Muslim Times(Web Desk) – US President Donald Trump is trying to help his 2020 election campaign by prolonging and weaponizing the debate over Israel and anti-Semitism among the Democratic Party, which was triggered by freshman Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
The Republican president’s rhetorical escalation is designed to unsettle the Democratic Party’s primary elections, exploit an issue that can energize his right-wing supporters and move past his own history of seemingly anti-Semitic comments, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
“Stoking the fight also gives Trump an opportunity to deflect criticism of his own rhetoric, invigorate evangelical Christians for whom the Israel issue is a powerful motivator and paint Democrats into a radical corner,” the AP said in its report.
Trump told reporters last Friday that the Democratic Party has become “anti-Jewish” and “anti-Israel,” following a vote the previous day in the US House of Representatives on a resolution broadly condemning bigotry rather than specifically condemning anti-Semitism.
“The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They’ve become an anti-Jewish party, and that’s too bad,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House. “I thought that vote was a disgrace, and so does everybody else if you get an honest answer.”
Omar, a newly elected Democrat representing Minnesota in the lower chamber of Congress, had sparked a political firestorm with comments suggesting supporters of Israel have dual allegiances.
Trump has been among the loudest critics of Omar, including last month when he called on her to resign from the House of Representatives.
Trump also asserted during a private Republican fundraiser last week that Democrats “hate” Jews, according to a person who heard the remarks but spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the president’s comments at a private event.
Following Trump’s comments on Friday, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “Those who truly care about the Jewish community shouldn’t politicize #antiSemitism. No one should be grandstanding now. Elected leaders can best help us move forward by ending the blame game & genuinely committing to rebuild bonds & fight #hate in all forms.”
The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization based in New York City, has faced criticism for its support of Israel and equating opposition to Israel with anti-Semitism.
Halie Soifer, the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said Trump has promoted anti-Semitism.
“He himself has emboldened anti-Semites in our country by both repeating anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories,” she said. “He has no credibility with Jewish voters.”
Over the last decade, Jewish voters have shown stability in their partisanship, according to data from Pew Research Center. Jewish voters identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party over the Republican Party by a roughly 2-1 ratio.