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The New Arab

Trump claims he is a better friend to Israel than some Jewish Americans

Trump previously accused Jewish Democrats of 'disloyalty' [AFP]

Date of publication: 8 December, 2019

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President Donald Trump claimed Jewish Americans have 'no choice' not to vote for him because of a wealth tax proposed by a prominent Democratic candidate.
President Donald Trump on Saturday declared himself the "best friend" Israel has ever had in the White House because, unlike his predecessors, "I kept my promises".

The US president also said some Jewish Americans "don't love Israel enough" and claimed he would have no trouble persuading Jewish voters in the 2020 election as they would want to "protect their wealth".

Critics have condemned the remarks as anti-Semitic.

"We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more," Trump said, to some applause. "Because you have Jewish people that are great people — they don't love Israel enough."

The president also maligned maligned Jewish Americans who vote for the Democratic Party, telling the audience that they had been wrong to vote for his predecessor Barack Obama.

The comments came in a speech before a crowd of 4,000 at the annual meeting of the Israeli-American Council (IAC), which took place in key swing-state Florida. The IAC is a non-profit whose funders include billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam - both of them high-profile Trump supporters.

"So many of you voted for people in the last administration," he said.

"Someday you'll have to explain that to me because I don't think they liked Israel too much."

As opposed to under Obama, Trump said, "the Jewish state has never had a better friend in the White House than your president, Donald J Trump".

The Republican president also told the audience that his controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy there proved he was the "best friend" Israel has ever had.

"Unlike other presidents, I kept my promises," he said.

Aaron Keyak, the former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, denounced Trump's remarks as anti-Semitic.

"Trump's insistence on using anti-Semitic tropes when addressing Jewish audiences is dangerous and should concern every member of the Jewish community - even Jewish Republicans," he said.

It is not the first time the president has been accused of trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes

Earlier this year, Trump said that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats show "either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty". Accusations of disloyalty or divided loyalties leveled against Jews have long been acknowledged as anti-Semitic tropes.

In his IAC speech, Trump also leaned on anti-Semitic tropes around Jews and finance.

"You have to vote for me, you have no choice," he said. "You're not going to vote for the wealth tax [put forward by Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren].

"Let's take 100 percent of your wealth away. No, no. Even if you don't like me - and some of you don't, some of you I don't like at all actually - and you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you'll be out of business in about 15 minutes."

Trump also took aim at supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, referencing prominent Democratic advocates of the movement Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, althought not by name.

"You've got to be very careful, make no mistake, radical lawmakers who support the BDS movement are advancing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda," he said. "My administration strongly opposes this despicable rhetoric, and as long as I am your president, it makes no difference, it is not happening."

Agencies contributed to this report

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