Why won’t Israel lobby groups condemn Trump’s anti-Semitism?

Prominent Israel lobby groups in the US have issued muted criticism or support for President Donald Trump’s anti-Semitic claim that Jews who vote for the Democratic Party show “disloyalty.”

This fits a pattern where lobby groups go easy on anti-Semites who are also staunchly pro-Israel.

“I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat – I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

Watch his comments above.

Trump followed up on Wednesday with a series of tweets quoting a far-right talk radio host claiming that “President Trump is the greatest president for Jews and for Israel” and that “the Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel.”

David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, called the president’s Tuesday comments “shockingly divisive and unbecoming of the occupant of the highest elected office.”

Similarly, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted that “It’s unclear who [the president] is claiming Jews would be ‘disloyal’ to, but charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews.”

“As we’ve said before, it’s possible to engage in the democratic process without these claims,” Greenblatt added.

What is notably missing from both of these mild rebukes is any mention of anti-Semitism, a fact that did not escape numerous commenters, especially Jews whom these groups purport to defend.

Their gentle admonishments stand in marked contrast to the routine and forceful condemnations Israel lobby groups make of critics of Israel as “anti-Semites” merely for supporting Palestinian rights and international law.

J Street, a liberal Israel lobby group, also did not call the president’s words anti-Semitic.

But it did say his far-right agenda “continues to put the lives of American Jews and other vulnerable minority groups in danger.”

Silence and support

In sharp contrast, the powerful Israel lobby group AIPAC and the Zionist Organization of America had said nothing at all even by Wednesday morning.

The ZOA was on Tuesday and Wednesday advertising that its president Morton Klein was being interviewed by Sebastian Gorka.

Gorka, a former Trump adviser, is a member of Vitézi Rend, an ultra-nationalist anti-Semitic Hungarian organization that was controlled by the Nazis during World War II.

While many Israel lobby groups stayed quiet or offered mild rebukes, the Republican Jewish Coalition came out in full support of Trump’s attack on American Jews.

“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 tweeted.

Contrast that with how the RJC has been busy smearing Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar as “anti-Semites” just because they speak in support of Palestinian rights:

The president’s vitriol against American Jews is undoubtedly animated by the fact that nearly 80 percent of them voted against him as recently as the 2018 midterms.

Trump apparently holds the anti-Semitic belief that the primary motivator for American Jewish voters is or should be Israel and its interests.

That’s why the president reportedly thinks American Jews are ungrateful for such steps as his administration’s move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Earlier this year, Trump even told American Jews that Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu is “your prime minister.”

Treating all Jews as Israeli or as aligned with Israel is a classic example of anti-Semitism.

Enabling hate

While troubling that groups that purport to fight hate actually enable the president’s incitement against Jews, it is not surprising.

The American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, among others, have long made defending and promoting Israel at any cost their number-one priority, with the safety of Jews and other communities in the United States a distant second.

Under its previous longtime director Abraham Foxman, for instance, the ADL was happy to defend anti-Semitic and Islamophobic Christian Zionist leaders just because they supported Israel.

The current ADL boss Jonathan Greenblatt has also celebrated Trump’s extremist pro-Israel policies:

While keeping silent about Trump’s anti-Jewish bigotry, AIPAC’s priorities include pushing legislation through Congress that smears and criminalizes supporters of Palestinian rights as anti-Semites.

By contrast, many progressive Jews, generally more supportive of the Palestinian liberation movement, forthrightly condemned the president’s anti-Semitism.

Lethal alliance

Trump’s latest attack on Jews and the muted Israel lobby response is another manifestation of the white supremacist-Zionist alliance in the White House.

This alliance has lethal consequences, including for Jews.

In April, Israel lobby groups shielded white supremacists from blame after one such extremist attacked a Jewish center in Poway, California, killing one person and injuring three others, including the rabbi.

That attack came exactly six months after a neo-Nazi shouting “All Jews must die” gunned down 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

And earlier this month, a white supremacist echoing Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric fatally shot 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, which the gunman deliberately chose in order to target Latinos.

On Tuesday, according to The New York Times, “the FBI said it had arrested a Nazi sympathizer who had threatened to butcher a Hispanic woman and had boasted that Mr. Trump would wipe out nonwhites in a ‘racial war and crusade.’”

The Israel lobby groups that enable Trump’s anti-Semitism and racism because they think it serves Israel, or which even defend his bigotry, cannot escape complicity in its consequences.

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It would be merely hilarious, were it not tragic, to hear Trump speak of "lack of knowledge". Presumably he imagines Noam Chomsky is sympathetic to Bernie Sanders (both Jews) because he lacks knowledge. This from a man who allegedly lacks the concentration to read a medium length book of marginal difficulty.
The point about far-right attacks on Jews and others is apposite. In the UK, one of the most principled and consistent anti-racists in public life has been characterised as antisemitic by Zionists and the unprincipled media. The left in Britain has been the greatest bulwark against racism in all its forms since the 1930s. It wasn't members of the Conservative Party who faced down the fascists in the East End when Oswald Mosley was rousing them. Yet, out of fear of Corbyn's support for the Palestinians and, frankly, hatred of Arabs, the Zionists and their sycophants have painted the left as racist by definition. Who do they think will defend them when the fascists come after them, as they will?
Crucial too is the matter of the anti-Semitism of Trump's remarks. Zionist anti-Semitism is as old as Zionism itself. The only true Jew is a Zionist. Now Trump adds that the only true Jew is a Republican. What that implies is hatred of Jews who refuse either. This is consistent with the Zionist totalitarian mentality. Today, the news from Israel is of corrupt property deals robbing non-Jews of iconic properties. Jews interviewed declare that Jerusalem should be for Jews only. That is racism just as it would be to declare that London should be for Christians only. What Trump is saying is exactly that: Israel for Jews only. But worse. Israel for Zionists only. And even worse. American Jews who dissent from that are ignorant traitors. Trump,like those accusing Corbyn of antisemitism, doesn't care tuppence about antisemitism; he cares about power. Like the Zionists. And truth and justice must veil their faces.

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