Published originally in Newsweek.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump‘s recent remarks about American Jews “getting their act together” on Israel “before it is too late”, are bigoted and stoke antisemitism, Jewish groups have said.
“No President has done more for Israel than I have. Somewhat surprisingly, however, our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the U.S.,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social social media platform on October 16.
“Those living in Israel, though, are a different story — Highest approval rating in the World, could easily be P.M.! “U.S. Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel – Before it is too late!”
Newsweek contacted Israel’s Foreign Ministry for comment.
It was unclear what inspired Trump’s post.
Jewish Americans are more likely to vote Democrat, with more than three quarters of those that voted in 2020 voting for Joe Biden instead of Trump.
Jewish groups condemned Trump’s comments. A spokesperson for the American Jewish Congress told Newsweek: “American Jews are the bedrock of U.S. support for the Jewish State—questioning this fact is wrong in and of itself, and certainly does not aid Israel. For decades, the Jewish community has worked to build strong bipartisan coalitions supporting Israel in Congress, and we will continue to do so.”
“Moreover, Donald Trump’s comments further diminishes the broad support that the U.S.-Israel relationship possesses in our country, and marginalizes the majority of Americans who, despite political affiliations, support Israel’s security, while recognizing both its need and right to exist.
“Statements like this, especially when coming from a former President, craft a divide between those that support Israel, and it’s counterproductive to the U.S.-Israel relationship. Lastly, it holds the potential to grow the abhorrent rise in antisemitism far too many Jews are forced to face. We must lead by example.”
A spokesperson for the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), that describes itself as a progressive and pro-Israel organisation, called Trump’s comments “unabashed antisemitism”.
“His threat to Jewish Americans and his continued use of the antisemitic dual loyalty trope fuels hatred against Jews. We will not be threatened by Donald Trump and Jewish Americans will reject GOP bigotry this November,” the spokesperson told Newsweek, referring to the midterms.
JDCA CEO Halie Soifer added: “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. This has nothing to do with Israel.”
While in office, Trump portrayed himself as a staunch ally of Israel, supporting policies such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and his administration brokered agreements normalizing Israeli ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said in a statement on Twitter that American Jews would not be divided by Trump’s comments.
“We will not be used as pawns based on our opinions about Israel or any other matter. We do not need the former President to lecture to us or define for us our approach to the U.S.-Israel relationship. Our feelings will continue to be defined by our shared Jewish values and the preservation of Israel’s security.”
The American Jewish Committee added: “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 U.S. Jews and Israel. And to be clear, those ties are strong and enduring.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday that Trump’s remarks were “antisemitic, … and insulting both to Jews and to our Israeli allies. But let’s be clear: For years now, Donald Trump has aligned with extremist and antisemitic figures.”
It is not the first time Trump has criticized American Jews. In an interview with CNBC in December last year, he said that Jewish people in the U.S. either don’t like Israel or don’t care about it.