Iowa’s Republican Rep. Steve King suggested Friday that some American Jews feel like “Democrats first and Jewish second.”
“Here is what I don’t understand, I don’t understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second and support Israel along the line of just following their President,” King, a hardline conservative, said Friday on Boston Herald Radio,
“It says this, they’re knee-jerk supporters of the President’s policy,” King said.
King has met with virtually every Republican considering a 2016 presidential run, hosting the first cattle call of 2016 Republican hopefuls in Iowa in January.
King was responding to a question about the nearly 60 Democrats, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who decided to boycott Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress earlier this month. Netanyahu came to Congress in defiance of the White House to sound the alarm over the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran, stressing that President Barack Obama was preparing to reach a “bad deal” on Iran’s nuclear program.
When asked if anti-Semitism was a factor — it’s not clear if the host was referring to Obama’s policies — King said yes, along with “plain liberalism.”
According to recent polls, a majority of American Jews support the Democratic Party.
Several Jewish groups also criticized Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress and his repudiation last week of a Palestinian state in the lead-up to the elections.
Netanyahu has since walked back those comments, insisting that he supports a “sustainable, peaceful two-state solution.”
A number of Jewish groups — both in the U.S. and Israel — advocate for a two-state solution and some oppose Netanyahu’s position on the peace process.