2019-12-09 22:11:211 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
Once again, Donald Trump stuck his foot in it while speaking about Jewish people. But while he was widely panned by a number of Jewish organizations, there were still a few who defended his remarks, not feeling like they were anti-Semitic.
The president spoke on Saturday before the Israeli American Council. After being introduced by billionaire Trump donors Sheldon Adelson and wife Miriam, he said, "We have to get them to love Israel more because we have people that are Jewish people that are great people — they don't love Israel enough," when speaking about moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
"A lot of you are in the real estate business, because I know you very well. You're brutal killers, not nice people at all," he said before delving even further into stereotypes. "But you have to vote for me — you have no choice. You're not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that. You're not going to vote for the wealth tax. Yeah, let's take 100 percent of your wealth away!" These were comments aimed at 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who has suggested a wealth tax but not 100 percent.
"Some of you don't like me. Some of you I don't like at all, actually. And you're going to be my biggest supporters because you're going to be out of business in about 15 minutes if they get it. So I don't have to spend a lot of time on that."
Despite these comments, the president was cheered by the audience for his desire to move the embassy. They simply laughed at his bigoted remarks while chanting "four more years!"
Yet, the Jewish Democratic Council of America referred to Trump's remarks as "deeply offensive" and his stereotypical comments as "unconscionable." They believe his speech only reinforced "our belief ... that Donald Trump is the biggest threat to American Jews."
"We strongly denounce these vile and bigoted remarks in which the president — once again — used anti-Semitic stereotypes to characterize Jews as driven by money and insufficiently loyal to Israel," said Halie Soifer, the Jewish Democratic Council of America's director. "He even had the audacity to suggest that Jews 'have no choice' but to support him. American Jews do have a choice, and they're not choosing President Trump or the Republican Party, which has been complicit in enacting his hateful agenda."
Liberal Jewish group J Street tweeted that the president soon "dipp[ed] into the deep well of anti-Semitic tropes that shape his worldview."
"Dear @POTUS," tweeted the American Jewish Committee on Sunday. "Much as we appreciate your unwavering support for Israel, surely there must be a better way to appeal to American Jewish voters, as you just did in Florida, than by money references that feed age-old and ugly stereotypes. Let's stay off that mine-infested road."
"To all those who are saying @realDonaldTrump trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes in his speech last night by talking about how the Dems will tax them see their wealth evaporate — get over yourselves," countered Matt Brooks, Republican Jewish Coalition executive director, on Twitter. "He literally talks about this at every rally!"
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach said he was at the rally and praised Trump's words as "one of the most pro-Israel speeches ever delivered by an American president." Though among Jewish voters, Trump's approval rating is a dismal 29 percent, according to a poll from earlier this year. So he wasn't too far off when he predicted some of them don't like him.
This continues a long pattern for Trump of making controversial comments about Jews. While speaking as a presidential candidate in 2015 to the Republican Jewish Coalition, he said, "You're not going to support me because I don't want your money. You want to control your politicians — that's fine."
A year later ads were released by his campaign that were described as anti-Semitic. One depicted his opponent Hillary Clinton superimposed over a large amount of cash, the Star of David, and the words, "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!" Another suggested some powerful Jewish people, including billionaire George Soros, were working with non-reputable people to support "global special interests."
Just this past August he suggested American Jews who vote Democratic aren't loyal to Israel. This was after Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) were barred from visiting Israel. "I think Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," he said.
American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris said at the time Trump's comments were "shockingly divisive." He added that "American Jews — like all Americans — have a range of political views and policy priorities," adding that "his assessment of their knowledge or 'loyalty,' based on their party preference, is inappropriate, unwelcome, and downright dangerous."
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