WASHINGTON – The Trump administration is reportedly “frustrated” that American Jews have not rallied around the Republican president, “given his sweeping support for Israel,” according to an Israeli think-tank report published on Sunday.
The study from the Jewish People Policy Institute, which examines the growing political divide over Israel in the US, quotes a senior White House aide lamenting the general response from Democrats to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year.
According to the document, there is “a deepening frustration in the Trump administration with the lack of appreciation American Jews have shown for the steps taken by the president to improve Israel’s political and security reality.
“A senior official in the administration emphasized to JPPI that ‘We can take justified criticism, but if Obama had transferred the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the American Jewish community would have been united in applauding him!’” it continued.
Approached by The Jerusalem Post to verify the quote, the White House neither confirmed nor denied it, instead stating: “The president sets American policy on the basis of what is best for America, not what is best for any particular ethnic group or religion.”
“The president’s pro-Israel policies have had widespread support among US citizens, including many in the Jewish community,” said Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations. “The president appreciates that support in addition to the support he receives with regard to many other foreign and domestic initiatives.”
JPPI’s president, Avinoam Bar-Yosef, concludes from the report that Israel is risking a significant strategic error in cozying up exclusively to the divisive Republican president – possibly at the expense of Democrats, among which are the majority of American Jews.
“The American Jewish community is one of Israel’s most significant strategic assets in the long run,” said Bar-Yosef. “A danger has emerged recently brought by conflicting values between Jews with a liberal worldview – most of whom are Conservative, Reform or secular – and Israel, which is increasingly perceived in the Diaspora as advancing conservative trends, due in part to the lack of an equality clause in the recent Nation-State legislation and restrictive measures regarding conversion.”
An Israeli official told the Post in the spring that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government recognizes an “embrace of the ogre” of Trump – directly following Netanyahu’s divisive relationship with former president Barack Obama – might adversely affect Israel’s bipartisan support in Washington, long considered the country’s most vital strategic asset.
JPPI warns that the politicization of Israel might become entrenched with the US midterms when Democrats are expected to seize back at least one of the two chambers of Congress.
American Jews consistently vote Democratic, prioritizing issues of social justice and welfare as well as the pluralistic values seen as integral to the party. According to years of polling, the minority of US Jews who support Republicans tend to prioritize Israel in their vote and are more likely to support current Israeli government policies.
Reported by: Michael Wilner – The Jerusalem Post