Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is in hot water after voicing crass Jewish stereotypes on Thursday night at the Jewish Republican Coalition's Presidential Forum in Washington DC.
"I know why you’re not going to support me. You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. You want to control your own politicians," Trump said to the shock of the crowd.
The real estate guru continued to stun as he stated his desire to force Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to hold more peace talks by using another stereotype, saying, "this room negotiates deals. Perhaps more than any room I’ve ever spoken to."
Responding to the comments, the National Jewish Democratic Council said, "Donald Trump has been remarkably offensive throughout his candidacy, but to make these sorts of remarks before a Jewish audience is a new level of outrageousness."
Also expressing shock at the off-color statements was Ari Fleischer, who served as White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush.
Quoting Trump's statements about Jews controlling their politicians with money, he asked, "what the hell does that mean?" on Twitter.
But Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), came to Trump's defense claiming that the mogul who is known for his controversial barbs was not being anti-Semitic - while saying he understood the remarks could easily be viewed that way.
"In this case he is speaking to a group of Jewish Republicans, a significant portion of whom are business people. We do not believe he intended his comments regarding negotiations and money to relate specifically to their Jewishness, but we understand that they could be interpreted that way," stated Greenblatt.
“We encourage him to clarify that this was not his intention, and that he rejects the traditional stereotypes about Jews and money,” he added.
Aside from mouthing Jewish stereotypes, Trump drew boos from the audience when he refused to rule out dividing Jerusalem, saying he first wanted to speak with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later this month.
"Who's the wise guy?" Trump said in response to the booing, pointing to one audience member who was booing.
His statements on Jerusalem strengthened concerns from an interview Trump gave earlier on Thursday, when he said that forcing peace talks on Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) is at the top of his priorities.
He also placed the onus for the lack of peace on the Jewish state, saying, "a lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal - whether or not Israel's willing to sacrifice certain things."
By contrast, Trump's competitors Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio said earlier at the Jewish Republican Coalition that they would move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a notably different approach to the 3,000-year-old capital of the Jewish people.