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'They said it couldn't be done, but President Trump did it'

Trump touts Middle East peace deals in Rosh Hashanah message to US Jews

White House statement says this year’s High Holidays bring sense of optimism for Israeli people; campaign releases video hailing Trump for bringing peace to ‘once bitter enemies’

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on August 27, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Evan Vucci)
US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on August 27, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Evan Vucci)

US President Donald Trump lauded his administration’s brokering of normalization agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in a Rosh Hashanah message to US Jews ahead of the holiday which begins on Friday evening.

“This year’s High Holy Days come with a sense of optimism for the people of Israel, as my Administration continues to make great strides in securing a more stable, prosperous and peaceful Middle East region,” the US president said in a statement.

“The First Lady and I wish our Jewish brothers and sisters Shana Tova and hope the millions observing this sacred day in America and around the world have a blessed start to the High Holy Days,” the statement adds.

“As the High Holy Days begin, this momentous milestone in geopolitical relations is a reminder that we can create a coalition of nations that have shared goals of eliminating extremism and promoting security and prosperity, while also respecting religious freedom and building a more hopeful tomorrow for future generations.”

The president’s campaign also released a 30-second ad on Friday highlighting the peace agreement. “They said it couldn’t be done, but President Trump did it… [He] brought once bitter enemies Israel, Bahrain and the UAE together to make peace,” the narrator can be heard saying. While Israel had not had formal relations with Bahrain and UAE, they never were at war with them either.

The video also includes a cameo from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who can be heard touting Trump’s “decisive leadership,” during his speech at the White House normalization deals’ signing ceremony this week.

Trump held a pre-Rosh Hashanah phone call with American Jewish community leaders on Wednesday, during which he appeared to suggest again that American Jews are loyal to Israel.

Trump signed off the call by telling the Jewish leaders, “We really appreciate you… We love your country also.”

The comments echoed other statements he has made in the past that suggest that American Jews are loyal to Israel, including at a White House Hanukkah party two years ago.

The remarks have been criticized for appearing to carry an accusation of dual loyalty, redolent of classic anti-Semitic canards that caused Jews to be regarded with suspicion for centuries.

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