Trump warns US Jews to ‘get their act together,’ says he’d ‘easily’ be PM in Israel
Former president says American Jews ungrateful for all he has done for Jewish state, tells them to ‘appreciate what they have in Israel – Before it is too late!’
Tobias (Toby) Siegal is a breaking news editor and contributor to The Times of Israel.
Former US president Donald Trump railed against US Jews on Sunday, telling them to “get their act together” and accusing them of not being appreciative enough of his support for Israel, while claiming he was so popular among Israelis that he could “easily be” elected prime minister.
In a statement posted to his social media platform Truth Social, Trump argued that “No President has done more for Israel,” and wondered why “our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the US.”
The former president — who moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights and brokered the Abraham Accords between Israel and regional states — said that in Israel it was “a different story” and that there he enjoyed “the highest approval rate in the world,” going as far as saying he “could easily be PM.”
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.
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.
Trump goysplains Israel to American Jews: pic.twitter.com/p7uTK3i5CD
— Allison Burnett (@Allison_Burnett) October 16, 2022
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.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, condemned Trump’s words on Sunday.
“We don’t need the former president, who curries favor with extremists and antisemites, to lecture us about the US-Israel relationship. It is not about a quid-pro-quo; it rests on shared values and security interests. This ‘Jewsplaining’ is insulting and disgusting,” he said.
We don't need the former president, who curries favor with extremists and antisemites, to lecture us about the US-Israel relationship. It is not about a quid pro quo; it rests on shared values and security interests. This "Jewsplaining" is insulting and disgusting. pic.twitter.com/5XihxQGmLT
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) October 16, 2022
The American Jewish Committee also hit back at the former president: “Support for the Jewish state never gives one license to lecture American Jews, nor does it ever give the right to draw baseless judgments about the ties between US Jews and Israel,” it tweeted. “And to be clear, those ties are strong and enduring.
“American Jews got ‘their act together’ in 2020, when 77% supported Biden. This won’t change because Jews view Trump & #MAGA candidates as extremist-aligned threats to our security, democracy & values, as epitomized by this antisemitic screed,” tweeted Halie Soifer, head of the Jewish Democratic Council of America. “This has nothing to do with Israel.”
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.
The ZOA said it would award Trump the Theodor Herzl Medallion, previously bestowed on Lord Balfour, the British leader who drafted the document envisioning a Jewish national home in Palestine; Winston Churchill, the World War II-era British prime minister; Harry Truman, the US president who recognized Israel at its founding against the counsel of some of his top advisers; David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli prime minister; Golda Meir, Israel’s prime minister during the 1973 Yom Kippur War; Menachem Begin, the prime minister who made peace with Egypt; and Sheldon Adelson, the late casino magnate and backer of Republican and pro-Israel causes.
Trump will receive the medallion in person in New York on Nov. 13, Morton Klein, the ZOA president, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Not the first time
In an interview in December, Trump accused American Jews of not loving Israel enough and of being ungrateful for all he had 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,” he said at the time.
He also charged that Israel used to have “absolute power over Congress.” He said that today it was “the exact opposite” and pointed the finger at former president Barack Obama and current President Biden for orchestrating the apparent shift of power.
His remarks were met with fury, with notable Jewish organizations accusing him of using antisemitic tropes.
“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!,” read a tweet posted by the American Jewish Committee.
Trump had also made similar comments in the past that were met with similar responses.
In a speech given to the Israeli American Council in December 2019 as part of his election campaign, Trump tried to convince the Jewish audience to vote for him, touting his relationship with Israel and lamenting what he said was insufficient support for Israel, and subsequently for him, among US Jewry.
In August of that year, he questioned the loyalty of Jews who vote for the Democratic Party, drawing a harsh response from the Jewish Democratic Council of America that accused the then-president of attempting to “weaponize and politicize antisemitism” for political gain.
Truth Social was launched in February 2022 as Trump’s response to his ban from Twitter and two-year suspension from Facebook following the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.
JTA contributed to this report.