The White House had a Hanukkah party on Thursday, but Trump seemed to leave out some very important guests: the Jews, specifically Jewish Democrats.
At said party, the president discussed the controversial announcment he’d made the day before to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, declaring it Israel’s captial, which many argue will only exacerbate Israeli-Palestinian tension.
“Hanukkah is a time for Jewish families around the world to celebrate the miracles of the past and the promises of the future,” Trump said to the attendees. “We are proud to stand with the people of Israel and renew our enduring bond.”
US President Donald Trump hosts a Hanukkah reception at the White House pic.twitter.com/UFHwsGXEeD
— AFP news agency (@AFP) December 8, 2017
Coincidentally, he also forgot to invite many Jewish activists and members of the Reform Jewish movement — people who were openly critical about this decision such as Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs — to his “festival of lights.”
Morton Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America, attended the party and told The New York Times that it was a time of celebration over an “incredible, historic moment,” later adding that Trump “did not invite people who have been hostile to him.”
Trump did not invite congressional Democrats to the White House Hanukkah party, according to aides.
He also did not invite Reform Jewish leaders who have been critical of him or progressive Jewish activists who have differed with him on policy issues. https://t.co/8H4fZ14myf
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 8, 2017
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told McClatchy News she wasn’t offended, but wasn’t thrilled either, especially because the two Jewish Republications in Congress, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-New York) and David Kustoff (R-Tennessee), reportedly attended the party.
“Why would you make partisan decisions about invitations that are entirely not partisan?” she questioned. “Hanukkah is something that’s important to all Jews; the tradition is to invite the Jewish members of Congress.” Ultimately, though, she said her feelings weren’t hurt.
Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-New York) said in a statement that she, on the other hand, was offended: “It’s deeply unfortunate that the White House Hanukkah Party — a bipartisan event bringing together Jewish and non-Jewish leaders alike to celebrate the Festival of Lights since 2001 — has turned into a partisan affair under this administration.”
Stephanie Grisham, director of communications for Melania Trump, told The New York Times, “I am not aware of the political affiliation of any of the guests, but I do know that this year was meant to be more personal than political.”
Vague, yet so transparent.