Trump: Any Jew who votes for Democrats ‘hates their religion’
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, Dec. 19, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By Ron Kampeas
March 19, 2024

(JTA) — Donald Trump said that any Jew who votes for Democrats “hates their religion”, an escalation of his anger at a community that continues to vote overwhelmingly for his opponents, and shows little sign of changing course in November.

“Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion, they hate everything about Israel, and they should be ashamed of themselves because Israel will be destroyed,” the former president said Monday in an interview with Sebastian Gorka, a far-right commentator who once worked as an adviser in the Trump White House.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee who is facing off again against Joe Biden in this year’s presidential election, has long been baffled by how American Jewish voters continue to favor Democrats in overwhelming numbers, despite the series of pro-Israel policies he advanced as president, including moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and pulling out of the Iran deal.

In 2019, as president, he said, “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” In 2022, he posted to social media, “Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel – Before it is too late!”

His Rosh Hashanah message last year was directed at “liberal Jews who voted to destroy America & Israel because you believed false narratives!”

This appeared to be the first time Trump directly mentioned Jews’ religion as part of the message. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who recently honored Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, at the group’s annual conference, condemned Trump’s remarks.

“Accusing Jews of hating their religion because they might vote for a particular party is defamatory and patently false,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “Serious leaders who care about the historic US-Israel alliance should focus on strengthening, rather than unraveling, bipartisan support for the State of Israel.”

Gorka was asking Trump about growing differences between the Biden administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over Israel’s prosecution of its war against Hamas, which Biden has largely backed. Trump referred to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Jewish Democrat and majority leader who last week called for early elections in Israel. Trump said Democrats were worried about the pro-Palestinian vote.

“I really believe [Democrats] hate Israel, and they also see a lot of votes. Don’t forget, when you see those Palestinian marches, even I am amazed at how many people are in those marches. And guys like Schumer see that,” Trump said “I think it’s votes more than anything else, because he was always pro Israel. He’s very anti-Israel now.”

Trump has claimed, without evidence, that the war would not have happened on his watch, and says he would be more supportive of Israel than Biden, though he has offered few specifics.

The Biden campaign immediately seized on this week’s clip and posted it on social media, noting a recent report that Trump has praised Adolf Hitler. Trump has denied the claim.

“Trump, who reportedly said Hitler ‘did some good things’: Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion. They should be ashamed of themselves,” the Biden campaign said in its post on X, formerly Twitter.

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