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Monday, January 24, 2022

Trump says ‘Israel literally owned Congress’ in interview

Former US president Donald Trump said “Israel literally owned Congress” in an interview with Ari Hoffman on 570 KVI Friday.

Quote can be found at 10:27-11:10

During the interview, Hoffman mentioned to Trump that he had bought yarmulkes with the former president’s name on them and that when he asked the vendor if they sold Joe Biden ones, they laughed.

Trump quickly went on a tangent, saying the biggest change he had seen in Congress was the shift of power from legislators under Israel’s influence to anti-Israel politicians:

“Well, you know the biggest change I’ve seen in Congress is Israel literally owned Congress – you understand that, 10 years ago, 15 years ago – and it was so powerful, it was so powerful, and today it’s almost the opposite,” Trump said.

The former president referred to certain left-wing Progressives in Congress who he accused of hating Israel. “You have – between AOC [Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez] and [Rep. Ilhan] Omar and these people that hate Israel, they hate it with a passion – they’re controlling Congress and Israel is not a force in Congress anymore, it’s – I mean – it’s just amazing. I’ve never seen such a change,” he said.

“Israel had such power – and rightfully – over Congress, and now it doesn’t. It’s incredible, actually.”

Hoffman nodded throughout the non-sequitur, then replied, “it’s really a shift we’re seeing inside the Democrat Party,” before segueing to a question about Trump’s reopening strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump’s statements echo an antisemitic conspiracy theory that the so-called “Israel lobby,” often used as a euphemism for Jews, controls US politics in order to promote Israeli interests.

When Trump was in office, Jewish Americans were polarized along ideological lines regarding support for the former president. Though the overall majority voted against him in both 2016 and 2020, many religiously observant and Orthodox Jews supported his campaign. While his administration was largely seen as supportive toward Israel and then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government, Trump, considered by many to be a nationalist and a populist, was accused of courting or refusing to denounce white supremacists and other right-wing extremists within his political base who were hostile to Jews.

Neo-Nazis and white supremacists encircle counterprotesters at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson after marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2017 (credit: SHAY HORSE/NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES/JTA)

During his presidency, Trump was known for implementing what were widely considered to be pro-Israel policies, such as his administration’s decisions to recognize several disputed regions – such as east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Jewish settlements in the West Bank – and relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the entirety of which Israel considers its capital. Israel has held these territories under civilian and military occupation since the 1967 Six Day War, which much of the international community, including the United Nations, claims is a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

The Trump administration also played a key role in organizing the Abraham Accords, a series of diplomatic agreements promoting the normalization of relations between Israel and neighboring Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

It is also worth noting that Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner are Jewish.

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