Jewish Americans have been part of the country’s fabric since a small community settled in New Amsterdam (later known as New York) in 1654. As of 2015, 4.2 million adults (1.8% of the U.S. population) self-identified as Jewish. When children and individuals of Jewish heritage who do not consider themselves religious are included, that number rises to 7.2 million, making it one of the largest Jewish communities in the world.
Identifying as Jewish can mean several things. It includes those who consider themselves religious, and people who have Jewish ancestry on either one (usually the maternal line) or both sides of their family. There are secular Jews who are not religious, religious Jews of Jewish ancestry, and people without Jewish heritage, who have converted to Judaism.
Jewish Americans fall into multiple ethnic groups, including non-Hispanic whites (88.8%), African Americans (1.7%), latinx Americans (6.2%), and others (3.3%).
The Jewish American community encompasses a broad range of cultural traditions and religious observance. The primary religious denominations in the U.S. are Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist. For both non-religious and observant Jews, Jewish Community Centers around the U.S. play an important role in connecting Jews to one another. They often host Jewish Day Schools, Hebrew Schools, athletic facilities, and community events.
Jewish Americans as a whole tend to be well educated, with a quarter of the population making over $150,000. In a Pew study from 2013, the majority of Jewish Americans said that they believed the gay community and Muslims faced more discrimination that they did.
Jewish Americans span the political spectrum (54.2% Democrats, 14.1% Republicans, 31.7% Other). Opinions are very divided on the topic of US-Israeli relations and Israel's policies toward Palestinians. Jewish Americans who support hardline Israeli policies and oppose a two-state solution in the region tended to support Trump in the 2016 election in spite of the anti-semitic rhetoric of the administration.
Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is an Orthodox Jew, and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, converted to Judaism in 2009.
This page will track Trump’s actions and statements that impact Jewish Americans.
|1991.05.10||The President of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino publishes a book where he quotes Trump as saying he thinks laziness is a trait in the blacks and he only wants Jews counting his money. web.archive.org (See also Racism, Black Americans, Anti-Semitism)|
|2007||Steve Bannon proposes a documentary titled, “The Islamic States of America.” Where he describes Jews as, “The Jihadist enablers among us.” jpost.com (See also Steve Bannon, Anti-Semitism)|
|2015.07.14||Trump Tweets a picture of his face superimposed against an American flag with a stock image of Nazi soldiers marching in the background. news.vice.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Anti-Semitism)|
|2015.07.28||Trump defends Mike Huckabee's controversial Holocaust Analogy. bloomberg.com (See also 2016 Campaign)|
The billionaire presidential candidate also questions Secretary of State John Kerry's intelligence.
|2015.10.05||During a Breitbart interview Jeff Sessions praises The 1924 National Origins Act, a law passed in order to keep Jews and Asians out of the country as “good for America.” theatlantic.com (See also Jeff Sessions, Immigration, Anti-Semitism, Asian Americans)|
|2016.08.19||Trump's new foreign adviser accused of Holocaust denial, apparently said "Ovens were too small to kill 6 million Jews." dailykos.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Anti-Semitism)|
|2017.01.27||Trump’s statement marking Holocaust remembrance leaves out mention of Jews or anti-semitism. washingtonpost.com (See also First 100 Days)|
|2017.01.29||Reince Priebus defends Trump's omission of the Jewish people and anti-Semitism from his statement on the Holocaust. huffingtonpost.com (See also Reince Preibus, Anti-Semitism)|
Reince says that, "the Jewish people... suffered in World War II", characterizing Jews as one of many groups targeted during the Holocaust, rather than the specific focus of that genocidal campaign.
