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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
Treating all Jews as Israeli or as aligned with Israel is a classic example of anti-Semitism.
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.
The current ADL boss Jonathan Greenblatt has also celebrated Trump’s extremist pro-Israel policies:
By contrast, many progressive Jews, generally more supportive of the Palestinian liberation movement, forthrightly condemned the president’s anti-Semitism.
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.