Donald Trump used an apparently antisemitic trope when accusing Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats as showing “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty”.
The remarks came as part of a barrage of disparaging comments that threaten to re-ignite an ongoing feud with Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib. They seemed to refer to a perception that Jewish Americans have a dual loyalty to both America and Israel.
Trump, who recently encouraged Israel to block Tlaib’s visit to see her family in the occupied territories, lashed out after the congresswomen criticized Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for denying them entry, vowing that the Israeli leader would not “succeed in hiding the cruel reality of the occupation from us”.
Calling Omar a “disaster” for Jews, Trump said he didn’t “buy” the tears Tlaib had shed Monday at an emotional press conference during which Tlaib talked about her decision not to travel to Israel to see her elderly grandmother, who lives in the occupied West Bank.
“Where has the Democratic party gone?” Trump asked reporters at the White House. He then went on to apparently refer to Jewish Americans’ supposed loyalties to Israel and how voting Democratic was disloyal to the country. “Where have they gone, where they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel? And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
Accusing Jewish Americans of having dual loyalties to America and Israel is widely seen as an antisemitic trope.
Omar herself has faced accusations of antisemitism for raising the issue of Jewish Americans’ relations to Israel as a dual loyalty.