Trump May Be an Anti-Semite, But He’s Right About the Lobby When it comes to protecting Israel's interests, Congress is in the Lobby's Pocket
Donald Trump gave an interview to Seattle Jewish Trumper, Ari Hoffman, yesterday in which he said that Israel “owned Congress.” And the world seems to be all atwitter with the shocking news that our ex-president is an anti-Semite. We all know he’s always been one. This is nothing new. It’s just that now he can unbutton himself and let his fascist freak flag fly:
“Well, you know the biggest change I’ve seen in Congress is Israel literally owned Congress – you understand that, 10 years ago, 15 years ago – and it was so powerful, it was so powerful, and today it’s almost the opposite,” Trump said.
“And we’re not talking about over a very long period of time, but I think you know exactly what I’m saying. They had such power, Israel had such power — and rightfully — over Congress, and now it doesn’t. It’s incredible, actually,” Trump claimed.
…”You have – between AOC [Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez] and [Rep. Ilhan] Omar and these people that hate Israel, they hate it with a passion – they’re controlling Congress and Israel is not a force in Congress anymore, it’s – I mean – it’s just amazing. I’ve never seen such a change,” he said.
“Israel had such power – and rightfully – over Congress, and now it doesn’t. It’s incredible, actually.”
Nor did he spare American Jews his wrath:
“I was affectionately told I could run for prime minister of Israel and win very easily. They like me over there,” he said before contrasting his popularity in Israel with how Jews in the US felt about him.
“It’s incredible that I didn’t get the kind of a vote from Jewish people that you would think I would get. Jewish people in this country — many of them do not like Israel.
“Look at The New York Times. The New York Times is vicious against Israel, and it’s just a terrible thing to watch,” he added, apparently suggesting that the outlet is run by Jews.
The notion that the New York Times, because it is owned by Jews, is anti-Israel is in itself anti-Semitic. But also so far out of left field that it’s left the ballpark.
Besides the anti-Semitism in this statement, there is a strong streak of misogyny, racism and Islamophobia as well targeting AOC and Omar. The claim that they “hate Israel with a passion” and that they control Congress would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous as well. This inciting rhetoric has motivated much of the hate and death threats that have stalked these women during their time in Congress.
Not to mention the claim that with their rise, the Israel Lobby has lost clout and exercises no power over Congres. Of course, there is a battle between the Lobby and progressive Democrats who don’t take orders as many in the Party used to. But the Lobby remains a potent force.
It’s critical too not to lose sight of something important in Trump’s words. While saying Israel owns Congress may be anti-Semitic, saying that Israel owns Congress when it comes to Israel’s interests is full-on truth. Pro-Israel Jews will make no distinction between those two statements, but there is a world of difference. In that sense Trump, in his typical shoot-from-the-lip style, spoke without nuance. But there is much truth in the notion that Israel exerts a stranglehold over US policy related to that country’s interests. And the Lobby is the linchpin undergirding that system.
When progressive Democrats voted not to approve the $500-million expenditure to restock Iron Dome weaponry for Israel, the Lobby and Prime Minister Bennett roared their displeasure and the vote was rammed through by the Democratic leadership within 24-hours. If that’s not naked power, then what is? When the ICC announced it would begin an investigation of Israeli war crimes, the US was the strongest opponent of the plan. Then Pres Trump not only denounced it, he laid sanctions on then prosecutor general Fatima Bensouda. When Israel announces it will build thousands of new housing units in settlements in contravention to international law and US policy, we offer a few words of opposition but never take any action. When the Security Council considers a resolution condemning Israel for invading Gaza, we veto it.
Before the pro-Israel hasbara apparatus rushes to accuse me of anti-Semitism, none other than Labor Party liberal Zionist and former Israeli diplomat, Alon Pinkas, echoes my views:
What Trump is…pointing to is a change in the dynamic of Israel’s relationship with Congress over the last decade – and that is accurate and true.
In the last few years, the much cherished…“Bipartisanship on Israel” seems like an empty relic of yesteryear. The combination of hyper-partisanship in the United States, the evaporation of the political center, the toxicity of the political discourse, and the politics of disruption…together with a deliberate Netanyahu policy to align with the GOP and distance his government from the Democrats…has turned Israel into a wedge issue.
This is coupled with major demographic changes in the United States, a more educated and critical generation that strongly trends Democratic and a changing political culture. Instead of either making the imperative adjustments or keeping out of the political mix altogether, Israel made a choice.
