Trump Says Jews Disloyal if They Vote for Democrats

Rep. Ilhan Omar, right speaks as Rep. Rashida Tlaib listens during a news conference at the Capitol in July

Rep. Ilhan Omar, right speaks as Rep. Rashida Tlaib listens during a news conference at the Capitol in July

Democratic presidential candidates and U.S. Jewish groups condemned President Donald Trump's remarks accusing American Jews who vote for Democrats of "great disloyalty", while the Republican leader stuck to his criticism on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump described Jews who vote for Democrats of "great disloyalty", prompting wide scale condemnation and charges of anti-Semitism. At the very least they surely appreciate that there is no way that Israel meant any insult to the United States.

"In my opinion, if you vote for a Democrat you're being very disloyal to Jewish people and you're being very disloyal to Israel and only weak people would say anything other than that", Trump said.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, stopping short of directly criticizing Trump's remarks but emphasizing the importance of U.S. -Israel ties. Omar apologised after making such an allegation earlier this year.

But he said if Omar and Tlaib had been admitted as planned, "their visit would have likely been no more than a minor irritant ..."

"Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this, even three years ago, of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people".

The decision was made less than two hours after Trump tweeted that it would "show great weakness" if Israel gave them permission to come, and the reversal was widely seen as the result of pressure from the USA president. He spoke to reporters from the Oval Office during a visit with the president of Romania.

"We love president Trump in Israel!" With strong Israeli encouragement, he withdrew from the US -led worldwide nuclear deal with Iran, and more recently recognized Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war.

More recently, the "age-old accusation has morphed into a modern antisemitic belief that Jews should be suspected of serving the interests of the state of Israel rather than those of their countries of origin".

American Jews have historically voted overwhelmingly for Democrats.

Halie Soifer, the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said on Twitter that Trump's comments are "yet another example of [his] continuing to weaponize and politicize anti-Semitism".

J Street, a liberal, Washington-based lobbying group, was among several Jewish groups that assailed Trump's remarks. Trump's comments were denounced swiftly by Jewish American organizations.

"A rapidly growing number of American Jews support conditioning, cutting, or ending US military aid to a country that uses our tax dollars to violently oppress Palestinians", Miller said. "His assessment of their knowledge or 'loyalty, ' based on their party preference, is inappropriate, unwelcome, and downright unsafe", said committee Chief Executive David Harris.

Others pointed to the rise in anti-Semitic attacks across the U.S. since Trump took office.

"I would encourage my colleagues to visit, meet with the people we were going to meet with, see the things we were going to see, hear the stories we were going to hear", Omar said. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, though he did not offer specifics about what he was referring to. "Rep Tlaib wants to cut off aid to Israel".

At his urging, Israel last week blocked Ms Omar and Ms Tlaib from entering the country.

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