This week, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D.-Minn.) came under fire for tweeting about Israel using language that some considered anti-Semitic. In response, Democrats drafted a resolution condemning anti-Semitism.
On Thursday, after receiving pushback from some lawmakers who said Omar was being unfairly singled out, Democrats broadened the measure to denounce other types of discrimination, such as Islamophobia and white supremacy. The House passed the measure by a wide margin; 23 Republicans opposed it.
On Friday, President Trump criticized Democrats for broadening the focus of their anti-hate measure. “I thought yesterday’s vote by the House was disgraceful,” the president told reporters as he left the White House to assess tornado damage in Alabama. “The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They’ve become an anti-Jewish party, and that’s too bad.”
That critique, though, doesn’t reflect the reality.
Thirty-two of the 34 Jewish members of Congress are Democrats. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 70 percent of Jewish Americans voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Though Trump has proffered several pro-Israel positions while in office, the vast majority of American Jewish voters do not support him. An October 2018 poll found that 74 percent of Jews planned to vote for Democratic candidates in the midterm elections. Three quarters of respondents disapproved of the president’s policies. They were particularly opposed to the president’s policies on domestic issues such as immigration, taxes and health care.
Additionally, the president has come under fire for remarks that some found anti-Semitic.
After white nationalists marched through Charlottesville, chanting “Jews will not replace us,” Trump called some of the protesters “very fine people,” a comment that drew harsh condemnation.
During the 2016 campaign, the president defended the use of an image of a six-point star, which resembled the Star of David, over a pile of $100 bills. The image was part of an attack against Clinton; many Jewish leaders said it was anti-Semitic. At a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition in 2015, Trump made comments that reinforced stereotypes about Jewish people. And in the final days of the campaign, he made headlines for running an ad that referenced the “global power structure” attempting to control the world through Clinton while featuring images of prominent Jewish leaders like George Soros.
The president has also developed close ties with Israel, and in particular with the country’s conservative prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has spoken out in support of him. But being pro-Israel and being the party of American Jews is not the same thing. Right now, the vast majority of Jewish voters in the United States vote with the Democrats.
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