Photo Credit: Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90
Arabs burn in effigy President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Hebron, February 28, 2020.

Former president Donald Trump promised to crush pro-Hamas protests on college campuses, telling a group of donors in New York on May 14 that he said included “98 percent of my Jewish friends” that he would expel the foreign protesters from the US, The Washington Post reported on Monday.

“One thing I do is, any student that protests, I throw them out of the country. You know, there are a lot of foreign students. As soon as they hear that, they’re going to behave,” Trump said.

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Trump lashed out at campus protesters, labeling them part of a “radical revolution” that he vowed to crush. He applauded the New York Police Department for clearing demonstrators from Columbia University and called on other cities to take similar hardline measures. “It has to be stopped now,” he declared, suggesting the student and faculty activists could one day assume positions of power in the US. A donor had complained about that very possibility, fanning Trump’s condemnation of the protests.

“Well, if you get me elected, and you should really be doing this, if you get me reelected, we’re going to set that movement back 25 or 30 years,” Trump said.

In a March interview with Israel Hayom, Trump urged Israel to “finish up your war” and “get it done.” The following month, he told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the war was damaging Israel’s public image, saying Israel was “absolutely losing the PR war.”

However, in his meeting with mostly Jewish donors, Trump took a different approach. Rather than calling for an end to the fighting, he voiced support for Israel’s right to continue its offensive against Hamas in Gaza. “But I’m one of the only people that says that now. And a lot of people don’t even know what October 7th is,” he remarked, suggesting many are unaware of the significance of that date.

The donors told The Post that the former president frequently voiced frustration over his lack of support from Jewish American voters. “But how can a Jewish person vote for a Democrat, and Biden in particular – but forget Biden, they always let you down,” he remarked, broadly criticizing Jewish support for Democrats.

Trump seemed perplexed that more Jewish Americans did not back his candidacy, believing they should have voted for him at higher rates based on his support for Israel. His comments suggested he felt Jewish voters were being disloyal by not overwhelmingly supporting him and the Republican Party.

I for one get nervous whenever Trump suggests American Jews should make their decisions based on the needs of the Jewish States. It’s one thing for you and me to feel this way, but coming from a major American politician these statements come very close to the historical accusation of Jewish double loyalty. As you may recall, one of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition of Antisemitism items says antisemitism is “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”

Trump’s suggestion that more Jews should support him because he would be good for Israel takes the IHRA dual loyalty item as a given. Does it mean that I think Trump is an antisemite? Not at all. I just don’t think he understands what his statement does to the nervous psyche of Jewish Democrats.

At the Jewish donors meeting, Trump claimed to have studied Jewish history and drew a disturbing parallel between the current period and the events preceding the Holocaust. “And you know, you go back through history, this is like just before the Holocaust. I swear. If you look, it’s the same thing,” he stated ominously.

Trump’s recall of history was a tad unorthodox: “You had a weak president or head of the country. And it just built and built. And then, all of a sudden, you ended up with Hitler. You ended up with a problem like nobody knew,” he said.

Trump’s sweeping analysis of the years 1933-45 was certainly simplistic and without nuance, but he did cut to the chase, namely that if you let a small devil flourish and grow, you’ll end up with a much bigger devil.

And that, folks, is all you need to know about October 7.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.