Decades of careful…Israeli policy of trying to maintain bipartisanship and keeping above the American political fray have been replaced by a patently clear political inclination: brawls with then-President Barack Obama; disassociation from centrist Democrats; alienation from progressive Democrats; distancing from the vast majority of American Jews…an affinity with evangelical Christians; a partnership with the Tea Party; and, since 2016, a bromance with Trump.
…In the U.S., changing demographics and generational political evolution led to a strengthening of the “progressive” discourse on foreign policy and growing criticism of Israeli policies…Israel did nothing to address this development.
Trump is wrong and misleading in attributing this to the congressional “Progressive Caucus” – a loose association of 95 House members, most of whom are ardent Israel supporters. But he is right that Israel’s clout in Congress has changed over the last decade.
…No, AOC didn’t do this. Israel did this…
A word about Trump’s interview host. Hoffman married into a wealthy local Jewish real estate empire. His father in law is a powerhouse in the Orthodox Jewish community and was responsible for firing the long-serving rabbi of his shul. Hoffman is a bastion of the pro-police, anti homeless, “Seattle is dying” coalition battling for political control in Seattle. He ran for city council a few years ago and lost. It is no accident that Trump offered anti-Semitic views to Hoffman, who undoubltedly agrees with most of what Trump said, especially the attacks on American Jews for supporting “anti-Israel” Democrats. Which makes Ari himself an anti-Semite.
12 thoughts on “Trump May Be an Anti-Semite, But He’s Right About the Lobby – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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If Trump is an anti-semite how come he hasn’t disowned Ivanka Trump for converting to Judaism?
He has huge support and there is a good chance he may run and win the Presidency again.
What if he sues you for accusing him of anti-semitism?
@ Lenna: Jared and Ivanka are Orthodox Jews. These are the “good Jews” in Trumps book because they support him. The rest of us are the “bad Jews.”
Trump has huge support? Where? He lost the last election by 7 million votes. There is NO chance he will win the presidency again. Not ever.
Trump sue me for accusing him of anti-Semitism? A charge made against him by thousands of political analysts, newspaper columnists, editorial writers and Democratic politicians? He should line us all up and sue us all. That should last him the rest of his life and into his Next Life, in which I hope he will be a poor beggar on the streets of Kolkata.
I take it you don’t like Donald Trump.
Being “clever” or serious?
No one with even a half-sane mind could like Dump. He’s a sociopath yet unleashed fully. Who with even half a sane mind likes sociopaths?
@ Where’d ya get that idea?? 🙂
Maybe Trump was right, that Israel once had a great influence on Congress, but that was well in the past.
And maybe, Trump, neither Statesman nor historian, doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Richard. What Republican do you see running against Biden in 2024?
And, can we can assume that there will be Democrats running against Biden in the 2024 primary?
had a great influence on Congress — who is blocking the president israel ambassador nominee and his reason? to not open an east jerusalem office. hmmmmmm where did i hear that before, hmm benett? gantz?
you seem to forget ISRAEL MONEY POWER, you seem to forget ben and jerry and unilever how long ago? and for whatS?s
no israel has more power than oil carbon tobacco car and steel power put together. when israel sneezes the floor trmbles in congress
State governments passed laws prohibiting that government from doing business with entities that boycott America’s ally, Israel.
Similar laws already on the books prohibit State governments from doing business with entities that discriminate against minorities and women. All fair and aboveboard.
So if Unilever broke those laws, than those State governments would then obey their laws and divest from Unilever for their part in the boycott.
Seems fair and aboveboard to me.
This is proof that Reform Judaism is a different religion.
Like Christianity Its a Religion which started from Judaism and then went in a different direction.
The Reform religion has no believers in Israel, (very small nombers) because this religion does not believe Jews should return to Israel.
as Christians do, they believe in a peaceful world with white doves (something like beauty queens use to say in the beauty queens competition)…
So when Trump said that jews in states don’t like him but jews in Israel like him it doesn’t means he is anti semi, it means that he doesn’t like the Reform religion believers
@ moshe zuchmir:
I don’t know if you’re lying deliberately or simply ignorant. But Reform Judaism has 40 synagogues and tens of thousands of followers in Israel. It was founded there 50 yrs ago. And it certainly believes in aliyah or it wouldn’t have an ever expanding number of communities and followers.
You are profoundly ignorant, shamefully so. And you’re spreading lies about Reform Judaism.
I agree with the political analysis. Having said that, I also feel there has to be a personality component: trump is somewhat of an extrovert / uninhibited bragging fool and is therefore expected to say toxic and inflammatory things when given the opportunity. Ironically, trump, who has expressed a parasitic behaviour during his rise to power, is now serving as a stepping stone for others to pursue their agenda.