Monday, December 05, 2022

Some Trump Jewish Allies at Breaking Point After Kanye West, Nick Fuentes Meeting

By Aaron Zitner, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 2022 - “It is over, it is finished,” Mr. Hikind, whose 36-year run as a state lawmaker ended in 2018, said of his support for the former president. “Right now, he’s doing so much damage. He has disqualified himself from any of us supporting him ever again.”

Republicans have tried for decades to boost their generally tepid support among the nation’s Jewish voters, who gave President Biden nearly 70% their vote in 2020 despite Mr. Trump’s argument that they should reward his stalwart backing of the Israeli government. Now, some prominent Jewish leaders say that Mr. Trump has both damaged his nascent 2024 presidential campaign and hampered his party’s outreach as a result of his dinner with the rapper Kanye West and the white nationalist Nick Fuentes, as well as his refusal to apologize for hosting them at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Many Jewish leaders, including Mr. Hikind, say a spate of anti-Semitic violence and harassment around the country has created an elevated sense of threat from hateful speech—and that the image of any political leader will suffer for failing to sever ties with Mr. Trump. ...

... Mr. Trump won 30% of the Jewish vote, compared with President Biden’s 69% in 2020, the VoteCast survey found, and 33% of Jewish voters backed a Republican House candidate this year. Republican candidates drew higher support in some states, such as Florida, where GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis drew 45% of Jewish voters in his successful re-election campaign. In New York, Mr. Zeldin, who is Jewish, drew 46% of Jewish voters in his unsuccessful campaign for governor.

Some Jewish groups said that the Republican Party was the more welcoming party for Jewish voters, citing what they view as anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli positions on the political left. The challenge that Democrats face in navigating Israel policy was on display in 2019, when the party’s House leaders struggled to respond to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), whose comments about people who “push for allegiance to a foreign country” was viewed as an accusation that Jews who support Israel are disloyal to the U.S. The House passed a broad measure condemning hate in all forms, which Ms. Omar voted for and which critics said insufficiently called out anti-Semitism.

“The reality is, ‘I stand with Israel’ isn’t an applause line at the Democratic-base rallies, but it is at a Republican rally,” said Norm Coleman, the national chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a former Republican senator from Minnesota. (read it all)

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