Out of the crowded field of Democratic candidates vying to unseat Trump in the upcoming election, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) seems to be attracting a unique amount of attention and excitement. Until now, many Republicans and Democrats have considered Sanders too radical to win a national election. Mainstream America is too conservative to endorse releasing individuals on a no-cash bail criminal justice system, allow abortion at almost any time during pregnancy or spend millions on the Green New Deal. Or so we thought.
But Sanders has a consistent history and a candid reputation. Like Trump did in 2016, Bernie claims to defend the “little guy” against the lobbying powers of millionaires and billionaires. This ideology could help him attract voters who are not aligned to a specific party but feel like their voice is being neglected by Washington. Sanders could also be the first Jewish president. It has been reported that he has worked on a kibbutz in his early twenties and has close family in Israel. All the factors give Sanders the capability to become one of America’s most pro-Israel Presidents, but his actions have not lived up to his potential.
Last year, in a vicious anti-Semitic move, Sanders appointed Linda Sarsour as a surrogate for his campaign. Sarsour, an open supporter of BDS, has claimed that “Israel was founded on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else.” In 2012 Sarsour tweeted that “Nothing is creepier than Zionism. Challenge racism, #NormalizeJustice.” The tweet was accompanied by a video where a “Boycott Israeli Goods” T-Shirt clad activist claims that Zionism is “infecting the minds of millions with racism.” Additionally, Sarsour is also a supporter of the extremist group Muslim Brotherhood, a group whose leaders call Jews “monkeys and pigs,” and predicts that “the Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them,” tweeting on her account that the Muslim Brotherhood is “the coolest” and “knows how to parrrttaaay!”
This is not the Sanders campaign’s sole link to anti-Israel hate. Last year, after his campaign suffered a setback because of his heart attack Sanders hosted a rally alongside Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), openly accepting her endorsement. Back in 2012, Omar infamously tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” Later when GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened reparations for anti-Semitic comments, she replied that “it’s all about the Benjamin’s baby,” which seemed to imply that McCarthy was paid off by Jews, echoing common anti-Semitic tropes in an outlandish claim frighteningly reminiscent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Bernie Sanders has his own disastrous view of Israel. During a speech for the J Street organization, the Vermont senator proposed a plan, “My solution is to say to Israel: You get $3.8 billion every single year. If you want military aid, you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza.” He went on to say, “In fact, I think it is fair to say that some of that $3.8 billion should go right now into humanitarian aid in Gaza.” Gaza, of course, is governed by Hamas, a terrorist organization that claims to “love death for Allah more than Israelis love life.” Denying aid to Israel makes them vulnerable to outside assaults, but giving aid to Gaza instead, even if it claims to be humanitarian, will likely be used by Hamas to attack Israel and would ultimately worsen the lives of Palestinians suffering under the terrorist regime.
According to Gallup support for Israel, more than Palestinians, among Liberal Democrats was below 5% in 2019, against the Republican average of 76%. Sanders’s platform is intended to attract these Liberal Democrats. He may be able to win the primary by endorsing such hyper-left ideologies, but the general election will in all likelihood reveal that most Americans still believe in Israel’s existence.
So here it is — Bernie, if you want to win, divorce your destructive ideology in the middle east and condemn the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred that you have cast a blind eye on until recently. Instead of siding with terrorists, they chose the only democracy in the Middle East and adopted new policies that recognize that the Israel people have a God-given right to the holy land. Once you do that, we can start dismantling your socialist fantasies.
Yishai Klapper is a sophomore at Yeshivas Ohavei Torah in The Bronx, N.Y.
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