“He’s disgusting, of course,” wrote former Amb. Dan Shapiro. “But this deserves to be mocked, even more than condemned.”
By Omri Nahmias – Jerusalem Post
US President, Donald Trump said Tuesday that Jews who vote for Democrats “shows either total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
Asked by reporters about the eruption earlier this month when Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were first welcomed and then told they could not travel to Israel, the president slammed the women for their recent suggestion to cut aid to Israel.
“We give Israel more than $3 billion in aid every year,” Omar said Monday. “This is predicated on their being an important ally in the region and the only democracy in the Middle East, but denying visits to duly elected members of Congress is not consistent with being an ally. And denying millions of people freedom of movement or expression or self-determination is not consistent with being a democracy.”
Trump responded by saying that he “would not cut off to Israel, and I can’t even believe we are having this conversation.
“Five years ago, the concept of even talking about cutting off aid to Israel because of two people who hate Israel and hate Jewish people – I can’t believe we are having this conversation. Where has the Democratic party gone? Where have they gone where they are defending these two people over the state of Israel?
“I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
Nearly 80% of American Jews voted for Democrats in 2018. Donald Trump’s dogwhistles, emboldening of hate groups, and use of anti-Semitism for political purposes have made us all less safe. pic.twitter.com/HUxcEpJBIE
— ✡ Jewish Dems (@USJewishDems) August 20, 2019
He spoke about the joint press conference of the two congresswomen and added: “You should see the horrible things that Tlaib said on Israel over the last couple of years. Omar is a disaster for Jewish people. I can’t imagine if she has Jewish people in her district that they could possibly vote for her.”
He mocked Tlaib for breaking down in tears over her cancelled Israel visit and said he doesn’t think the crying was authentic. Rather, he said, Tlaib is “violent, vicious and out of control.
“She can see her grandmother, they gave her permission, and she grandstanded, and she didn’t want to do it,” said the president. “It’s a decision of Israel. A lot of people saying it was my decision [but] that’s a decision of Israel.”
Trump said that Omar and Tlaib’s itinerary would look like a “propaganda tour” against Israel.
As soon as Trump completed his interview, a storm of comments surfaced on social media and in press releases.
Halie Soifer, executive director of Jewish Democratic Council of America, called the president’s remarks “yet another example of Donald Trump continuing to weaponize and politicize antisemitism.
:At a time when antisemitic incidents have increased — due to the president’s emboldening of white nationalism — Trump is repeating an antisemitic trope,” Soifer said in a statement. “If this is about Israel, then Trump is repeating a dual loyalty claim, which is a form of antisemitism. If this is about Jews being ‘loyal’ to him, then Trump needs a reality check. We live in a democracy, and Jewish support for the Republican Party has been halved in the past four years.”
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) likewise sharply criticized Trump’s remarks.
“Enough, Mr. President,” the organization tweeted. “American Jews – like all Americans – have a range of political views. Your assessment of their knowledge or loyalty, based on their party preference, is divisive, disrespectful, and unwelcome. Please stop. ”
AJC’s CEO, David Harris, added that “for the President to assert that Jews who vote Democratic show ‘disloyalty’ is outrageous. This is a free country. Jews aren’t a monolithic bloc, nor single-issue voters/ Some will vote Democratic, others Republican. As Americans, that’s their right. Please keep loyalty out of it.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, joined the criticism. He tweeted, “It’s unclear who the president is claiming Jews would be ‘disloyal’ to, but charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews.
“As we’ve said before, it’s possible to engage in the democratic process without these claims. It’s long overdue to stop using Jews as a political football.”
Politicians, too, pushed back at the president.
“The President accused most American Jews of being disloyal,” Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida told CNN shortly after Trump’s remarks. “That’s not just deeply and personally offensive, it’s extremely dangerous.”
He called on “everyone who cares about our democracy” to condemn Trump’s comments.
Also, Senator Jackie Rosen of Nevada said that “questioning the loyalty of American Jews is antisemitic. This is unacceptable, and it’s something we must call out and confront head on.”
And former Ambassador of the United States of America to the State of Israel, Dan Shapiro, tweeted that Trump is “disgusting.”
“He’s disgusting, of course,” wrote Shapiro. “But this deserves to be mocked, even more than condemned. He’s literally pushing the Jewish Democratic vote higher every time he speaks.”
He’s disgusting, of course. But this deserves to be mocked, even more than condemned. He’s literally pushing the Jewish Democratic vote higher every time he speaks. https://t.co/snO6rGj5Aw
— Dan Shapiro (@DanielBShapiro) August 20, 2019
Only the Republican Jewish Coalition defended Trump on Tuesday.
“President Trump is right, it shows a great deal of disloyalty to oneself to defend a party that protects/emboldens people that hate you for your religion,” the organization tweeted. “The GOP, when rarely confronted with antisemitism of elected members always acts swiftly and decisively to punish and remove.”