Elizabeth Pipko to 'Post': Jewish Democrats are walking away from party

Pipko says that "the Democrats have changed and so should our support for them."

Elizabeth Pipko being honored by the Batsheva Organization for empowering Jewish women leaders (photo credit: Courtesy)
Elizabeth Pipko being honored by the Batsheva Organization for empowering Jewish women leaders
(photo credit: Courtesy)
American Jews are turning their backs on the Democratic Party, claims Exodus Movement founder Elizabeth Pipko.
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post, the New York-born author, former athlete and model, 24, said that she feels many life-long Democratic Party voters are questioning their loyalty to the party and joining what she calls the sweeping #WalkAway wave, an American movement to abandon liberalism.
“The biggest trigger for people is the obvious disregard that many on the left have recently shown for antisemitic statements and actions,” Pipko said, alarming rhetoric that “only a few years ago would have been immediately condemned.”
Take for example recent statements made by Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Ocasio Cortez and Rashida Tlaib against Israel and in favor of boycotting the Jewish state, she said.
“The BDS movement is a blatant attempt to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist,” Pipko said. “There is no place for any US elected officials to support a movement that stands against one of our closest allies and one of the freest countries in the world.”
At one point in the past, the Democrats were “not only incredibly supportive of Israel but also of Jewish people and their rights here in the United States,” she explained. But that is no longer the case, in her estimation.
“Supporting today’s Democratic party just because of its values of many years ago does not make sense,” Pipko continued. “The Democrats have changed and so should our support for them.”
Pipko published her first book at 16. As a model, she starred in international campaigns and was featured in household name magazines, including appearing on the “Social Media Stars As Authors” panel at Book Expo America. This year, she won the “Fearless Female Award” from the Batsheva organization.
It was her volunteering on Trump’s 2016 election campaign that brought to the forefront her strong convictions and she said paved the path to a political vocation.
“Trump inspired me to think for myself and not let politicians tell me what I should or shouldn’t believe in,” Pipko said. “More importantly, he supported Israel in a way I had badly hoped that a candidate would.”
Pipko went on to found the Exodus Movement (originally named Jexodus). Now, three years after joining Trump’s campaign, first as a volunteer and later as a staff member, she is regularly interviewed by Fox News and has been quoted repeatedly by the president.
In March, she appeared on Fox & Friends where she described Trump as “the best friend Jewish Americans could ask for.”
Trump responded with a tweet in which he quoted Pipko saying “Jewish people are leaving the Democratic Party. We saw a lot of anti Israel policies start under the Obama Administration, and it got worse & worse. There is anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party. They don’t care about Israel or the Jewish people. Elizabeth Pipko.”
Trump’s Facebook post reiterated Pipko’s message and included a link to the Exodus Movement.
“Honestly, no part of this journey has hit me yet,” she told the Post, “not the president’s endorsement of my words, not my time on his campaign and not the incredible journey that I have been on with The Exodus Movement.”
She said the movement’s mission is to ensure that only those “who totally support Jewish Americans and their goals” will earn Jewish-American voter support, and that Jews should get the message that they have “for far too long supported a party that stopped supporting them long ago.”
She said that the issue of American Jews’ loyalty has been simmering beneath the political surface for many years, and that Trump’s statement on the matter made it headline news.
“It is a very emotional time for many Jewish Americans, no matter what side of the aisle they align with politically,” said Pipko. “So, when President Trump makes a statement about an emotional topic like that, it will always cause an uproar, especially in a political climate like we have today.”
She said she has received a large number of “heartfelt and emotional messages” over the last few months from Jews who say they have seen the Democratic Party’s true colors and are rejecting it.
“I have a lot of them saved or printed out so that on difficult days I can read them and remind myself of why I am doing what I am doing,” Pipko said. “The worst messages are from people who tell me that their family and friends have cut ties with them for their political beliefs.
“That is something tragic and unnecessary, especially in the United States,” she continued.
Israel is always high on the Jewish community’s agenda. She, like many American Jews, said that she sees the Jewish state becoming an increasingly divisive issue.
“Being against the existence of the only Jewish state in the world is blatant antisemitism – very simple,” Pipko said. “I tell this to everyone I meet and get into many arguments about this, but anti-Zionism is in fact antisemitism.”
She said that not agreeing with the Israeli government or with specific policy decisions of the Israeli leadership is not considered anti-Zionist or anti-Israel.
“However more and more, I’m finding people that actually don’t believe in Israel’s right to exist, a very different and much more dangerous situation than anything I saw or heard even just 10 years ago,” she said.