225 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 37 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/6/19

Bernie Sanders links Hitler's murder of his family to his fight against occupation of Palestinians

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   3 comments
Message Philip Weiss
Become a Fan
  (3 fans)

From Mondoweiss

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders
(Image by YouTube, Channel: CNBC Television)
  Details   DMCA

We've closely followed the statements of Democratic presidential hopefuls to the American Jewish Committee. Almost every candidate so far has been careful to skirt the Israel question, hinting at some mild criticism of Israel but not actually voicing it. Joe Biden went after the Palestinians. Kamala Harris embraced Israel. No one has mentioned the occupation or Palestinian human rights with any specificity.

Till now, that is. Bernie Sanders weighed in yesterday with a forceful message that connects the murder of his own family by the Nazis to his fight against the crushing, humiliating military occupation by Israel of Palestine.

Sanders said that Gaza is also occupied, that Netanyahu is a reactionary who is planning to annex the West Bank, and that a two-state solution must produce a viable Palestinian state based on the '67 lines, with Jerusalem as a capital. Just what Netanyahu rejected and shoved in Barack Obama's face eight years ago in the White House, without any consequences.

Sanders began by saying that anti-Semitism is not an abstract idea to him. "I am Jewish and very proud of my heritage." His father emigrated from Poland at the age of 17 to escape discrimination.

"Those in his family who remained in Poland after Hitler came to power were murdered by the Nazis. Antisemitism is not some abstract idea to me. It is very personal. It destroyed a good part of my family."

He said that Jews therefore have a special role to play. "Jews who have been victims of discrimination for centuries must help lead the effort in fighting back against hatred and racism wherever and whenever we see it."

And that includes Israel. Sanders calls himself "someone who believes absolutely and unequivocally in Israel's right to exist in peace and security, who as a young man lived in Israel for several months." But:

"We must say loudly and clearly that to oppose the reactionary policies of Netanyahu doesn't make anyone anti-Israel. Let me say it again, I am vigorously opposed to the reactionary, racist and authoritarian policies of Donald Trump. That does not make me anti-American. I am not anti-Israel because I oppose Netanyahu's policies."

Yes, Sanders itemized Trump's racism more than Netanyahu's. But Sanders becomes specific about those policies. Saying that the United States should lead the world with a foreign policy that focuses "on democracy and human rights rather than on a foreign policy that emphasizes the continued use of military force," he moves to Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

"I see Israel making enormous technological advances with the capacity to serve as an engine of innovation and prosperity for the entire region, yet unable to achieve this goal because of its unresolved conflict with the Palestinians. I see a Palestinian people crushed under a military occupation now over a half century old, creating a daily reality of pain, humiliation and resentment. Let me be clear, I do not know how peace can be achieved in that region when in the Gaza Strip poverty is rampant, 53 percent of the the people are unemployed, the number of unemployed is even higher for young people. And 99 percent of the residents cannot leave that area. That is not a sustainable situation. Ending that occupation and enabling the Palestinians to have independence and self-determination in a sovereign, independent, economically viable state of their own is in the best interest of the United States, Israel, the Palestinians and the entire region. It is a necessary step in insuring that Israel is accepted and integrated into a region it has so much to offer."

There is enough blame to go around on all sides, he says. The peace process will be very difficult, but agreements are possible if there is a serious willingness to sit down and talk and compromise. Sanders seems to channel his Brooklyn homey Norman Finkelstein:

"The truth is that the parameters of a solution are well-known. They are based in international law, they are based in multiple UN Security Council resolutions, and they are supported by an overwhelmingly international consensus. Two states based on the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as the capital of both states."

Then back at Netanyahu:

"Unfortunately Prime Minister Netanyahu and his allies seem to be preparing for a future in which Israel controls the entire territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River in perpetuity and the Palestinians receive limited autonomy within a disconnected series of communities. That is not an acceptable outcome for anyone who supports the security, freedom and self-determination of both peoples, as I strongly do."

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Philip Weiss Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Philip Weiss is a longtime writer and journalist in New York. He co-edits a website on Israel/Palestine, Mondoweiss.net, 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.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

"NYT" and Matthews warn that Netanyahu speech to Congress could lead US to war

Clinton and Israel -- the Marc Rich story

Obama's European message -- self-determination, equality, dignity -- is null and void in Palestine

Gaza massacre is generating ideological crisis in American Zionists

British Parliament sends a message to Obama: the people see Israel as a "bully"

I want my country back

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend