Hollywood, December 8
US President Donald Trump has aimed to make inroads in the politically important Jewish-American vote with a Florida speech where he declared himself the best friend Israel has ever had. At a conference in Hollywood, Florida, on Saturday, the Republican real estate magnate said Jewish-Americans had been wrong to vote for Democrats under his predecessor Barack Obama.
“So many of you voted for people in the last administration,” he said. “Someday you’ll have to explain that to me because I don’t think they liked Israel too much.” By contrast, Trump said, “the Jewish state has never had a better friend in the White House than your president, Donald J Trump.” He was speaking at a meeting of the Israeli-American Council, a non-profit whose funders include billionaire Jewish-American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam — both of them high-profile Trump supporters.
Jews make up only a small portion of the electorate but in Florida they represent a crucial piece of the swing state electoral puzzle. Historically, American-Jews have voted heavily Democratic. Trump, who is hoping to repeat his 2016 strategy next year by winning reelection through strategic accumulation of electoral college votes in key states, has worked especially hard to woo Jewish-Americans. Since taking office he has upended decades of American policy in the Middle East by acceding to a string of Israeli demands and all but slamming the door on Palestinians. This includes recognising the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and also recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a territory taken from Syria in 1967. — AFP
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