Donald Trump’s speech to the Israeli American Council on Saturday night in the presence of his biggest donors, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, has caused some shock waves. Largely because he referred to Jewish wealth. Here are some surprises from the speech.
The biggest thing Trump did for Israel was breaking the Iran deal, per Sheldon Adelson:
I said to Sheldon, “What do you think was bigger? … Israel and the embassy going in, and it became Jerusalem, the capital of Israel? Or the Golan Heights [recognition as Israeli territory]?” He said, “Neither.” I said, “What do you mean ‘neither,’ Sheldon?” He said, “The biggest thing you did for Israel was breaking up and terminating the horrible, one-sided, catastrophic deal that was made by President Obama.” (Applause.) Right?
I said, “I never thought of it that way, Sheldon, but I agree with you. If you want to know the truth, I agree with you.”
(In 2015, Trump said of Adelson supporting a then-rival: “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to [Marco] Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet.”)
Trump says American Jews don’t love Israel enough — a continuation of his Jews are disloyal to Israel theme of last summer.
We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more. I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more. Because you have people that are Jewish people, that are great people — they don’t love Israel enough. You know that. You know that. (Applause.)
Trump says Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, BDS, is catching on inside the Democratic Party. Some politicians want to “bully” Israel.
As President, I want to be very clear my administration vigorously condemns the BDS campaign against Israel. (Applause.) But sadly, BDS has also made disturbing headway on American college campuses. You know that, don’t you?…
Shockingly, a number of far-left members of Congress have also recently joined the international effort to bully, attack, and denigrate Israel. And it’s incredible what’s been happening with your Congress. Ten years ago, it was unthinkable. Six years ago, it was pretty unthinkable. And now, to see what’s going on and to watch Nancy Pelosi and these people be pushed around is unbelievable… Earlier this year, a number of prominent Democrat lawmakers sponsored legislation to support the BDS movement. You know that, right? Outrageously, the resolution compared boycotting Israel to boycotting Nazi Germany, a grave insult to the memory of the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. You remember that, don’t you, where this was just put before Congress.
This is different. This is different than what it was. This couldn’t have happened 10 years ago; couldn’t have happened. Twenty years ago, it would have been impossible. Ten years ago, it would have been impossible. You’ve got to be very careful. Make no mistake: Radical lawmakers who support the BDS movement are advancing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda. And Americans will not stand for it. We’re not going to stand for it.
Trump brags of flipping off 40 global leaders who called to try to stop him from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (he has told this story before, never so brocaded).
Many, many [U.S.] Presidents said they were going to move the embassy to Jerusalem. And they never did it. And I understand why they never did it. They never did it because when they thought I was going to do it, and when they heard that I was going to make an announcement in two weeks, I started getting calls from everyone. I got calls from presidents. I got calls from prime ministers. I got calls from kings and queens. I got calls from everyone. (Laughter.) “Don’t do it. Don’t do it, please.” Don’t do it. It will be terrible if you do it. It will be horrible if you do it.”
And I heard this from many people. And then the time came closer and closer, and I did something that was smart, because I learned then and there — for that two-week period, I was inundated — I learned why other Presidents, in all fairness to them, why they made the campaign promise but why they never got it off: Because they were besieged by foreign leaders. The top, the biggest people in the world called them. You wouldn’t believe how many; some countries you never even heard of were calling. (Laughter.) I said, “What’s that country all about?” (Laughter.)
And about a week and a half out, I said, “Listen, tell these people I’m going to call them back. I’m so busy.” (Laughter and applause.) True. I said, “Tell them I’m going to call them back. I’ll get to them as soon as I can.” And one week went by, and then three days went by, and then I made the announcement at the White House that we’re moving the embassy to Jerusalem and that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel. Finally, somebody said it. Right? (Applause.)…
So these days went by, and then I made the phone calls. And I’d call up the kings and I’d call up the queens, and I’d call up everybody — the presidents, the prime ministers. I’d say, “Hi, I’m sorry, I couldn’t get back to you quickly” — (laughter) — “but what’s up?” (Laughter and applause.) “What’s up?”
Trump says he learned the trick of not calling people back from Sheldon Adelson:
Well, I learned all these tricks from Sheldon. So, you know. (Laughter.) So I call: “Hi, King. What’s up? What’s happening?” (Laughter.) He said, “I wanted to tell you I didn’t like you doing that with Israel.” “Oh, man! I wish I called you back a little sooner. I’m sorry.” (Laughter.) Call a president: “What’s up, President?” “I wanted to tell you not to do that, sir. But you’ve done it.” What can I — “Yeah, I wish — you know, I wish I could have gotten you sooner, but I’m so busy.” (Laughter.) I took about 40 of those calls. Right? Everyone was the same: “I wanted to tell you…” I said, “But, you know, in the meantime, it opened and it was, you know, really pretty amazing.”
Trump says there was no violence associated with his announcement. In fact Jerusalem was an impetus for the Great March of Return in Gaza, where hundreds have been killed and thousands maimed by Israeli live fire at the Gaza fence.
And it was a big deal, and it was great. And a day went by, and a second day went by, and there was no violence. I heard there was going to be massive violence. They showed violence — because about 20 people were violent in the front row, but there was nobody behind them. So CNN had the cameras very low, pointing to the sky. It’s true. (Laughter and applause.) It’s true.
They said, “Massive crowds have gathered. Massive crowds.” And I looked, I said, “That’s a strange angle. I’ve never seen that angle.” (Laughter.) It was like — you had a cameraman sitting on the floor pointing up. But every once in a while, you say, “There’s nobody behind the people in the front row. What’s going on?” (Laughter.) And it was a con. It was fake news as usual.
Trump speaks of Jews with wealth who will be opposed to Democratic progressive tax legislation.
A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well. You’re brutal killers. (Laughter.) Not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me; you have no choice. You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas [his slur for Elizabeth Warren], I can tell you that. (Laughter and applause.) You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax. “Yeah, let’s take 100 percent of your wealth away.” No, no. Even if you don’t like me; some of you don’t. Some of you I don’t like at all, actually. (Laughter.) And you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you’ll be out of business in about 15 minutes, if they get it. So I don’t have to spend a lot of time on that.
Trump says if anyone can make a deal between Israel and Palestine, it’s Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, who “loves Israel.”
And we have a lot of politicians here tonight, but I have to ask a man that happens to be a truly brilliant young man. I’m a little bit prejudiced when I say that. But he loves Israel and he’s fighting hard for Israel. He wants to make peace with your neighbors. And a lot of people say that can’t be done. A lot of people say it can’t be done; it’s the hardest of all deals.
I love deals, and I used to hear the toughest of all deals is peace with Israel and the Palestinians. They say that’s the toughest of all deals. But if Jared Kushner can’t do it, it can’t be done. (Applause.) Thank you, Jared. Thank you, Jared. Incredible job he’s doing. He wants to see that. And he loves Israel — that, I can tell you.