White House blasts what it calls Trump's 'antisemitic' comments

It was not the first time Trump touched on antisemitic tropes.

October 17, 2022, 3:34 PM

The White House on Monday blasted former President Donald Trump for a weekend post on his social media platform telling American Jews to "get their act together."

"Donald Trump's comments were antisemitic, as you all know, and insulting, both to Jews and to our Israeli allies. But let's be clear for years, for years now, Donald Trump has aligned with extremist and antisemitic figures," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday. "It should be called out … just like we called out our Democratic friends and colleagues last week and we will condemn and call this out as well."

"We need to root out antisemitism everywhere it rears its ugly head. We need to call this out," she said. "With respect to Israel, our relationship is ironclad. And it's rooted in shared values and interests. Donald Trump clearly doesn't understand that either."

The rebuke comes after Trump knocked Jews on Truth Social over a perceived lack of loyalty to Israel, hitting on an antisemitic trope of dual loyalty that has plagued Jews across the world for centuries.

"No President has done more for Israel than I have. Somewhat surprisingly, however, our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the U.S.," Trump wrote.

"Those living in Israel, though, are a different story – Highest approval rating in the World, could easily be P.M.! U.S. Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel – Before it is too late!" Trump added.

The comment led to other criticism, including from the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which called the post "more unabashed antisemitism from GOP leader Donald Trump."

"His threat to Jewish Americans and his continued use of the antisemitic dual loyalty trope fuels hatred against Jews. We will not be threatened by Donald Trump and Jewish Americans will reject GOP bigotry this November," the council tweeted.

“We don’t need the former president, who curries favor with extremists and antisemites, to lecture us about the U.S.-Israel relationship. It is not about a quid pro quo; it rests on shared values and security interests. This ‘Jewsplaining’ is insulting and disgusting,” Anti-Defamation League's CEO Jonathan Greenblatt also said Sunday.

"When the president says, 'before it's too late,' it sounds like a threat in an environment where Jews already feel threatened," Greenblatt added on CNN Monday. "It is bewildering that President Trump, who has Jewish children and Jewish grandchildren, continues to evoke age-old antisemitic tropes."

Monday was not the first time Trump faced criticism over his comments on Jews.

He sounded a similar note in 2019 when he said Jewish people who back Democrats are disloyal.

"I think Jewish people that vote for a Democrat -- I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office in response to policies from some Democrats to curtail aid to Israel.

"There's people in this country that are Jewish -- no longer love Israel. I'll tell you, the evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country," he added in an interview released in December.

"It used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress. And today, I think it's the exact opposite," Trump said. "And I think Obama and Biden did that. And yet in the election, they still get a lot of votes from Jewish people, which tells you that the Jewish people, and I've said this for a long time, the Jewish people in the United States either don't like Israel or don't care about Israel."

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Monday's White House rebuke.