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Because two members of the opposing party in the U.S. House of Representatives are vocal critics of Israel whose foreign policy views are out of step with the 233 other members of their caucus, not to mention the 47 Democrats in the Senate, Donald Trump has let it be known that any Jewish American who votes for a Democrat is either ignorant or disloyal. Disloyal, he clarified Wednesday, "to Israel."

These are the words of a disgusting divider whose posturing, supposedly intended to counter the base smear that Jewish Americans hold dual loyalty to the United States and to the world's sole Jewish state, instead advances it. Who, in pretending to speak up against bigotry, wantonly inflames it.

Let us state a few facts that New York City's 1.1 million Jews and all who care to understand them know well, but that a president born and raised here willfully ignores.

Some Jews are ultra-Orthodox. Some are Orthodox, some Conservative, some Reform. Some are secular. Where they land on the political spectrum ranges just as widely. Some vote for Bernie Sanders; others like Donald Trump. Though the vast majority, as a matter of fact, happen to hold more liberal beliefs and vote Democratic.

For good reason, Jews traditionally have a special affinity for Israel, as that sliver of land has served for thousands of years as a refuge for a minority oppressed, cast out and killed in many other parts of the world. Today, Israel serves as a shelter from anti-Semitic hate in a hostile region.

It is also a state whose leaders make political choices. Jewish Americans, as Americans, have a right to come to whatever conclusions they wish about the wisdom of those choices. Some tend to defend Israel's policies in the West Bank and Gaza, as this Editorial Board does. Others, because of their conscience or their politics or their faith or some combination thereof, see those policies as a mistake or moral stain.

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It is disloyal to core American ideals to call those whose politics guide them to pull the lever for Democrats disloyal to their people and to Israel.

Coming from Trump, such poison is unsurprising. He has said to an audience of American Jews, "You're not going to support me because I don't want your money. You want to control your politicians, that's fine." To another audience of American Jews, he referred to Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu as "your prime minister." He has fed the anti-Semitic canard that George Soros, a Jew, fueled caravans of immigrants. He defended some of those who gathered in Charlottesville, Va., chanting "Jews will not replace us."

This time, he has outdone himself. The assertion by the president of the United States that some 8 million American Jews betray themselves and a nation 5,700 miles away by voting for the party of Harry Truman, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Lieberman, Ed Koch, Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Jerrold Nadler, Eliot Engel, Elizabeth Holtzman, Max Rose, Nita Lowey and countless others should make all Americans' flesh crawl.

Alas, flesh crawls almost daily during the Trump presidency.

-- New York Daily News

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