As GOP tries to convince public it opposes antisemitism, Trump questions Jewish voters

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Trump says he doesn't understand how so few Jewish voters backed him.

Former President Donald Trump again questioned the loyalty of American Jews on Wednesday — just as his House Republican backers have been trying to present themselves as standing up to antisemitism.

In an interview with Ami Magazine, a right-leaning publication aimed at the Jewish community, Trump complained that he had received few votes from non-Orthodox Jewish voters in the 2020 elections, despite his record on Israel.

"You know what really surprised me?" Trump asked the publication. "I did the Heights, I did Jerusalem, and I did Iran—the Iran Deal was a disaster, right? And I also did many other things."

During his lone term in office, Trump backed controversial Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights, relocated the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and withdrew from President Barack Obama's 2015 nuclear nonproliferation agreement with Iran.

"Jewish people who live in the United States don’t love Israel enough. Does that make sense to you? I’m not talking about Orthodox Jews. I believe we got 25% of the Jewish vote, and it doesn’t make sense," he added. "It just seems strange to me. But I did very well in Florida. I did great in Florida."

Though 2020 exit polls did not specifically ask whether voters were Jewish, some other polls suggest Trump's estimate is not far off. A Republican Jewish Coalition poll found about 30.5% of Jewish American voters backed Trump, while a J Street poll put the figure at 21%.

This is not the first time Trump has accused American Jews of being disloyal because they do not all vote for Republicans and they care about issues other than just Israel policy.

"I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," he said in August 2019.

Trump's latest comments come as House Republicans are busily trying to convince the American public that they are standing up to antisemitism by attacking Democratic congresswomen who have criticized Israel's government.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that if his party regains the majority, he will block all antisemites from serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He singled our Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), calling her "an individual that has not once but on numerous occasions been antisemitic," and dubbing her "anti-American."

"She's equating America to Taliban, to Hamas. She's discrediting our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel, the only democracy," he charged, an apparent reference to Omar's recent comments acknowledging that many actors have committed atrocities in the past, including "the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban."

In response to Omar's comments, 25 House Republicans filed a resolution on Monday pushing to condemn her and three other Democratic congresswomen of color. Their proposed censure accuses Omar, Michigan's Rashida Tlaib, New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Massachusetts' Ayanna Pressley of "defending foreign terrorist organizations and inciting anti-Semitic attacks across the United States." None of the four have endorsed terrorism.

Indeed McCarthy (R-CA) and several members of his GOP caucus have themselves made overtly antisemitic comments in the past.

In October 2018, the GOP leader came under widespread criticism after he tweeted, "We cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to BUY this election. Get out and vote Republican November 6th. #MAGA."

Tom Steyer, whose father was Jewish, is often misidentified as a Jew; George Soros and Michael Bloomberg are both Jewish.

Steyer called McCarthy's tweet "a straight-up anti-Semitic move," rooted in a frequent antisemitic trope that wealthy Jews secretly control the United States. McCarthy erased the tweet but did not apologize, later claiming it had had nothing to do with the progressive donors' faith.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) once absurdly claimed that the wealthy Jewish Rothschild family's investment banking firm ignited deadly 2018 California wildfires using "space solar generators" emitting laser beams.

She also previously shared an anti-Muslim video on social media that alleged Jews were scheming to destroy Europe via "immigration and miscegenation," and had to apologize on Monday for comments likening coronavirus safety rules to the Holocaust.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) once boasted on social media of visiting Adolf Hitler's vacation home and complained shortly after winning his seat in November about how tough it is to convert devout Jews to Christianity.

Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) told supporters in January that Adolf Hitler "was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’”

McCarthy and most House Republicans have stood by Trump, despite his long record of antisemitic remarks.

In December 2019, he told the Israeli American Council that Jews "have no choice" but to vote for him because one Democratic opponent — Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — had proposed a wealth tax on those worth more than $50 million. Jewish organizations condemned the comments as stereotyping Jews as obsessed with money.

In April 2019, he implied that Jewish Americans were not really Americans, calling then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "your prime minister" during a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition.

And in August 2017, after neo-Nazis and white nationalists marched on Charlottesville, Virginia chanting "Jews will not replace us," Trump infamously opined that there were "very fine people, on both sides."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.