07:41 GMT +323 September 2019
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    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the news media after returning from a quick trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, in Washington, U.S., July 30, 2019

    Trump Claims Dem’s Jewish Voters ‘Lack Knowledge’ or Show 'Great Disloyalty'

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    US President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats either lack the requisite knowledge or show “great disloyalty,” amid the escalation of tensions between him and Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar over Israel.

    Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office about his feud with the two Muslim congresswomen, the president accused Tlaib and Omar of being anti-Semitic and argued they “hate” Israel and Jewish people.

    "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat -- I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," Trump said.

    The president called Omar “a disaster for Jewish people,” and lamented “what Omar has said, what Tlaib has said” about Israel. He argued that the Democrats' embrace of Omar, who is from Minnesota, and Tlaib, who is from Michigan, spoke to how the party has changed.

    “Where has the Democratic Party gone?” Trump said. “Where have they gone -- where they are defending these two people over the state of Israel?”

    Democrats called Trump out for his use of the word "disloyalty."

    "At a time when anti-Semitic incidents have increased - due to the president's emboldening of white nationalism - Trump is repeating an anti-Semitic trope," Halie Soifer, the executive Director of Jewish Democratic Council of America, said in a statement.

    On Thursday, Tel Aviv said Tlaib and US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who were due to visit the country next week, were barred from entry because of their support for a Palestinian-led boycott movement. The Netanyahu government said it would still allow Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, to enter the country to visit her grandmother if she filed a humanitarian request. Tlaib initially filed a request and said that she would not vocalize her support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel while in the region, yet reversed course a day later after speaking with her family, recounting how her grandmother refers to Tlaib as “her free bird.”

    Israel is one of the biggest recipients of US foreign aid, according to the Congressional Research Service. The US and Israeli governments signed a new 10-year memorandum of understanding in 2016, with the US pledging to provide $38 billion in military aid to Israel that runs through fiscal year 2028.

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