The media has willfully misinterpreted Donald Trump’s words to portray the most pro-Israel US president in history as an anti-Semite. It makes more sense to chide him for sacrificing US interests to please Benjamin Netanyahu.
Here is the full Trump quote from Tuesday, in which he rejected Democrat Bernie Sanders’ idea that Israel should stop accepting American aid, after its reluctance to let in congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who have publicly endorsed the BDS campaign.
“The concept of even talking about this – even three years ago – of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people – I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation,” Trump said.
“Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they’re defending these two people over the State of Israel? I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat – it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
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Trump calls Jews who vote Democrat ‘uninformed or disloyal’
There is no ambiguity to this quote. Trump says that it is bizarre that Democrats prioritize Omar and Tlaib over maintaining Washington’s historic good relations with Israel. And that those Jews who support the Democratic Party are being “disloyal” to either fellow Jews or the state of Israel.
Trump is not using the dual allegiance trope deployed since ancient times, in which Jews living in foreign countries are accused of putting their ethnicity and religion above their citizenship. On the contrary, he is urging American Jews to show MORE of a dual allegiance, to remember their roots and back their historic kin, living in Israel.
The media has either pretended that the two above sentiments are the same, or that the “great disloyalty” mentioned by Trump related to the United States itself or to him personally, which makes no sense within the context.
To perpetuate the confusion it has leveraged Jewish voices to deliver the judgment. Though notably, the ostensibly neutral ones actually stopped short of calling the US president an anti-Semite. The American Jewish Committee called the comments “divisive” and the Anti-Defamation League merely urged him to “stop using Jews as a political football.”
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Good thing your grandma won’t see you!