J Street is appalled, though unsurprised, at former president Donald Trump’s new hateful social media rant against Jewish Americans.
Not for the first time, Trump is accusing Jewish Americans of ingratitude for failing to appreciate his supposed contributions to the State of Israel. Not for the first time, he has asserted that the political preferences of Jewish Americans are (or should be) tied primarily to our views on Israel – relying on the antisemitic trope that Jews in the diaspora are expected to stand more with another country than with our own. Not for the first time, he has implicitly threatened our community, demanding that we “get [our] act together….before it is too late.”
These ignorant comments would be outrageous and unacceptable coming from anyone. But they are exponentially more dangerous when expressed by a former president of the United States who leads an anti-democratic, ethno-nationalist political movement. Since Trump’s rise to power and subsequent electoral defeat, we have seen a dramatic rise in antisemitism and white nationalism in our country. Trump and his allies have amplified rhetoric and ideology that can be tied to multiple deadly attacks against Jewish communities and other vulnerable minorities, including the massacre of Jews praying in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, four years ago this month. At Trump’s incitement, our democratic institutions themselves have been violently attacked and placed in mortal danger.
Now, as Trump-aligned Republican candidates seek to gain control of Congress and Trump himself weighs another presidential bid, the level of danger and hostility toward our community is increasing – and the silence from some corners is deafening. Leading elected officials and candidates from the Republican Party have so far refused to challenge or even address Trump’s comments. Some groups in the Jewish community, including the Republican Jewish Coalition and AIPAC, have also stayed silent about Trump’s comments. They continue to endorse and fundraise for his close friends and allies in Congress – including many of those who voted to overturn President Biden’s election on January 6th, 2021, and some who have promoted the antisemitic “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory.
While these groups have made their choice, J Street and the large majority of Jewish Americans are choosing to speak out, stand up, and fight back in defense of our community, our values, and democracy itself. With Election Day approaching, we are doing all that we can to mobilize in support of candidates who will stand for democracy, equality, justice and civil rights – in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. No matter what happens in the months and years ahead, we will never allow a bigoted demagogue and his allies to speak for our community, to dictate our actions, or to tell us where our priorities and loyalties must lie.