Former President Donald Trump made a jaw-dropping series of anti-Semitic claims about Jewish Americans controlling institutions of government and media in a new interview where he said evangelical Americans â€œlove Israel more than the Jews in this country.â€
â€œIt used to be Israel had absolute power over Congress, and today I think itâ€™s the exact opposite,â€ he said.
Trump had been speaking to Barak Ravid, an Israeli journalist for Axios who wrote a book on Trumpâ€™s Middle Eastern policies. Ravid discussed his conversation with the former president on a podcast called â€œUnholy: Two Jews on the News,â€ which aired a clip of the interview Friday.
Trump started speaking first about his father, saying Fred Trump â€œwas very close with many Jewish peopleâ€ due to his work in the New York City real estate industry. He then suggested that American Jews used to have â€œa great love of Israelâ€ and that this has â€œdissipated over the years.â€
â€œI must be honest. Itâ€™s a very dangerous thing thatâ€™s happening,â€ Trump said. â€œPeople in this country that are Jewish no longer love Israel.â€
He went on: â€œIâ€™ll tell you, the evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country.â€
â€œIt used to be Israel had absolute power over Congress,â€ Trump said. â€œAnd today I think itâ€™s the exact opposite. 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 â€• and Iâ€™ve said this for a long time â€• the Jewish people in the United States either donâ€™t like Israel or donâ€™t care about Israel.â€
Many evangelicals support Israel because they believe it is central to a Biblical prophecy foretelling the apocalypse, which they welcome in the belief it will reunite them with Christ.
However, Trumpâ€™s comments echo claims made in 2019, when, as president, he said Jews who vote for Democrats show â€œgreat disloyaltyâ€ to Israel. He earned criticism at the time from a Jewish advocacy group that said it was â€œa form of anti-Semitismâ€ to suggest that Jewish Americans are not full Americans.
The idea that Jewish people supposedly control global politics and culture at the expense of non-Jews is a common, centuries-old anti-Semitic trope.
â€œI mean, you look at The New York Times â€• The New York Times hates Israel. Hates â€™em. And theyâ€™re Jewish people that run The New York Times. I mean, the Sulzbergers,â€ Trump said. (Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. was the longtime chairman of The New York Times Company; he was succeeded by his son, A.G. Sulzberger. They have Jewish ancestry but, according to the Times of Israel, some descendants were raised Protestant.)
â€œUnholyâ€ host Jonathan Freedland said Trumpâ€™s comments were rife with â€œclassic anti-Semitic tropesâ€ and â€œa whole lot of negative stereotypes about Jews.â€
â€œThis is the guy who, after white supremacists went on the march in Charlottesville, said there were â€˜very fine people on both sides,â€™â€ Freedland said.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt summed it up neatly, saying on CNN Trumpâ€™s comments â€œfall somewhere between stunning and stupid.â€