WASHINGTON — Most Jewish groups called out President Donald Trump as “dangerous” and displaying “textbook anti-Semitism” for accusing Jews who vote for Democrats of being “disloyal.”
“I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump said at a news conference Aug. 20.
A reporter had asked Trump about remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., that the US should reconsider its aid to Israel after the Jewish state denied entry to her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., both supporters of Boycott, Divest, Sanctions against Israel.
Some 76% of Jews voted for Democrats in November’s midterm elections, polls found, mirroring a long history of supporting the party in large numbers.
American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris called on Trump to “stop such divisive rhetoric and to retract his disparaging remarks.” He called the president’s remarks “shockingly divisive and unbecoming of the occupant of the highest elected office,” and said that American Jews “have a range of political views and policy priorities.”
The ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a tweet that it is “long overdue to stop using Jews as a political football,” and that charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews.
Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, said that “President Trump’s abhorrent statement today accusing the vast majority of Jewish Americans who oppose him of ‘disloyalty’ is textbook antisemitism and should be called out as such, without hesitation.”
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said in Sioux City Aug. 20:
“I am a proud Jewish person, and I have no concerns about voting Democratic,” Sanders told a cheering crowd. “And, in fact, I intend to vote for a Jewish man to become the next president of the US.”
Halie Soifer, the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said: “If this is about Israel, then Trump is repeating a dual loyalty claim, which is a form of anti-Semitism,” she said in a statement. “If this is about Jews being ‘loyal’ to him, then Trump needs a reality check.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition defended Trump: “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 group said on Twitter. “The @GOP, when rarely confronted w/anti-Semitism of elected members always acts swiftly and decisively to punish and remove.”