Published originally in Salon.
Donald Trump said that the American Jews “no longer love Israel” in a recently aired interview, claiming that “evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country.”
“People in this country that are Jewish no longer love Israel,” Trump told Israeli journalist Barak Ravid in a Friday episode of podcast “Unholy: Two Jews on the news.”
Trump continued: “I’ll tell you, the evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country. It used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress. And today I think it’s the exact opposite.”
“The New York Times hates Israel, hates them. And they’re Jewish people that run the New York Times. I mean, the Sulzberger family,” the former president added, referring to the paper’s publisher.
Trump also made sure to note that he “was very close to many Jewish people” because of his experience in “Brooklyn real estate, Brooklyn and Queens.”
Trump’s comments vaguely allude to the longtime anti-Semitic trope that Jews hold outsized power in politics, media, and entertainment. His remarks also fall into the “dual loyalty” trope by implying that he’d expect Jews to harbor more allegiance to other Jews or Israel simply by virtue of their religious affiliation. The Anti-Defamation League states that anti-semites “frequently suspect Jews of holding allegiance only to fellow Jews and to a uniquely Jewish agenda.”
It isn’t the first time that Trump has suggested American Jews lack fealty to Israel. Back in 2019, Trump argued that Jews who supported Democrats were being “very disloyal to Israel.” At the same time, Trump has also implied that Jews’ apparent connection to Israel might undermine their loyalty to the U.S., telling an audience at the Republican Jewish Coalition that then-Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu is “your prime minister.”
Joel Rubin, president of the American Jewish Congress, told The Independent that Trump’s remarks are “beyond words.”
“Trump seems unable to grasp the simple fact that Jewish Americans are Americans, period,” Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc-Jewish Action, a Jewish political action committee, told Insider. “The implication that American Jews have some kind of ‘dual loyalty’ is textbook anti-Semitism, and has been used for centuries to demonize Jewish people and justify persecution and violence, including the Holocaust.”