Is Trump destroying bipartisan consensus on Israel?

For Jewish leaders who want the old bipartisan consensus to remain in place, this dynamic has been highly frustrating. “I’ve been struggling with the impact this has had on the [Jewish] community,” Democratic Representative Ted Deutch of Florida told me. Groups including the Republican Jewish Coalition have defended Trump no matter what, even when he seems to invoke classic anti-Semitic tropes of Jewish dual loyalty. “We are going to support Trump because President Trump has been a great friend to the Jewish community and a great friend to our organization, and he’s been the most pro-Israel president in history,” Neil Strauss, the national spokesman for the Republican Jewish Coalition, told me. “What President Trump said wasn’t anti-Semitic … The idea that President Trump doesn’t like Jewish people is outlandish.”

Democrats such as Deutch, however, see this as divisive. “There was a decision made that somehow it’s in the best interests of the president’s reelection campaign to try and drive a wedge in the middle of the community,” Deutch said. As a result, a week’s worth of news cycles have been dedicated to Trump’s comments and the reactions of far-left Democrats such as Tlaib and Omar, who recently held a press conference that was “essentially the voice of the BDS movement,” Deutch said, referring to the effort to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel. While Congress recently voted 398–17 to condemn the BDS movement, with nearly every Democrat supporting the resolution, that majority gets little voice—the dozens of pro-Israel Democrats who recently visited Israel together could hold a press conference on the steps of the Capitol and “there wouldn’t be a single reporter there to cover it,” Deutch said. Trump “winds up giving attention to anyone he’s criticizing, and it elevates the rhetoric and temperature.”

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