Former President Donald Trump in an interview with an Israeli journalist listed off a series of complaints about Jewish people in the United States. The rant featured a number of anti-Semitic tropes, including that Jews control Washington, D.C. and the media, as well as that they have a “dual loyalty” to both Israel and America. He also implied that Jews should be loyal to him because he supported Israel during his time in office.
“There’s people in this country that are Jewish [that] no longer love Israel,” Trump told journalist Barak Ravid in audio that was played during a recent episode of the Unholy podcast. “I’ll tell you, the evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country. It used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress. And today I think it’s the exact opposite. And I think Obama and Biden did that.”
— Yonit Levi (@LeviYonit) December 17, 2021
The former president, who prided himself as a firm backer of Israel during his time in office, lamented how his support didn’t seem to translate to the ballot box from a certain segment of the electorate. “And yet in the election, [Democrats] 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,” Trump claimed.
After implying that Jews who vote for Democrats hate Israel, Trump moved onto the trope that Jews control the media. “I mean, you look at The New York Times,” he said. “The New York Times hates Israel, hates them. And they’re Jewish people that run The New York Times. I mean, the Sulzberger family.”
Trump’s own family includes at least two Jews: his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whom he tapped to lead the administration’s effort to broker peace between Israel and Palestine, and his daughter, Ivanka, who converted to Judaism before marrying Kushner in 2009.
Family ties didn’t keep the former president from trading in anti-Semitic stereotypes during his time in office, as well as during his first campaign. He tried to appeal to Jews in 2015 by riffing to a group of Jewish Republicans about how they are great “negotiators,” how they want to “control” their own politician, and how they weren’t going to support him because Trump didn’t “want [their] money.”
Trump told the same group of Jewish Republicans that he would be the “best thing to ever happen to Israel,” and later in his campaign promised to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He did so in Dec. 2017, one of several foreign policy moves his administration made that were favorable to Israel. In Sept. 2020, he signed the Abraham Accords, an agreement that normalized relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain. Trump said the Israel-friendly deal was intended in part to try to force Palestine into a peace agreement. “The Palestinians are very difficult to deal with,” Trump said on Fox News.
Trump’s approach to Israel during his time in office is the subject of Ravid’s new book, Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East, for which he interviewed Trump. Ravid reported recently for Axios that Trump blames former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his failure to bring peace to the Middle East, and that he soured on Netanyahu after Netanyahu congratulated President Biden for winning the 2020 election.
“Fuck him,” Trump told Ravid of the former prime minister.