Trump tells US Jews that Netanyahu is ‘your prime minister’
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Trump tells US Jews that Netanyahu is ‘your prime minister’

President also says Democrats would leave Israel ‘out there by yourselves’ in comments to Republican Jewish group; asks how they could back Obama, apparently referring to all Jews

US President Donald Trump speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting at The Venetian Las Vegas on April 6, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP)
US President Donald Trump speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting at The Venetian Las Vegas on April 6, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP)

US President Donald Trump told a group of American Jews that Benjamin Netanyahu was “your prime minister” Saturday, appearing to conflate Jews and Israelis.

“I stood with your prime minister at the White House to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Trump told a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas Saturday, referring to Netanyahu, who is the prime minister of Israel.

He also said Democrats “very well could leave Israel out there all by yourselves.”

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 anti-Semitic canard.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The American Jewish Committee tweeted that Trump’s statement could “feed bigotry.”

Trump’s comments came as he accused Democrats of allowing anti-Semitism to “take root” in their party.

Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota rallies with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol, March 8, 2019 in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

He made fun of Representative Ilhan Omar, who came under fire earlier this year for comments appearing to accuse Jews of dual loyalty to Israel, spurring Trump to claim last month that Democrats “hate” Jews.

Trump mockingly thanked Omar as he began his speech, before adding, “Oh, I forgot. She doesn’t like Israel, I forgot, I’m sorry. No, she doesn’t like Israel, does she? Please, I apologize.”

He also appeared to confuse the Republican group with US Jews in general when he asked how they could have supported his predecessor Barack Obama.

“How the hell did you support President Obama?” he asked the audience. “How did you do it?”

Several of the attendees yelled back “we didn’t.”

US President Donald Trump arrives to speak during the Republican Jewish Coalition 2019 Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 6, 2019. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

American Jews have traditionally voted Democrat, and overwhelmingly backed Obama in 2008 and 2012.

According to AP Votecast, a survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters and 3,500 Jewish voters nationwide, voters who identified as Jewish broke for Democrats over Republicans by a wide margin, 72 percent to 26 percent, in 2018.

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.

Trump has stirred controversy at the RJC convention in the past.

When he addressed the RJC in 2015 he said he didn’t expect to earn their support because he wouldn’t take their money. “You want to control your politicians, that’s fine,” Trump said at the time. Ultimately, the group and many of its donors backed Trump.

Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.

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