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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/25/19

Campaign against Sanders on "antisemitism" for his criticism of Israel begins in earnest

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Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at the J Street conference
Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at the J Street conference
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In recent days, a group calling itself Democrats Against Anti-Semitism has begun an earnest campaign to inject the discourse with the idea that Bernie Sanders, historically the leading Jewish politician ever to run for president, is an antisemite because of his positions on Israel. That group joins New York Timesopinion editor Bari Weiss and others in seizing on the urgent task of vilifying Sanders. They evidently aim to "Corbyn-ize" him, by parroting smears used effectively against the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Sanders is a target because he has taken the strongest stances in favor of Palestinian human rights that any major candidate for the presidency has ever adopted. He has denounced the killings of Palestinian protesters in no uncertain terms, he has repeatedly called for the end of the Gaza siege so as to end a humanitarian disaster in the strip, he has said that he would condition military aid to Israel because of its unending settlement project and disrespect for Palestinian human rights, he has called Netanyahu a racist, and, worst of all, called for an "evenhanded" U.S. policy with respect to Israel and Palestine. All this, while saying that he is proudly Jewish, lived on an Israeli kibbutz as a young man, and supports Israel's existence/favors a two-state solution.

Here, from Democrats Against Anti-Semitism, a new group, are some of the supposed bases for the slander, which involves the twisting of Senator Sanders's words. Notice the Anglicism, "Whilst":

Sanders may be ethnically Jewish, but his rhetoric, voting history and associations have not reflected the values of a friend of Jewish people...

Speaking of anti-Israel dogwhistling, Sanders himself, much like his comrades, has preached anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian and, at times, blatant anti-Semitic talking points...

In 1971, whilst giving a speaking outside a synagogue, Sanders stated his support for "no guns for Israel." This just two years before the Yom Kippur War, where Israel came close to destruction, only surviving from American arms and aid shipments...

In 1988, Sanders reaffirmed his beliefs, quoted as saying "it is wrong that America provides arms to Israel...

It was also in 1988 that Sanders stated that he "wholeheartedly agreed" with Presidential Candidate Jesse Jackson's plan for Israel. His plan, if you don't know, was to ethnically cleanse the region of Jews in order to build a Palestinian State...

In 1990, when Sanders was elected as a Representative, he called Israel "the American administration's mercenary" in an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz, and spoke about his "greatest wish" was to see "the U.S. press Israel harder...

In 2004, a resolution was brought into the House of Representatives defending Israel after a resolution passed by the International Court of Justice condemned a security wall over "problem areas" in the West Bank. Sanders, naturally, opposed it...

In 2015, Sanders accused Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu of "overreacting" in the Gaza War. Whilst terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah were committing terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. Yikes.

Finally, in 2019, Sanders voiced support against blocking support for the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions Movement, a group that is built on attempting to bankrupt Jewish-owned companies and weakening the Israeli economy and government

Bari Weiss of the New York Times spoke out against Sanders earlier this month at the JCC in Manhattan. She said that many Jews, including her father Lou, a prominent member of the Israel lobby group AIPAC, are "Trump curious or Trump supporters."

I've been traveling all over the country talking to "the Jews" and ... the number of people that say to me, I will vote for Trump over Bernie Sanders it's really unbelievable actually...

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Philip Weiss is a longtime writer and journalist in New York. He co-edits a website on Israel/Palestine,, which he founded in order to foster the movement for greater fairness and justice for Palestinians in American foreign policy. He is currently working on a novel about the US in Australia during WW2.

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