Speaking in the Oval Office on Tuesday following a meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, President Donald Trump said that “any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat—I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
His comments caused an immediate uproar among Jewish and pro-Israel groups, who claimed that Trump was raising the “dual loyalty” canard. Trump later clarified his remarks, saying “if you vote for a Democrat, you’re being disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel.”
However, the clarification wasn’t really necessary. The media intentionally distorted Trump’s statement; it was very clear that the “disloyalty” Trump was referring to was to the Jewish people, not the United States. The president’s comments had nothing to do with the “dual loyalty” canard, as his critics well know.
By hurling the dual-loyalty charge at the president, Trump’s detractors are simply trying to divert attention from the disturbing Democratic support for Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
Rather than condemning the offensive and defamatory tirades of Tlaib and Omar, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) instead accused U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman of dual loyalty for supporting Israel’s refusal to grant them entry visas.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) rushed to the defense of Tlaib and Omar, even raising the possibility of cutting U.S. foreign aid to Israel over the ban. Not to be left behind, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined the pummeling of Israel. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also raised the possibility of cutting of foreign aid to Israel over the ban.
And, of course, Omar herself questioned whether aid to Israel should be continued.
No Democrat came forward to oppose these suggestions. Not House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, not Joe Biden, not any other Democratic presidential candidate.
This lack of response demonstrates that the vaunted bipartisan support for Israel is a mirage. Democrats hastened to attack Israel rather than those who support its destruction. By joining the anti-Israel fray instead of distancing herself from Tlaib and Omar, Speaker Pelosi drew the Democratic Party into their nefarious web of undermining support for Israel in the United States. Not even Biden, who likes to claim he is a stalwart friend of Israel, could bring himself to defend Israel’s decision and criticize the two freshman representatives.
Not one Democrat pointed out that many nations bar entry to enemies—including the United States. The United States for many years denied entry to members of the Communist Party, for example, and the Obama administration denied entry to a Knesset member because of his political views.
Not one Democrat or any of the mainstream media pointed out that Tlaib and Omar had refused to participate in a trip to Israel together with other members of Congress, so that they could instead take one planned by a virulently anti-Semitic group: Miftah.
Miftah has claimed Jews murder Christian children to use their blood for baking matzoh at Passover. The organization has also published neo-Nazi screeds and calls for the destruction of Israel. Somehow the U.S. media has managed to omit these details.
It was in the context of this whirlwind of Democratic denunciations of Israel that Trump reacted with anger and amazement at a reporter’s question about cutting foreign aid to Israel.
“Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this … 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,” said Trump.
He condemned Democrats for defending Tlaib and Omar and their comments against Israel and the Jewish people.
“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.
Trump was not being anti-Semitic; he was simply being honest and saying out loud what a lot of people are thinking.
Recent polls quoted in The Washington Post show that Democrats are equally split in their support for Israel and the Palestinians. This contrasts with Republican support for Israel, which is 76 percent in favor of Israel.
As the two Muslim freshman Democratic representatives defame Israel and lie about its history, the other Democratic members of Congress cower in silence. Can Jewish Democrats visualize what U.S.-Israel relations will be like with a Democratic president from the current crop of candidates, egged on by a Democratic Congress?
Trump was just reminding American Jews of Hillel’s dictum: If I’m not for myself, who will be for me?
Carol Greenwald is the chairman of JewsChooseTrump.org.