Trump Draws Ire for Saying Jews Who Vote for Democrats Hate Their Religion, Israel

by Jessica
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Rabbi and Forward Columnist Jay Michaelson recently lambasted former President Donald Trump over his “truly disgusting” jab on Jews who vote for Democrats with a double-burn — calling the comment “beneath even Donald Trump” via Mediaite.

Trump has sparked controversy with the comments he made in an interview with Sebastian Gorka on Monday.

“Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion. They hate everything about Israel and they should be ashamed of themselves because Israel will be destroyed,” Trump said.

The remarks have been widely slammed as playing to anti-Semitic tropes and drew a sharp rebuke from President Joe Biden’s White House and presidential campaign.

On Monday night’s edition of CNN NewsNight, anchor Abby Phillip hosted Rabbi Michaelson and noted “You can’t be surprised that Trump would repeat this but why do you think he’s doing it?”:

JAY MICHAELSON: I feel like he has totally gone off the rails in a certain way and he gets cheers for doing that. I mean, hanging around with Seb Gorka itself would be news, you know, in a normal situation, given his record of palling around with anti-Semites.

But this was truly a disgusting comment. I meant it was appalling. 70 percent of American Jews generally vote for the Democratic Party, give or take a few percentage points. So, we’re talking over two-thirds of American Jews that Trump says hate Judaism. As a rabbi who sometimes votes Democratic, I do not hate Judaism.

And this kind of smear against an entire community comes at a time when Jews have a lot of reason in this country to feel insecure, and now we’re going to be attacked by the presumptive nominee of a major party and saying that we are self-hating is absolutely despicable.

PHILLIP: He also, I mean, believes based on the Abraham Accords and things that he did when he was president that Jews owe it to him to support him.

MICHAELSON: Yes, like a true mafia boss or something like we have to have loyalty because he moved the embassy to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, he helped coddle the hard, hard right extremists who have made peace impossible in Israel.

Trump also, let’s remember, blamed Israel for the October 7th attacks. He didn’t come out with the statement saying how appalling and horrific the massacres of rapes were that Hamas committed on that day. He said, oh, well, Israel made a mistake and he insulted the Israeli general. And he said this would never happen under my watch. It’s always about him.

And to see this kind of intense narcissism come at the expense of friends of mine who have children serving in the Israeli military and friends who died on October 7th, it’s just I cannot think of a more despicable and disgusting act. And I can’t believe that anyone with a conscience could support this man.

PHILLIP: It’s not a new thing for the issue of Israel to be intensely political, but when you have Trump, to your point, making these kinds of comments in this kind of environment, what’s going on in your community?

You’re a rabbi. What are you hearing from your friends, from just people who are kind of looking at the situation and wondering, when is it going to — when are things going to calm down?

MICHAELSON: Yes. I mean, you know, look, anti-Semitism is way up in the United States. There are many Jews with lots of different opinions. There’re some people who bitterly oppose the way that this war is being conducted, who were calling for a ceasefire, a bilateral ceasefire. And there are many people who support this action and are still very understandably traumatized by October 7th.

There’s a real breadth of opinion within the Jewish community. And I have friends who are more conservative than I am. I would never, in a million years, insinuate that to vote Republican is in some way a betrayal of Jewish values. That’s exactly the kind of baseless hatred that we need to fight.

PHILLIP: Do you think he’s trying to distract, like Omarosa said earlier? She said he does this, he says this stuff to just distract from other news.

MICHAELSON: I mean, it’s always one he’s constantly right, you know, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, like that’s the strategy, just like keep firing in all different ways and keep us off balance. But there still has to be some line. You know, there’s some argument like should we even cover idiotic comments like this in the media.

But I feel like the stuffs cross so many lines of decency to insult people who are already feeling profoundly insecure and who were already really bitterly divided within the community because there are people with all this whole range of opinions.

And to take this moment after already not really saying anything positive about October 7th, meaning consoling about October 7th, to make this to insult the Jewish community to score political points, it’s absolutely — it’s beneath even Donald Trump.

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