(September 16, 2020 / JNS) U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that the Jewish state will be in trouble if he loses the presidential election.
“Whatever you can do in terms of Nov. 3 is going to be very important because if we don’t win, Israel is in big trouble,” he said during his annual call with Jewish leaders ahead of Rosh Hashanah, a recording of which was obtained by JNS.
“If we don’t win, certain races are going to be lost; you lose control of the Senate and you’re going to lose control of Israel,” he added. “Israel will never be the same. I don’t know if it can recover from” Democrats, including their presidential nominee, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump recounted his accomplishments for the Jewish and pro-Israel community, including moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights; withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal; and signing an executive order to enable the government to better combat anti-Semitism; and the Abraham Accords to normalize ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which resulted in a signing ceremony on Sept. 15 at the White House.
Despite these achievements—and the mention of his Jewish son-in-law, daughter and grandchildren—the president expressed astonishment that the Jewish vote “seems to be almost automatically a Democratic vote.”
In 2016, Trump reportedly received 25 percent of the Jewish vote compared to the Democratic nominee, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who got 70 percent of that demographic.
While many Jewish organizations were on the call, a few were not.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, told JNS ahead of the call that her organization would not participate, even though it received an invitation.
“We have made the decision not to join,” she said. “The president has made clear where he stands on issues important to T’ruah rabbis, and this call does not provide any substantive way for us to engage with him on his views.”
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association executive director Rabbi Elyse Wechterman told JNS ahead of the call that she did not receive an invitation and therefore would not be on.
In 2017, leaders from the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements boycotted the annual pre-Rosh Hashanah call over Trump blaming “both sides” in the protests that turned violent between alt-right and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va.
Last year, T’ruah and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association skipped the call.
As he signed off this year, Trump said: “We really appreciate you. We love your country also.”
Jewish Democratic groups criticized that part of the call.
“Again, Trump is illegally using government resources to engage in political activity, spread disinformation, and use Israel as a political wedge. He doesn’t understand that Jews are Americans, and continues to perpetuate dual loyalty stereotypes,” tweeted Jewish Democratic Council of America executive director Halie Soifer.
Again, Trump is illegally using government resources to engage in political activity, spread disinformation, and use Israel as a political wedge.
He doesn’t understand that Jews are Americans, and continues to perpetuate dual loyalty stereotypes.
— Halie Soifer (@HalieSoifer) September 16, 2020
“Once again, in seeking to falsely smear Democrats as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, Donald Trump himself invoked the anti-Semitic trope of dual loyalties, remarking that Jews should vote for him because ‘we [Republicans] love your country [Israel],’ ” said Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus founder and chairman Noah Arbit in a statement. “Mr. President, our country is the United States of America, and it is because of our deep and abiding loyalty to this nation that Jewish Americans … are repulsed by your failed, corrupt and authoritarian presidency, and will see to it that you are defeated in 48 days.”
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