Responding to comments made by President Trump to a Jewish audience this Saturday — an audience that was not full of Israelis — the leaders of two prominent Jewish organizations accused Trump of using the “duel loyalty” trope, which many believe to be antisemitic.
While speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, Trump referred to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “your prime minister” to the audience.
As Haaretz points out, the comment could be interpreted as suggesting Jewish Americans are loyal to both Israel and America, or the former over the latter.
In a tweet this Sunday, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told Trump that “words matter.”
“As with all elected officials, its critical for you to avoid language that leads people to believe Jews aren’t loyal Americans,” Greenblatt tweeted.
Mr. President, words matter. As with all elected officials, its critical for you to avoid language that leads people to believe Jews aren’t loyal Americans. https://t.co/fHk91Q00El https://t.co/4sRm8tJvt8
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) April 7, 2019
In another tweet, the official account for the American Jewish Committee also had words of criticism for Trump, pointing out that American Jews don’t recognize Netanyahu as ‘their’ leader.
“Mr. President, the Prime Minister of Israel is the leader of his (or her) country, not ours,” the tweet read. “Statements to the contrary, from staunch friends or harsh critics, feed bigotry.”
Mr. President, the Prime Minister of Israel is the leader of his (or her) country, not ours. Statements to the contrary, from staunch friends or harsh critics, feed bigotry. https://t.co/BGlx16NrCK
— AJC (@AJCGlobal) April 7, 2019
The Israeli Policy Forum’s Michael Koplow drew comparisons of Trump’s words to Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who was the target of backlash for tweeting comments that echoed known antisemitic tropes.
“Just like [Omar], President Trump believes and says straight out that American Jews’ primary allegiance is to Israel,” he wrote. “That he says it in an admiring way versus saying it in an accusatory way doesn’t make it any better.”
Trump’s comments on Saturday came just moments after he attacked Omar for her criticisms of Israel. That same day, a man was arrested for making death threats against Omar, who is the first Somali-American woman to be elected to Congress.
On the same day that one of his fans was charged with plotting to murder her, President Trump gratuitously attacks Ilhan Omar pic.twitter.com/rPbC7BYNnu
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 6, 2019
This isn’t the first time Trump has been accused of using antisemitic tropes. During his presidential campaign in 2015, Trump addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition, saying, “You’re not gonna support me even though you know I’m the best thing that could ever happen to Israel … because I don’t want your money.”
“You don’t want to give me money,” he added, “you want to control your own politician.”
Featured image via screen grab