Former President Donald Trump said in an interview this week that U.S. Jews' lack of devotion to Israel contributed to them not supporting him more strongly.
"American Jews don't love Israel enough," Trump told Brooklyn-based ultra-Orthodox weekly Ami, Haaretz reported. "You know what really surprises me? I did the [Golan] Heights, I did Jerusalem and I did Iran — the Iran deal was a disaster right? And I also did many other things.
"Jewish people who live in the United States don't love Israel enough."
In mentioning his administration's recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, Trump excluded the Orthodox community, where his support was "very high," from his criticism.
"I believe we got 25% of the Jewish vote, and it doesn't make sense," Trump said. "It just seems strange to me."
A poll commissioned by the Republican Jewish Coalition following last year's election found that 30.5% of American Jews voted for Trump. A survey by the liberal group J Street found that 77% of Jews voted for Biden and only 21% for Trump.
"Trump pushed the Jewish vote further to the Democrats," J Street's pollster wrote.
Trump's comments to Ami, in an edition available Wednesday, were blasted on social media.
"It is an anti-Semitic trope to assume that allegiance to [former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu defines my ethnic, political, cultural, religious, or political identity," Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, tweeted.
"I am a proud American Jew and I won't let anyone define the extent of my love for Israel by my belligerence towards others."
Trump previously had suggested American Jews failed to support him or Israel sufficiently.
In August 2019, he said "any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," Haaretz said.
Soon after that, Trump posted a series of tweets in which he quoted praise from a conservative radio host who referred to him as the "King of Israel."
"Jewish people in Israel love him like he's the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God ... But American Jews don't know him or like him. They don't even know what they're doing or saying anymore," conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root had said about remarks posted by Trump.
Haaretz reported that a 2019 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that U.S. Jews were much more likely to criticize Trumps's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than their Christian counterparts. A total of 42% of Jewish respondents agreed the then-president favored Israel too much.
A Gallup poll earlier in 2019 said about half of American Jews were Democrats.
Ami's pre-election poll foretold that Trump would receive 83% of the Orthodox Jewish vote, up from the 54% in 2016.
On Newsmax late last month, Trump said House Democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have wronged Israel by favoring the Palestinians.
"I think what's happened to Israel is one of the great injustices," Trump said in an exclusive interview on Newsmax's "Dick Morris Democracy."
"If you look back 10 or 12 years ago, Israel was so protected by Congress. Congress loved Israel."
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