U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that the Democratic Party has become “anti-Jewish” and “anti-Israel,” following Thursday’s House vote on a resolution broadly condemning bigotry rather than specifically condemning anti-Semitism.
That resolution was initially planned following comments by Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar that inflamed many Jewish American organizations and were criticized as being anti-Semitic.
“I thought yesterday’s vote by the House was disgraceful,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House Friday. “I thought that vote was a disgrace, and so does everybody else if you get an honest answer.”
The president added that the incident showed “the Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They’ve become an anti-Jewish party, and that’s too bad.”
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Following Trump's comments on Friday, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, "Those who truly care about the Jewish community shouldn't politicize #antiSemitism. No one should be grandstanding now. Elected leaders can best help us move forward by ending the blame game & genuinely committing to rebuild bonds & fight #hate in all forms."
Thursday's resolution passed the House by a large majority, 407-23. All the 23 no votes were cast by Republicans. Omar herself voted in favor of the resolution.
The move to broaden the scope of the vote was in part intended to resolve a party divide that opened after Omar made comments about Israel last week that were seen by some as anti-Semitic. A Muslim-American, the Minnesota representative has been critical of Israel in the past.
Trump has made several comments about Omar this week in several tweets. On Tuesday he said she made "terrible comments" when she suggested that Jewish American supporters of Israel are pushing people to have “allegiance to a foreign country.”
"Representative Ilhan Omar is again under fire for her terrible comments concerning Israel. Jewish groups have just sent a petition to Speaker Pelosi asking her to remove Omar from Foreign Relations Committee. A dark day for Israel!" he wrote.
He followed that a day later by slamming House Democrats for not advancing the planned resolution condemning anti-Semitism.
Trump tweeted, “It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism in their conference. Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!”
The Jewish Democratic Council of America, which describes itself as the voice of Jewish Democrats and socially progressive, pro-Israel and Jewish values, was swift to respond to Trump's comments.
"We are appalled, but not surprised, that @realDonaldTrump has once again demonstrated dishonesty, hypocrisy, and willingness to use anti-Semitism and Israel as a political football," the JDCA tweeted.
"We only wish the president had learned from this resolution, which defines anti-Semitism to include anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories that he has repeatedly invoked himself. The president’s own words have fueled the fire of intolerance and targeting of Jews, and Republicans have failed to condemn the president's remarks in the same way that Democrats were quick to rebuke Ilhan Omar.
"We are proud of the strong and unanimous position taken by House Democrats to condemn anti-Semitism and hatred in all its forms, and note that it was Republicans who were divided in their vote," it concluded.
Trump and his administration have been accused of anti-Semitism multiple times, including when the then-candidate told the Republican Jewish Coalition's candidates forum in 2015 :“You’re not gonna support me even though you know I’m the best thing that could ever happen to Israel [. . .] You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. Isn’t it crazy?”
The following year, Trump came under fire for sharing on social media an image of Hillary Clinton with a Star of David that described her as the "most corrupt candidate ever!" Trump claimed that the star could be a "sherrif's star" or "plain star."
Trump's final campaign ad before the election was also criticized as having anti-Semitic overtones.“The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election for those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interests,” Trump said in the video.
The “levers of power in Washington” remark was accompanied by footage of Jewish billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, followed by Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen appearing imposed over the term “global special interests.” Later in the video, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein also made an appearance.
After Trump's election, the White House came under fire for a statement marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day that decrying the "horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror," but failed to specifically mention either anti-Semitism or Jews.
In August 2017, Trump declared that “both sides” were culpable for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which claimed the life of a counterprotester. A torchlit march that preceded the day of violence featured white supremacists chanting “Jews will not replace us.”
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