HomeArts & EntertainmentFilmTrump's Jewish Allies Are 'Begging' Him to Condemn Kanye. He's Refusing

Trump’s Jewish Allies Are ‘Begging’ Him to Condemn Kanye. He’s Refusing

Republican Jewish activists, leaders, and perennial GOP donors are waging a behind-the-scenes pressure campaign to force Donald Trump into denouncing and disowning rapper Kanye West, Trump’s on-and-off friend and political supporter. 

It’s not working.

According to three sources with knowledge of the matter, this multi-pronged — and so far unsuccessful — effort to get Trump to denounce West follows the ex-president’s “Nazi” Mar-a-Lago dinner last month with the anti-Semitism-spewing, Hitler-lauding West and fascist youth leader Nick Fuentes.

High-profile Jewish Trump supporters and conservative pro-Israel donors have angrily demanded an audience with the ex-president. Some have managed to get on the phone with Trump, only to be told that the former president has supposedly done all he can, and that he’s already done so much “for the Jewish people” and Israel. “I begged him, and it didn’t work…as expected,” one of these individuals, who spoke to Trump, recounts to Rolling Stone.

Others have urgently reached out to Trump’s Jewish son-in-law and former top White House adviser Jared Kushner, only to have their messages left unreturned. And though a handful of Trump’s prominent Jewish allies and campaign donors have spoken out against the ex-president’s dinner with West and Fuentes, a much larger number have been keeping quiet. Some out of fear of Trump’s retaliation, others out of a fear of potential loss of access, especially if he retakes the White House in 2025.

For days, however, a loose network of anti-genocide activists, Jewish Republicans, and other Jewish figures and leaders have circulated a draft letter that several of them intend to deliver to Trump soon, according to different copies and revisions reviewed by Rolling Stone. Organizers are hoping that a critical-mass number of recipients — particularly pro-Trump conservatives — end up signing, though those involved with the project are cognizant of the widespread fears of crossing Trump.

“Please condemn Kanye, Fuentes, and all of their ilk who claim to be your supporters and admirers,” reads a draft of the letter. “Pledge publicly never again to grant them a meeting or a platform until they apologize for, and utterly repudiate, their vile hate and antisemitism, or risk losing the admiration of those Jews who heretofore have been so grateful for your having stood with Israel and the Jewish people in their hour of need. Failure on your part to condemn Ye, Fuentes, and all who share their vile ideology and who call themselves part of your base, will inevitably provoke a widespread and irrevocable repudiation of your candidacy and your legacy. The world is watching, Mr. President, as is a grateful Jewish community, along with your beloved children and grandchildren. The time to act is now.”

One of the letter’s principal co-authors is Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a media figure and a longtime fixture of conservative pro-Israel circles. The rabbi has repeatedly called Trump the “greatest friend Israel ever had in the White House” and says he was “incredibly pro-Trump, [though] only on Israel.” Boteach has maintained close relationships with some of Trump’s inner circle and several of the former president’s biggest acolytes. But in recent years, the rabbi has grown increasingly critical of Trump and his MAGA cohort, including on issues related to the authoritarian election-denialism that’s proliferated within the mainstream GOP.

Boteach previously described the letter as an “ultimatum” to Trump but now characterizes it as a “declaration.” Though the final, signed version of the letter hasn’t yet been sent to the ex-president as of Wednesday, a source familiar with the matter says a copy of it has already leaked to a number of Trump advisers in recent days.

Trumpland is signaling it won’t have much of an effect: “I’ve seen it, and I do not care,” one Trump adviser says.

A version of the letter to Trump charges that “you certainly knew that Kanye West had been on a weeks-long diabolical campaign against Jewry, essentially describing our community publicly as leaches, bloodsuckers, and parasites…We cannot comprehend why you have been utterly silent about your dinner guest, whom you personally defended after being criticized and who praised the man who murdered six million Jews. As you know, Hitler would have, God forbid, murdered your own Jewish daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, so why would give his supporters the time of day, let alone a seat quite literally at your table.”

In the time since the now-infamous dinner, some of Trump’s former administration officials and allies have publicly criticized the ex-president’s decision. Many leading Republicans, including Trump’s likely 2024 primary foe, Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis, have either kept their mouths shut, or opted to stay in the good graces of the party’s leader and not offend Trump. In private, whenever Trump has heard of a Jewish supporter of his openly chastising him about the West/Fuentes dinner, he has responded by bashing the objector as disloyal and unfair.

The draft letter addresses that argument: “Your unstinting support for Israel does not in any way excuse your breaking bread with would-be Nazis.”

Late last month, Trump did end up publicly trashing West for being “a seriously troubled man, who happens to be black.” However, Trump was not expressing any anger at the famous rapper’s embrace of fascism or anti-Semitism; Trump was merely mad that West had been rude to him.

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According to Boteach, the letter is still privately circulating among human rights advocates, Jewish Republican supporters and donors to the former president. He says it has also been sent to “some former leaders of AIPAC,” who are currently seeking approval to sign their names. “Not one major supporter of the president has told me not to circulate this letter, and there was one who said they could not sign it, but would call the former president directly to express their strong feelings on the subject,” the rabbi says in a phone interview.

Boteach continues: “To those who have been making personal appeals to Trump to denounce Kanye West, including personal friends of mine, I ask: Has the Jewish community really been reduced to begging a former president to distance himself from Hitler-praising neo-Nazis? Have we no self-respect? … If Trump cannot condemn a Hitler-praising dinner guest, then he gets nothing, and the pro-Israel community must move on.”


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