Trump Does Cheap Identity Politics

President Donald Trump has slammed the Democratic Party’s supposed anti-Israel stance amid a row over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s alleged anti-Semitic comments and a condemnation bill passed in response.

“The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party, they have become an anti-Jewish party,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for Alabama on Friday.

President Trump: “I thought yesterday’s vote by the House was disgraceful, because it’s become — the Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They’ve become an anti-Jewish party. And I thought that vote was a disgrace and so does everybody else if you get an honest answer.”

Trump called a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism “disgraceful.” Although the resolution passed 407-23, its final text was expanded to also condemn Islamophobia and various other forms of bigotry.

The 23 Republicans who voted against the resolution claimed it did not properly single out Omar (D-Minnesota) for condemnation, and was watered down to protect the congresswoman.

Omar has been a longtime opponent of the Israeli government, and recently accused the powerful Israel lobby in the US of “pushing for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Her comments were interpreted as veiled anti-Semitism by some, but as legitimate criticism of Israel’s government by her supporters.

Despite Trump’s comments, Omar’s alleged anti-Semitism has incensed some Democrats too. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Omar’s words “wrong and hurtful,” while Rep. Juan Vargas (D-California) went as far as to claim that “questioning support for the US-Israel relationship is unacceptable.”

Support for the Jewish state has until now enjoyed a bipartisan consensus. A bill authorizing $38 billion in military aid to Israel passed the House and Senate last year, with an equal number of Democrat and Republican cosponsors.

This year, the funding bill that ended the most recent government shutdown included $3.3 billion in military and security assistance to Israel. This bill also passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support.