Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is, if you believe the polls, a leading candidates for the Democrat Presidential nomination.
Democrats have always done exceptionally well among Jews – extremely important for them because, although small in total number, they tend to cluster in just a few states (Florida the most competitive among those few), and have been a prolific source of campaign contributions to the party.
This leads straight to the issue of Israel.
President Trump has been a huge supporter of Israel during his presidency. This is hardly a surprise, given that – despite how little media have chosen to talk about it (better to pretend he calls nazis “very fine people”) – Trump has been a huge supporter of Israel for many years. And not just when it was politically expedient.
By contrast, Bernie Sanders’ position on Israel over the years is far more compatible with J Street – the hard-left Jewish splinter group that can’t seem to find anything Israel does right or that Palestinian Arabs do wrong.
I assume you don’t need me to tell you that, in a presidential campaign, that has the potential to be very damaging for Bernie.
So, presumably in an effort to retain as much Jewish support as possible, Sanders’ has suddenly rediscovered his own Jewish roots…and taken on an appreciably more Israel-supportive stance…
…which, not surprisingly, this has chagrined – make that infuriated – Sanders supporters who had been perfectly happy with Sanders’ long time anti-Israel stance and do not want it dumped in the name of political expediency.
One of those supporters is linda sarsour – the overtly anti-Israel, anti-Semitic activist who, earlier this year, was (way too belatedly) dumped from the Women’s March because of her Israel/Jew hatred.
How is this playing out in the political arena? Well, we have this, excerpted from Ron Kampeas’ article at israelnationalnews.com:
Last month, Bernie Sanders wrote about his support for Israel, calling the nation an “enormous achievement” and “a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.”
A few weeks later Linda Sarsour, a prominent Arab-American activist and an official Sanders campaign surrogate, said that support for Israel as a state is unacceptable in the progressive movement.
The contrast is sharp and, one would think, irreconcilable.
Neither Sarsour nor the Sanders campaign has answered the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s request for comment.
Let’s review some recent statements on Israel by Sanders and Sarsour.
Sept. 6: The Sanders campaign posts a video of Sarsour speaking at a rally in Brooklyn and identifies her as a “2020 Bernie surrogate.”
Nov. 11: Sanders writes about anti-Semitism for the left-wing Jewish publication Jewish Currents in what also is his most expansive expression of Jewish identification.
Nov. 29: Sarsour appears at the annual conference of American Muslims for Palestine, and says in a speech at the Chicago event that Zionists, not pro-Palestinian advocates, should be on the defensive. In particular, she calls out progressive Zionists, suggesting they have no place in the larger progressive movement. (The blog Israelly Cool first reported the Facebook posting with the video of Sarsour’s remarks.
“Ask those who call themselves progressive Zionists to explain to you how they can be against the separation of children on the U.S.-Mexican border, how can they be against building a wall between us and Mexico, how can they be against agencies like ICE … but then you tell me ‘Oh, you can’t push me out of the movement because I’m also against white supremacy,’” Sarsour said at the conference. “Ask them this, how can you be against white supremacy in America and the idea of being in a state based on race and class, but then you support a state like Israel that is based on supremacy, that is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else.”
Just a couple of months ago, linda sarsour’s assessment of Israel would have been largely compatible with Bernie Sanders’ long-time criticisms of the Jewish state. But now? Take a good look at that last paragraph.
I have difficulty seeing how linda sarsour – or her likeminded Israel/Jew haters, can be a part of this campaign.
Does Bernie Sanders really believe his abrupt about-face on Israel has any credibility? Does he really think that, if he were to become the Democrat presidential nominee, he could compete with Donald Trump on Israel support? That his history of attacking rather than supporting Israel would not be fully laid out for everyone to see?
Over the years, I have disagreed with Bernie Sanders on many issues. But I have always respected the fact that – to his credit – Mr. Sanders never adjusted his positions on issues to get votes; that he has maintained the integrity, the courage, not to pander that way.