(JTA) Former President Donald Trump recently told a Jewish radio host in Seattle that until recently Israel “literally owned Congress,” a fact that has triggered accusations of antisemitism against other politicians who have made the very same observation:
The comments came during Trump’s Oct. 29 interview with Seattle-based talk show host Ari Hoffman as Trump was reviewing his Middle East policies, including the Abraham Accords, the normalization agreements between Israel and four Arab countries, and his pullout from the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump, as he discussed U.S. policy in the region, pivoted to what he believed was the “biggest change” he had seen recently. “The biggest change I’ve seen in Congress is Israel literally owned Congress — you understand that. Ten years ago, 15 years ago, and it was so powerful, it was so powerful and today it’s almost the opposite,” Trump said.
He blamed the influence of a group of Democratic Congress members on the party’s left who have been harshly critical of Israel and have called for a reduction in U.S. defense assistance to the country. He named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
“You have between AOC and Omar and these people that hate Israel, they hate it with a passion. They’re controlling Congress, and Israel is not a force in Congress anymore,” Trump said. “I mean, it’s just amazing. I’ve never seen such a change. And we’re not talking about over a very long period of time. But I think you know exactly what I what I’m saying.”
The claim that Israel controls Congress has historically been treated as an antisemitic slander by antisemitism watchdogs. Omar herself got into trouble and apologized in 2019 when she suggested that Israel and the pro-Israel lobby purchases sympathy in Congress. Trump suggested that he did not have a problem with the notion that Israel had once controlled Congress, saying, “Israel had such power, and rightfully over Congress, and now it doesn’t.”
In the interview, Trump also repeated his disappointment with the U.S. Jewish community for not voting for him; President Joe Biden carried the overwhelming majority of Jewish voters in the last election. “I didn’t get a kind of vote from Jewish people that you would think I would get,” Trump said. Trump earned rebukes from Jewish groups in 2019 when he said American Jews were not sufficiently loyal to Israel because they did not vote for him.
When the highly “respected” Jewish journalist for the New York Times, Thomas Friedman, openly stated Jews control both the U.S. Congress and the White House, the ADL didn’t demand his firing for engaging in “dangerous” tropes about Jews and their privilege.
The idea that two freshmen members of Congress are capable of undermining Israel’s power on Capitol Hill is absolutely preposterous — Israel has a record of neutralizing anyone — even sitting U.S. presidents — who poses a serious threat to their power.
If AOC or Omar were a threat to Israel, they would have been run out of Congress after only their first terms — the fact that they are still in office suggests only one thing — that the Jews want them there as an inept and easily discredited controlled opposition.
When long-time republican Congressman from Illinois — Paul Findley — began to warn the American people about the undue power and influence of the Israel lobby on Capitol Hill, Jewish money poured into his opponent’s campaign — and Findley was soundly defeated after serving for 22 years — and the staunch Zionist who defeated him — Dick Durban still holds that seat after 35 years.
Paul Findley wrote about his first-hand experience running up against “mythical” Zionist power in his 1985 classic They Dare To Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby — a book that has probably been pulled from the shelves of every public library in America.
The Republican Jewish Coalition vets and monitors every elected Republican and candidate — and has the power to destroy anyone’s career — like Steve King’s — who steps out of line and doesn’t unconditionally support Israel.
AIPAC would like nothing more than to have the average American Trump-supporting “patriot” believe that Israel no longer have any real power on Capitol Hill — just like Satan doesn’t want you to think he exists.
If pro-Israel Jews — and their evangelical lackeys — weren’t as powerful as they clearly are, any candidate in America who expressed any support for Israel would have no chance of ever getting elected.