|2017.01.31||At least 17 bomb threats called in to JCCs n New York, New Jersey, Colorado, California, Wisconsin and Utah, in third wave of harassment jta.org (See also First 100 Days, Hate Crimes)|
|2017.02.02||White House blocks release of State Department Holocaust statement recognizing Jewish victims and issues one that doesn't mention Jews at all. politico.com (See also First 100 Days, Anti-Semitism)|
|2017.02.04||In a 2007 proposal for a documentary that was never made called 'The Islamic States of America,' Steve Bannon described U.S. Jews as 'enablers' of jihad. haaretz.com (See also Steve Bannon)|
|2017.02.06||Jewish and Muslim activists respond to Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions by forming alliances previously unseen in the U.S. latimes.com (See also Muslims, Muslim Immigration Ban)|
|2017.02.15||Trump is asked a question about anti-Semitism during a joint meeting with Israeli PM. His answer is a word salad bragging about his victory with the electoral college. washingtonpost.com (See also First 100 Days, Israel, Anti-Semitism)|
|2017.02.17||After a berating by Trump, a correspondent from Ami Magazine, an Orthodox Jewish weekly, said, “Regretfully, today was a day I wish we could have done over.” mobile.nytimes.com (See also Attempts to Discredit Media)|
|2017.02.20||At least 10 Jewish community centers across the United States are targeted with bomb threats on President's Day, for the fourth time in five weeks. forward.com (See also Anti-Semitism, Hate Crimes, Trump Effect)|
|2017.02.21||Anne Frank Center director calls Trump's statement on threats and vandalism against Jewish Americans "a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record." washingtonpost.com (See also Anti-Semitism, First 100 Days)|
|2017.02.21||Trump finally condemns anti-semitic threats and vandalism after more than 100 headstones at the Jewish cemetery in St Louis, MO. are damaged on President's Day. theguardian.com (See also Anti-Semitism, First 100 Days, Hate Crimes)|
|2017.02.21||Under pressure after a rising number of anti-Semitic threats, and after he silenced a Jewish journalist, Trump condemns anti-Semitism. nytimes.com|
|2017.02.22||The Anti-Defamation League receives a bomb threat at its New York headquarters, marking the latest in a series of threats targeting U.S. Jewish organizations. theatlantic.com (See also Hate Crimes, Anti-Semitism)|
|2017.02.23||Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon uses coded anti-Semitic expression at Conservative Political Action Conference. chicagotribune.com (See also Steve Bannon)|
|2017.02.24||Hate Crimes in New York City, particularly against Jews, have spiked since the presidential election, and NYPD says it is likely connected to ethnic bias and xenophobia encouraged by Trump's 2016 election campaign. bloomberg.com (See also Hate Crimes)|
|2017.02.27||Bomb threat to Anti-Defamation League closes Market Street in downtown San Francisco. sfgate.com (See also Hate Crimes)|
|2017.02.28||President Trump suggests recent spate of anti-Semitic bomb threats and cemetery vandalism could be politically coordinated attacks to “make people look bad” coming from within the Jewish community. nytimes.com (See also Assaults on Facts)|
|2017.03.03||U.S. files complaint against Juan Thompson in a number of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers. documentcloud.org (See also Hate Crimes)|
|2017.03.08||ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project announces it has recorded more than 330 reports of anti-Semitic incidents during a three-month span, from early November to early February. propublica.org (See also Anti-Semitism)|
There are many issues within the Trump administration that concern Jewish Americans.
- His chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, is the former head of the white nationalist propaganda site Breitbart.
- Trump has received enthusiastic support from David Duke, the head of the Ku Klux Klan.
- Hate crimes directed at Jewish Americans, including repeated bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers have increased dramatically since Trump's election.
- Anti-semitism is a key feature of the white nationalist (alt-right) movement in the US that helped elect Trump to the White House.
- The Muslim Immigration Ban reminds many Jewish Americans of the failure of the US to take in refugees from Nazi-controlled Germany during WWII. Many of those refugees who were turned away, including Anne Frank, were among the six million Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust.
- On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Trump did not mention the six million Jews that lost their lives, an omission that deeply disturbed many in the Jewish American community.
Emma Green–The Atlantic
In her Sep. 4, 2016, article, Green examines What Should American Jews Make of Ivanka Trump?:
Ivanka is tacitly expected to be a public advocate for Jewish identity and interests, and yet the community is deeply divided over the messages she delivers as a surrogate for her father’s campaign—ones that many reject outright.
Emma Green–The Atlantic
On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. The next day, a man discovered that someone had painted swastikas on an abandoned storefront in South Philly, placing the symbols next to Trump’s name and the words 'Sieg Heil,' a salute used by Nazis during World War II.
Shmuel Rosner–The New York Times
In his Nov. 12, 2016, article, Rosner looks at "How Donald Trump Will Divide American and Israeli Jews":
The Trump administration will not represent the first time that Israeli and American Jews have been at odds over American politics. In fact, in the last 16 years this has been the norm.
Jill Jacobs and Daniel Sokatch–The Washington Post
Our history has taught us that autocracy does not arrive all at once, but through the slow erosion of individual liberties and the pitting of one group against another."
Sammy Nickalls–The Esquire
In a Nov. 21, 2016, article, Nickalls discusses "'Are Jews People' Was an Actual, Real Discussion Topic on CNN":
I am Jewish, but am I human? Sounds like a pretty ridiculous question, but apparently, it's not in 2016. That's right: A very real CNN chyron (TV news lingo for headline on the lower part of the screen) on Monday afternoon read 'Alt-Right Founder Questions If Jews are People.'