It’s difficult to imagine any single individual being more maligned and misinterpreted by a willing mass media than President Donald Trump. Regardless of the words he utters or the order he utters them in, if it’s possible to take them out of context in order to portray the president in a bad light, they will do it, every single time.
So it was last week, when Trump got into a heap of trouble with the libs, particularly Jewish libs, for using the D word - as in “disloyal” - not once, but twice to describe Jewish folks who vote Democratic.
“Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they are defending these two people over the state of Israel? I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," Trump said Tuesday. Then, the very next day, he followed that up with this: "In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you're being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you're being very disloyal to Israel, and only weak people would say anything other than that.”
In four sentences over two days, the president of the United States managed to tick off 75 plus percent of American Jews by calling them both ignorant and disloyal. Now “ignorant” is one thing. I could make a pretty credible argument that anyone of any IQ level who votes Democratic is, well, pretty ignorant, at least insofar as their knowledge of general history, historical patterns, current events, economics, human nature, and geopolitics is concerned. And at least in my own view, I’d be correct (for whatever that’s worth). But “disloyal” is another thing altogether, especially when it comes to Jewish people. In fact, it’s actually an old antisemitic canard dating back to the period of Egyptian bondage, implying that Jews are somehow disloyal to the nations in which they reside.
But Trump clearly wasn’t saying Jewish Democrats are being disloyal to America. If you read both quotes carefully, in context, they clearly mean being disloyal to Israel. But that didn’t stop the president - who has a Jewish son-in-law, a converted Jewish daughter, and Jewish grandchildren - from being accused of antisemitism.
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action CEO Stosh Cotler said, “President Trump’s abhorrent statement today accusing the vast majority of Jewish Americans who oppose him of ‘disloyalty’ is textbook antisemitism and should be called out as such, without hesitation.”
“We are sick and tired of Trump’s repeated use of anti-Semitic tropes and his inciting of hate and violence against Jews,” tweeted the Jewish Democratic Council of America. “The Jewish community is less safe today because of Donald Trump.”
“At a time when anti-Semitic incidents have increased — due to the president’s emboldening of white nationalism — Trump is repeating an anti-Semitic trope,” said Jewish Democratic Council of America executive director Halie Soifer.
New York City comptroller Scott Stringer wrote: “As a Jew (and lifelong Democrat) this language from the president evokes an ugly past. Accusing 75 percent of the Jewish community of ‘disloyalty’ is dangerous. If Donald Trump wants to find who’s being disloyal to America, he can start by looking in the mirror.”
“Donald Trump wants you to believe American Jews are ‘disloyal’ towards Israel & the United States b/c the majority of U.S. Jews support Democrats,” liberal pastor Chuck Currie tweeted. “I guess today is anti-Semitism day at The White House.”
Fox News contributor Jessica Tarlov called Trump’s comments “disgusting” during a Fox News “Outnumbered” segment on the topic: “He called me, a Democratic Jewish voter in America, ‘dumb and disloyal.’ That is disgusting,” she said. “He has no place using that trope.”
The Huffington Post accused Trump of reviving “an antisemitic attack” on Jewish Democrats.”
Writing for the Daily Beast, Jay Michaelson, seeming to at least understood the original intent of the president’s statement, nevertheless accused Trump of having “inverted” the accusation: “His claim—besides being absurd, offensive, manipulative, and reprehensible—is that American Jews are being disloyal by not supporting Israel enough. The problem isn’t that we’re betraying America. The problem is that we’re betraying Israel. American Jews, long suspected of ‘dual loyalty,’ are now being accused of not being dual-loyal-enough.”
Trump wasn’t without defenders, however, including author and former Israeli Air Force pilot Tal Keinan, who called media reactions to Trump’s comments, particularly attempts to label him as antisemitic, “disingenuous.” He even went so far as to thank Fox News anchor Gillian Turner for playing “the whole clip” of Trump’s comments.
“First of all, I’m glad you played the whole clip, because I think the president makes it clear he’s talking about disloyalty to the Jewish people and to Israel, not disloyalty to the United States, and that’s an important distinction,” said Keinan. “There’s been some disingenuous reactions to that. He was not raising the old canard.”
No, indeed he was not. But the fact that the media used such a flimsy pretext to unjustly try to brand the president with one of the worst labels ever says everything about their blatant bias and dishonesty.
Editor's note: This column has been updated.