Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House in Washington , DC on Feb. 15, 2017 with an Israeli flag in the background.
(photo credit: SAUL LOEB / AFP)
Republicans have a fresh opportunity to obtain the support of American Jews, new Republican Jewish Coalition chairman Norm Coleman told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday at the Jewish People Policy Institute Conference on the Future of the Jewish People, held this week in Jerusalem.
Coleman, a former US senator from Minnesota, said it was easy to sell President Donald Trump on the Jewish state, due to his pro-Israel views. He said Trump’s statements condemning antisemitism in his address to Congress on Tuesday would help with US Jews.
“US Jews are more liberal, but if he produces better security, we will do well,” he said. “Trump has challenges with millennials and liberals. We hope they will judge him on his actions, not his rhetoric. We’re rooting for the success of our president.”
Trump decries antisemitism after long silence (credit: REUTERS)
Coleman said the Democratic Party lost support among American Jews by nearly electing controversial Congressman Keith Ellison as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and due to former US president Barack Obama’s policies, especially in the final days of his term.
“We can take advantage of Obama kicking Israel at the United Nations on his way out,” Coleman said, referring to UN Resolution 2334.
When asked if he was concerned that animosity for Trump among young Jews could turn them more against Israel, he said the US Left was already much less pro-Israel than the American Right. He cited a January Pew Research Center poll that found that 74% of Republicans sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians, as opposed to 33% among Democrats.
In his speech to the JPPI, Coleman lamented that in the US there are “constituencies that Israel needs as friends going forward that are not closely aligned with the Trump phenomenon.”
He said those constituencies have a somewhat negative opinion of Israel and admitted it is possible that Trump’s embracing of Israel, or Israel’s embracing of Trump, may exacerbate that negativity.
“Part of making America great again is standing foursquare with Israel,” Coleman said. “What we got with President Trump was a very pro-Israel nationalism, for which we should be very thankful.”