JDCA CEO Halie Soifer wrote the following op-ed for Haaretz. You can read the full op-ed below, or find it at Haaretz.com:
To mark the Jewish new year, Donald Trump used his social media platform, Truth Social, to send an ominous message to American Jews. Unlike a typical New Year’s greeting, Trump’s included apocalyptic hyperbole, veiled threats, political propaganda and antisemitic tropes. It wasn’t the first time – and likely won’t be the last time – that Trump expressed anger and frustration with the fact that he is disliked by the vast majority of American Jews.
The words of the former president and leading 2024 Republican candidate exemplify his egregious misunderstanding of Jewish American voters. Trump’s Rosh Hashanah message started with a “quick reminder to liberal Jews” – who, according to the Washington-based nonpartisan think tank Pew Research Center
, constitute half of the Jewish American population – that they voted to “destroy America and Israel.” While America and Israel remain very much intact after more than three-quarters of Jewish voters supported
Joe Biden in the 2020 election, it’s clear that Trump simply cannot fathom how Jewish Americans could have voted against him, given his policy toward Israel.
What Trump fails to understand is that not all Jews supported his policies toward Israel. Going into the 2020 election, Jewish voters indicated
that they trusted Biden more than Trump in regard to Israel by nearly 15 percentage points. Additionally, while Israel is important to Jewish Americans, it is not our sole priority, nor are we one-issue voters. According to consecutive national polls by the nonpartisan Jewish Electorate Institute
, domestic policy issues – beginning with “the future of democracy” in 2022
– largely determine how Jewish Americans vote.
On domestic policy issues including democracy, abortion, antisemitism, climate change, gun violence and the economy, Jews trust Democrats more
than they trust Republicans because Trump and the GOP’s policies are antithetical to the values and views of the majority of American Jews.
While more than seven out of 10 Jewish American voters cite “an emotional attachment” to Israel according to the Jewish Electorate Institute’s June 2023 poll, that does not mean they believe one must support the current Israeli government in order to support Israel. To the contrary, according to the same poll, just 28 percent of Jewish American voters have a favorable view of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and 61 percent believe that his government’s proposed judicial overhaul will weaken Israel’s democracy. American Jews see parallels between the threats that Trump and Netanyahu pose to democracy, which is why their abysmal approval ratings are within points of each other among Jewish American voters.