Republican front-runner Donald Trump faced a tough reception Thursday at a gathering of Jewish Republicans in Washington after suggesting Israel may not be prepared for peace with Palestinians and appearing to repeat common stereotypes of Jews.
Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition forum in Washington, Trump was booed when he declined to state whether he believed Israel was the “undivided capital” of Israel. He also turned heads after suggesting for the second time in as many days that he was unsure whether Israel was committed to securing peace with the Palestinian Authority.
“I don’t know that Israel has the commitment to make [a peace agreement],” Trump told the crowd of several hundred donors. His similar comments Wednesday evening to the Associated Press were condemned by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio earlier Thursday.
At points he appeared to be playing to centuries-old stereotypes of Jews and money.
“Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals,” he said. “Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken.”
Trump had kicked off the event with several jabs at the well-heeled crowd, saying he didn’t want their money.
“I would love your support, but I don’t want your money,” he said. Later, he asserted that the audience wasn’t going to support him “because I don’t want your money.”
“You want to control your own politicians,” he added.
The audience at points seemed amused by Trump’s comments, clapping or laughing along. But his comments on the peace process drew marked silence and refusal to take a clear position on Jerusalem drew boos. Trump sparred with the hecklers, calling them “wise guys” and saying they didn’t know what they were talking about.