israel enough, otherwise they would have voted for him.

“You know what really surprised me?” Trump asked in an interview with the ultra-Orthodox magazine Ami. “I did the Heights, I did Jerusalem and I did Iran — the Iran deal was a disaster, right?” he said referring to his decisions to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, move the US embassy there and pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal.

“And I also did many other things. Jewish people who live in the United States don’t love Israel enough. Does that make sense to you?” he asked.

“I’m not talking about the Orthodox Jews. I believe we got 25% of the Jewish vote, and it doesn’t make sense. It just seems strange to me,” he said, before exclaiming that he did very well in Florida.

Trump has made similar comments in the past, drawing criticism for insinuating that American Jews should base their political decisions solely on the Israel issue. Speaking to US Jews he 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.

Jews make up only a small portion of the national electorate, but in Florida, they 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 GOP incumbent Donald Trump nationally compared to 60.6% for 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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