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Trump Again, and Repeatedly, Denounces Jews Who Support Biden

USTrump Again, and Repeatedly, Denounces Jews Who Support Biden

Former President Donald J. Trump on Thursday assailed President Biden for threatening to halt weapons supplies to Israel, and he repeatedly turned to castigating American Jews who support Mr. Biden, suggesting that they were betraying their religious and cultural identity.

Outside the Manhattan courtroom where he is on trial for charges related to a campaign sex scandal cover-up in 2016, Mr. Trump called Mr. Biden’s policy on Israel “disgraceful.” Then, he told reporters that “any Jewish person” who had voted for Mr. Biden “should be ashamed of themselves.”

Asked about Mr. Biden’s comments by a local television station in North Carolina, he instructed American Jews — a substantial majority of whom are liberal — not to vote for Mr. Biden in November. “If you’re Jewish, and you vote for him, I say, shame on you,” he told Spectrum News 1 North Carolina.

And in a video posted to social media in which he also invoked a rally and march in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, where white supremacists carrying tiki torches chanted “Jews will not replace us,” Mr. Trump claimed that Mr. Biden hated “the Jewish people.” He added: “If Jewish people are going to vote for Joe Biden, they have to have their head examined.”

In recent months, Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized Jewish voters who backed Democrats as he has attacked Mr. Biden’s approach toward the war in Gaza, tried to present himself as a staunch pro-Israel ally and sought to use the conflict as a wedge issue that can chip away at Mr. Biden’s coalition. In the North Carolina interview, he voiced support for an Israeli invasion of Rafah, saying, “They have to get the job done.”

Mr. Trump has for years tried to woo Jewish voters away from the Democratic Party. But his efforts have accelerated since Hamas’s attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and the ensuing conflict in Gaza, which exposed divisions among Democrats over the Biden administration’s approach to Israel.

Mr. Biden has more recently asserted his support for Jewish Americans, as he struggles to balance his backing of Israel with mounting political pressure to do more to protect civilians in Gaza. On Tuesday, Mr. Biden condemned a “surge of antisemitism” in the United States during a Holocaust remembrance ceremony.

After Mr. Trump’s statements on Thursday, a Biden campaign spokesman, Charles Lutvak, criticized Mr. Trump’s comments and accused him of antisemitism. “Like a cuckoo clock of hate, he is popping up every month with the same patronizing antisemitic shtick and reminding Jewish voters that he has no respect for us,” Mr. Lutvak said in a statement.

Mr. Trump has for years been accused of drawing on antisemitic tropes. During his presidency, he accused American Jews who did not back him as being disloyal, a remark criticized for evoking a longstanding trope suggesting that Jews have a “dual loyalty” and are often more loyal to Israel than to their own nations.

Mr. Trump and other prominent Republicans have seized on campus protests over Israel’s assault on Gaza, accusing Democrats and liberal institutions of broad antisemitism, even as their party has for years helped mainstream thinly veiled anti-Jewish messages.

Mr. Trump in recent weeks has compared the protests with the Charlottesville rally, which turned deadly after a neo-Nazi drove his car through a crowd of people who were protesting the assembly of white supremacists.

While in office, Mr. Trump drew an equivalency between the white supremacists and the peaceful counterprotesters in Charlottesville, insisting that there had been “very fine people on both sides.” But in recent weeks, he has further minimized the rhetoric and actions of the rally’s right-wing participants.

“Charlottesville is like a ‘peanut’ compared to the riots and anti-Israel protests that are happening all over our country,” Mr. Trump said in the video he posted to social media on Thursday. The campus protests have been largely peaceful, though some Jewish students have reported antisemitic harassment and some protests have involved clashes with police officers.

At the same time that Mr. Trump has tried to win the support of Jewish voters by arguing that Mr. Biden has failed them, he has appeared to try to seize on the discontent that many Arab Americans feel over the Biden administration’s stance on Gaza.

In the social media video, Mr. Trump — who often promotes himself as the most pro-Israel president in American history — claimed that Mr. Biden “hates the Palestinians also, and even more so” than Jews.

As part of an effort to diminish Democratic turnout in Michigan, a key battleground state, Trump allies have discussed running ads in parts of the state with large Muslim populations, thanking Mr. Biden for supporting Israel, with the goal of stoking Arab American voters’ concerns about his presidency.

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