Trump never criticized Jews, he urged greater Jewish loyalty to Israel

President Trump’s statement portrays loyalty to the Jewish homeland as positive and consistent with devotion to America.

By MORTON A. KLEIN
August 28, 2019 21:53
Trump never criticized Jews, he urged greater Jewish loyalty to Israel

Donald Trump . (photo credit: TASOS KATOPODIS/ REUTERS)

US President Donald Trump never criticized Jews for “dual loyalty.” The president did the opposite: He urged greater Jewish loyalty to Israel.

Moreover, the president’s statement urging greater loyalty to Israel and the Jewish people was certainly not antisemitic. Rather, it was the opposite of antisemitic; it was philosemitic.

Antisemites depict loyalty to Israel as a negative, and as inconsistent with American interests. By contrast, the president upheld loyalty and caring about Israel as a positive good. 

The president’s detractors also ignored the context of President Trump’s statement – namely, the Democratic leadership’s refusal to take action against Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) for their frightening, real and virulent antisemitism.

Moreover, in light of the great friendship that President Trump has repeatedly displayed toward the Jewish people, it is particularly wrong to twist the meaning and intent of his words to malign him.

President Trump has demonstrated with real action as well as words that he is truly the greatest friend that the Jewish people and Jewish state have ever had in the White House. He is pursuing civil rights probes to protect Jewish and pro-Israel students on American college campuses; moved the US Embassy to Israel’s eternal capital Jerusalem; recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights; left the Israel-bashing UN Human Rights Council; closed the PLO/Palestinian Authority office in Washington; stopped funding to the terror-supporting PA and UNRWA; withdrew from the catastrophic Iran deal; made numerous strong statements against antisemitism, neo-Nazism and white supremacy; and demanded that the PA must end its incitement of terror and heinous “pay to slay” payments to terrorists to murder Jews and Americans.

Let’s further examine the underlying concept here.

Former Zionist Organization of America president Louis Brandeis (the first US Jewish Supreme Court justice) urged that Zionism and American patriotism are both good and consistent with one another. Loyalty to American interests and to Israel go hand-in-hand.

President Trump’s statement, urging Jews to be loyal to the Jewish state, incorporated Brandeis’s concept that American Jewish loyalty to Israel is a positive good and consistent with loyalty to America. 

The Brandeis/ Trump concept of consistent positive American/Israel loyalty is the polar opposite of antisemitic “dual-loyalty” charges. 

Antisemitic dual-loyalty charges portray caring about our ally Israel as something negative, and as inconsistent with and harmful to American interests. Prime examples of antisemitic “dual-loyalty” charges include Congresswoman Omar accusing pro-Israel Jews and other pro-Israel Americans of supposed “political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country,”  and Omar’s colleague Rashida Tlaib saying on January 6 of pro-Israel Americans: “They forgot what country they represent.”

As Democratic former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel wrote, Omar’s statement that pro-Israel Americans lack allegiance to America invokes “a dual loyalty that calls our devotion to America into question.”

By contrast, President Trump’s statement portrays loyalty to the Jewish homeland as positive and consistent with devotion to America.

CERTAIN JEWISH leaders’ outpouring of unbridled condemnation against the president, and twisting of the president’s words and intent, is thus deeply troubling and wrong.

Distressingly, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted:  “Let’s be clear: What @POTUS said was #antiSemitic. The charge of disloyalty or dual loyalty has been used against Jews for centuries.”    

Jewish Democratic Council of America executive director Halie Soifer accused the president of “continuing to weaponize and politicize antisemitism,” and claimed, ““If this is about Israel, then Trump is repeating a dual-loyalty claim, which is a form of antisemitism.”

However, a great friend asking American Jews to support Israel isn’t antisemitic.

Let’s also further look at the statement’s context:

President Trump was referencing the Democratic Party leadership’s persistent and frightening refusal to take action against Congresswomen Tlaib, Omar and AOC, who engage in the most vicious antisemitism imaginable.

These congresswomen’s statements, etc. have included falsely calling Israel “evil” and an “apartheid regime”; falsely accusing Jews of “hypnotizing the world” and committing “massacres” against innocent Arabs; raising negative dual-loyalty charges; opposing Israel’s very existence; comparing Israel to Nazis; promoting anti-Israel boycotts; saying that Israel is not an ally; and threatening to cut off aid.

AOC even openly advocated violence against innocent Jews, saying Palestinian Arabs “have no choice but to riot” against Israelis. AOC also invoked a medieval-style blood libel to “justify” anti-Israel violence. Tlaib’s and Omar’s press conference was replete with one vicious anti-Israel lie after another.

The Jewish leaders who condemned President Trump for imaginary antisemitism should instead be demanding that the Democratic leadership must finally take action against Omar, Tlaib and AOC for their frightening, real and virulent antisemitism.  
But disturbingly, ADL’s CEO instead praised Omar for issuing a pseudo-apology for one of her many antisemitic statements – even though she never apologized for calling Israel “evil,” an “apartheid regime” and her other heinous statements. The ADL’s Greenblatt announced: “Hats off to Rep. Omar for her honest apology,” and claimed that Omar is committed to “a more just world.” Omar then quickly issued another raft of antisemitic bile.

It is also extremely concerning that AIPAC and the Jewish organizations AJC, JFNA, ADL, IPF and JDCA wrongly criticized Israel for not admitting vicious antisemites Tlaib and Omar, for a trip to advance their hateful anti-Israel agenda, sponsored by a terror-promoting organization.

When Jewish leaders engage in misplaced criticism of Israel and our pro-Israel US president; fail to express necessary outrage against virulent antisemites sitting in Congress; and fail to demand and insist that the Democratic leadership must remove antisemites Omar, Tlaib and AOC from their committees; it empowers antisemites to increase their attacks against Jews and Israel.

It’s time for the entire Jewish community to understand that President Trump is a true friend, and to band together and demand action against the real antisemites such as Tlaib, Omar and AOC, who endanger our people.

The writer is president of the Zionist Organization of America. The Forward named him as one of the top five Jewish leaders in America. Follow him @mortonaklein7 and at zoa.org.


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