Weeks after honoring Trump, ZOA lashes him for hosting Kanye West, Nick Fuentes

Zionist Organization of America says it ‘deplores’ former president’s meeting, demands he condemn ‘Jew-haters’

Former US president Donald Trump addresses the Zionist Organization of America in New York City, November 13, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
Former US president Donald Trump addresses the Zionist Organization of America in New York City, November 13, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

The Zionist Organization of America, weeks after giving Donald Trump a major award, on Sunday lashed the former president for meeting with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.

Trump has acknowledged having dinner with West on Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago and said he brought along friends, one of whom was Fuentes, an outspoken antisemite and racist. Trump has claimed he did not know Fuentes.

ZOA quoted Trump’s State of the Union Address from 2019, in which he said, “We must never ignore the vile poison of antisemitism, or those who spread its venomous creed.”

“The Zionist Organization of America calls upon President Trump to live up to his own powerful words, to condemn in the strongest possible terms Jew-hater Kanye West and avowed Holocaust-denying, white supremacist, Jew-hater Nick Fuentes,” the organization’s president Morton Klein said in a statement.

“ZOA deplores the fact that President Trump had a friendly dinner with such vile antisemites. His dining with Jew-haters helps legitimize and mainstream antisemitism and must be condemned by everyone,” Klein said.

Two weeks ago, ZOA presented Trump with its Theodor Herzl Gold Medallion “for his unprecedented accomplishments on behalf of Israel and the Jewish-American community,” including brokering the Abraham Accords.

The award has only been granted to a handful of world leaders, including former British prime minister Winston Churchill, former US president Harry Truman, Israeli founding father and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion, and former prime minister Golda Meir.

Former US president Donald Trump announces he is running for president for the third time as he speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, November 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Klein lauded Trump at the dinner, which was also attended by the Trump administration’s former Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, Likud lawmaker Amir Ohana, and Religious Zionism’s Simcha Rothman. Miriam Adelson introduced Trump via a remote video from Israel.

“Unlike politicians, except president Trump, God keeps his promises,” Klein said at the gala event in New York City.

The event came days before Trump announced his plans to seek reelection in 2024.

The White House and some Republicans, including his former ambassador to Israel David Friedman, have also blasted Trump for his meeting with West and Fuentes.

Fuentes has questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust and asserts that Israel has a malicious influence on US policy. His YouTube channel was permanently suspended in early 2020 for violating the platform’s hate speech policy. He attended the racist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and the Stop the Steal rally on January 6 that led to an insurrection at the Capitol.

Fuentes produces the “America First” podcast, which he has used to accumulate a large following known as the “Groyper Army.”

Nick Fuentes, far-right activist, holds a rally at the Lansing Capitol, in Lansing, Michigan, November 11, 2020. (Nicole Hester/Ann Arbor News via AP, File)

West, who now goes by Ye, has repeatedly attacked, mocked and threatened Jews in recent weeks. He has lost major brand partnerships with the German sportswear company Adidas and US retailer Gap over recent antisemitic statements, and associations with extremists.

Trump, in a series of statements Friday, said he had “never met and knew nothing about” Fuentes before he arrived with West at his club. But Trump also did not acknowledge Fuentes’s long history of racist and antisemitic remarks, nor did he denounce either man’s defamatory statements.

Trump wrote of West on his social media platform that “we got along great, he expressed no antisemitism, & I appreciated all of the nice things he said about me on ‘Tucker Carlson.’” He added, “Why wouldn’t I agree to meet?”

The former president has a long history of failing to clearly condemn hate speech. During his 2016 campaign, Trump waffled when asked to denounce the KKK after he was endorsed by the group’s former leader, saying in a televised interview that he did not “know anything about David Duke.”

In 2017, in the aftermath of the deadly white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump was widely criticized for saying there was “blame on both sides” for the violence. And his rallies frequently feature inflammatory rhetoric from figures like Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spoke earlier this year at a far-right conference organized by Fuentes.

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