Trump Criticizes American Jews over Lack of Support for Israel

US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalems Old City on May 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / RONEN ZVULUN (Photo credit should read RONEN ZVULUN/AFP via Getty Images)
RONEN ZVULUN/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump criticized American Jews for failing to support Israel, according to comments released Friday from an interview for a podcast by Barak Ravid, an Israeli journalist for the left-leaning online publication Axios.

Invoking what both CNN and Politico are calling “antisemitic tropes,” Trump said that American Jews “either don’t like Israel or don’t care about Israel,” given the fact that Jews overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama and for Joe Biden, both of whom have put pressure on Israel to make major concessions.

A recent poll by the non-partisan Jewish Electoral Institute found that “Israel is the lowest policy priority for Jewish voters.”

Trump has long felt that he has been ill-treated by the mainstream Jewish community, despite moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, and brokering the Abraham Accords between Israel and several Arab neighbors. Supporters say these accomplishments make him the most pro-Israel president in U.S. history since Harry S. Truman, who recognized the Jewish state shortly after it declared independence in 1948.

Most American Jews vote Democratic, though Trump increased the Republican share of the Jewish vote to roughly 30%.

Last year, Trump stirred controversy when he called Jews who voted Democratic “disloyal,” given the Democratic Party’s shift away from its traditional support for the Jewish state.

Trump’s comments about the American Jewish community for Ravid’s podcast, Unholy, are provoking controversy once again.

Among other comments, Trump claimed that Evangelical Christians “love Israel more than the Jews.” A 2013 poll by the Pew Research Center found that “on some measures, Jews’ feelings for Israel are equaled or even exceeded by those of white evangelical Protestants.”

In addition, Trump said that the New York Times “hates Israel,” and marveled at the fact that the paper is hostile to Israel, adding: “They’re Jewish people that run the New York Times.” He was referring to the Sulzberger family, which has Jewish roots, but whose owners have actually been associated with mainline Protestant denominations for several generations.

Noting the anti-Israel shift of the Democratic Party, Trump also said that Israel used to have “absolute power over Congress,” but no longer does. Though Israel once enjoyed broader bipartisan support, it never had “absolute power” over Congress.

Critics claim that Trump is invoking the idea of Jewish control of American politics — an idea that is often regarded as antisemitic. Several Democrats and journalists professed shock and horror at Trump’s comments on Friday afternoon.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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