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Trump evoked anti-Semitic tropes while trying to prove he’s pro-Israel

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday said American Jews who vote Democrat display either “a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” evoking blatant anti-Semitic tropes as he sought to prove how pro-Israel he is.

Jewish voters in the US tend to support the Democratic Party, with roughly eight-in-10 voting for Democrats in the 2018 midterms. American Jews also have unfavorable views of Trump, with just 26% approving of the job he’s doing as president, according to Gallup.

But Trump’s comments on Tuesday painted Jews as a monolith and a group that should somehow be treated differently than other religious traditions, which is inherently anti-Semitic.

“The charge of disloyalty has been used to harass, marginalize, and persecute the Jewish people for centuries,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) states.

Read more: Trump has picked his 2020 Democratic opponent, and it’s ‘the Squad’

“Sometimes referred to as the ‘dual loyalty’ charge, it alleges that Jews should be suspected of being disloyal neighbors or citizens because their true allegiance is to their coreligionists around the world or to a secret and immoral Jewish agenda,” the ADL adds. “This anti-Semitic allegation posits that non-Jews should not trust the motives or actions of their Jewish neighbors, who may be engaged in deceitful behavior to accomplish their own goals at the expense of others … Sadly, the dual loyalty insult remains among the most widely held anti-Semitic slurs around the world.”

In a tweet decrying Trump for his “disloyalty” comment aimed at American Jews, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said, “It’s long overdue to stop using Jews as a political football.”

The president in his Tuesday remarks implied that Jews are required to show loyalty to Israel by portraying himself and the GOP as friends of the country and Democrats as its enemies.

Trump’s comments came during a conversation on Israel’s recent decision to block entry to Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, who have both been staunch critics of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The president had urged Israel toward this move, tweeting, “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.”

Similarly, Trump on Tuesday said: “I can’t even believe that we’re having this conversation. Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this, even three years ago, of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people.”

Trump added: “Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone that they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel? I think that any Jewish people who vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

Read more: Israel blocking 2 US Muslim congresswomen from entering the country is a huge show of weakness that will probably backfire

Omar has also used anti-Semitic tropes — including invoking a “dual loyalty” charge against Jewish-American supporters of Israel. The freshman congresswoman later apologized for her choice of words, saying she “unknowingly” utilized such tropes.

While Trump has attacked Omar relentlessly over her comments, he just deployed the very same trope as he pigeonholed an entire religious group in his escalating campaign to make US support for Israel a partisan issue.

Tlaib and Omar — along with with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — are part of a group of freshman Democrats known as “The Squad.” All of the members of the so-called “Squad” are women of color, and Trump sparked a firestorm of criticism after attacking them with racist tweets in July.

But the president has not relented as he works to paint these lawmakers as the new face of the Democratic Party in an effort to portray the party as anti-Semitic, socialist, and un-American ahead of the 2020 election.

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