Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) defended President Donald Trump on Thursday after Democrats and members of the left-wing media accused Trump of echoing the anti-Semitic canard that American Jews possess dual loyalty to the United States and Israel.
“The president is being accused of anti-Semitism, which is crazy,” Zeldin told Fox News’ Sandra Smith. “He has shown so much love and support for Jews and the U.S.-Israel relationship. He has pursued policies, he has secured victories to strengthen that relationship, that alliance between the United States and Israel.”
“The president wants more people to vote for him next November after he spent an entire term fighting for all these wins, many of them were promises made by presidents in the past, presidential candidates in the past — they never followed through,” he continued. “Whether it’s moving the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, opposing BDS and anti-Semitism here at home and abroad … withdrawing from the fatally flawed Iran nuclear deal, he has focused his entire first term in office towards these very important priorities for many Jews and non-Jews here in the United States.”
Zeldin’s remarks came only a week after the Israeli government blocked Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from entering the country over their avowed support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
BDS seeks to punish the Jewish state by politically and economically starving Israel. Accordingly, the Israeli Knesset enacted legislation in 2017 that bars foreign BDS activists from gaining access to the country.
At the time, Trump commended the decision. Both Tlaib and Omar subsequently attacked Israel for its “inhumane” treatment of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza and accused the country of being “oppressive” and “racist.”
The two freshman lawmakers are America’s first Muslim congresswomen and their time in offices has been embroiled in allegations of anti-Semitism and anti-American sentiments.
“Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel?” Trump said regarding Tlaib and Omar. “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or a great disloyalty.”
The president faced immediate backlash from individuals claiming his remarks were promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes. Zeldin brushed off the outcry as unfounded, but noted the controversial choice of words.
“There’s a long history with regards to that term ‘loyalty’ or ‘disloyalty’ where others with bad intent, with hatred, towards Israel and the Jews … there’s been an issue with the use of that word,” Zeldin said. “The president, who as I said, is approaching this from a very different standpoint, he chose to use a word that I wouldn’t use in that particular context.”
“He’s being accused of anti-Semitism, which is just so not true,” he continued. “The definition of anti-Semitism requires a hatred toward Jews, and he’s shown that he has none of it. Literally his son-in-law, his daughter, his grandchildren are Jewish, and as I mentioned earlier, all of those policy victories.”
Zeldin also slammed Democrats for swiftly condemning Trump for his language while allowing the two far-left congresswomen to continue to promote anti-Semitic tropes while also bolstering anti-Israel policies through their congressional duties.
“Meanwhile, on the otherside, the folks who are going after the president of the United States have empowered, elevated, been silenced,” Zeldin said. “Others have backed up Tlaib and Omar, and others provided cover for it.”
“Now that hypocrisy is one to call out, as well,” he added.