WASHINGTON — U.S. Jewish organizations on Sunday sharply criticized former U.S. President Donald Trump after he warned American Jews to “get their act together.”
The former president decried American Jews’ failure to appreciate him as evangelical Christians or Israelis do, posting on Truth Social that “U.S. Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel. Before it is too late.”
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt slammed Trump, who alienated the vast majority of American Jews by empowering white supremacy during his presidency, saying “We don’t need the former president, who curries favor with extremists and antisemites, to lecture us about the U.S.-Israel relationship. It is not about a quid pro quo; it rests on shared values and security interests. This ‘Jewsplaining’ is insulting and disgusting,” he said.
Trump has used his unprecedented support for Israel as a deflection against accusations of antisemitism, all while invoking dual loyalty tropes and deeming Jews who vote for Democrats as “very disloyal” to Israel. Trump’s opinions of American Jews, however, have deteriorated into stereotypes for decades, touching on tropes of wealth, power and status.
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The American Jewish Committee noted that “support for the Jewish state never gives one license to lecture American Jews, nor does it ever give the right to draw baseless judgments about the ties between U.S. Jews and Israel. And to be clear, those ties are strong and enduring.”
Trump’s post comes one month after the annual non-partisan Jewish Electorate Institute survey found that 70 percent of Jewish voters support Biden – a seven-percent increase from a similar poll taken earlier this year – while only 19 percent of Jewish voters hold a favorable opinion of Trump.
“American Jews got ‘their act together’ in 2020, when 77 percent supported Biden. This won’t change because Jews view Trump and MAGA candidates as extremist-aligned threats to our security, democracy & values, as epitomized by this antisemitic screed. This has nothing to do with Israel,” said Jewish Democratic Council of America CEO Halie Soifer.
Also reacting to the Trump’s comments, director of the Democratic Majority for Israel Communications Rachel Rosen said that “once again, the former president manages to be both insulting and ill-informed.” “American Jews support the U.S. – Israel relationship. What they don’t support is his bigotry, cruelty and incitement of a deadly insurrection,” said Rosen.
Republican lawmakers and the Republican Jewish Coalition did not respond to requests for comment – a silence not lost on Democratic members of Congress.
Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips called the comments “repulsive, offensive and downright dangerous,” deeming the Republican silence deafening.
“The GOP sat silently when Trump bragged about sexual assault. They sat silently when he attacked our democracy. Today they sit silently in the face of his antisemitism. Either they agree with him, or they are cowards,” said Rep. Sean Casten. “In either case, they are not fit to lead.”
Rep. Steve Cohen acknowledged that “there are many Jews who support Trump and largely because of his political calculus regarding Israel and his Evangelical/Orthodox outreach.”
“However,” Cohen noted, “Jews don’t need him to tell us what our values should be. Authoritarians aren’t/weren’t good for Jewish people or values.”
The Zionist Organization of America, however, was the only right-leaning Jewish organization to respond. “I understand Trump’s pain that not one mainstream Jewish group, except for the ZOA, honored Trump for being such an extraordinary friend to Israel and the Jewish people,” ZOA President Morton Klein said.
“It was important for Jews to have publicly expressed appreciation for Trump’s groundbreaking pro Israel policies,” added Klein, whose organization will recognize Trump with its highest honor next month. “We had a moral and ethical obligation to do so.”