DAILY BRIEFING:BERNIE SANDERS AND THE ANTISEMITIC COMPANY HE KEEPS (March 6,2020)

This caricature of Bernie Sanders was adapted from a Creative Commons licensed photo by Nick Solari available via Wikimedia. (Source:Wikipedia)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

How to Fight Antisemitism:  Bernie Sanders, Jewish Currents, Nov. 11, 2020

Linda Sarsour Is Too Antisemitic For the Women’s March, But Not For Bernie Sanders: Melissa Langsam Braunstein, The Federalist, Dec. 10, 2019

Bernie Sanders and the Question of Antisemitism Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, Mar. 3, 2020

Whither Léon Blum? Paul Berman’s Misplaced Faith in Bernie Sanders: Matt Johnson, Quillette, July 3, 2019

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How to Fight Antisemitism
Bernie Sanders
Jewish Currents, Nov. 11, 2020

ON OCTOBER 27TH, we marked one year since the worst antisemitic attack in our country’s history, when a white nationalist walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and murdered 11 people and injured six others. The murderer acted on a twisted belief that Jews were part of a nefarious plot to undermine white America—a plot to assist in the “invasion” of the United States by a caravan of migrants from Latin America. This vicious lie about an “invasion” had been repeated endlessly in right-wing media, on Fox News, across the internet, and, most disgracefully, by the president of the United States.

Yes, President Donald Trump’s own words helped inspire the worst act of antisemitic violence in American history.

The threat of antisemitism is not some abstract idea to me. It is very personal. It destroyed a large part of my family. I am not someone who spends a lot of time talking about my personal background because I believe political leaders should focus their attention on a vision and agenda for others, rather than themselves. But I also appreciate that it’s important to talk about how our backgrounds have informed our ideas, our principles, and our values.

I am a proud Jewish American. My father emigrated from Poland to the United States in 1921 at the age of 17 to escape the poverty and widespread antisemitism of his home country. Those in his family who remained in Poland after Hitler came to power were murdered by the Nazis. I know very well where white supremacist politics leads, and what can happen when people do not speak up against it.

Antisemitism is rising in this country. According to the FBI, hate crimes against Jews rose by more than a third in 2017 and accounted for 58% of all religion-based hate crimes in America. A total of 938 hate crimes were committed against Jews in 2017, up from 684 in 2016. The New York Police Department reported in September that antisemitic hate crimes in New York City have risen by more than 63% in 2019 and make up more than half of all reported hate crimes. Just last week, on November 4th, we learned that federal authorities had arrested a man in Colorado they believe was involved in a plot to bomb one of the state’s oldest synagogues.

This wave of violence is the result of a dangerous political ideology that targets Jews and anyone who does not fit a narrow vision of a whites-only America. We have to be clear that while antisemitism is a threat to Jews everywhere, it is also a threat to democratic governance itself. The antisemites who marched in Charlottesville don’t just hate Jews. They hate the idea of multiracial democracy. They hate the idea of political equality. They hate immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people, women, and anyone else who stands in the way of a whites-only America. They accuse Jews of coordinating a massive attack on white people worldwide, using people of color and other marginalized groups to do their dirty work. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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Linda Sarsour Is Too Antisemitic for the Women’s March, But Not for Bernie Sanders
Melissa Langsam Braunstein
The Federalist, Dec. 10, 2019

Activist Linda Sarsour ignited a media firestorm when video surfaced of her telling the American Muslims for Palestine conference “Israel ‘is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else’” on Nov. 29. Sarsour adopting white supremacist rhetoric and blatantly lying about Israel — the realized, radical notion that Jews deserve a homeland like every other people — wasn’t so surprising.

No, what’s been notable is that Sarsour remains Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign surrogate. Sarsour is too antisemitic for the Women’s March, but not for Sanders.

Many campaigns would have consciously uncoupled from Sarsour by now. Surely no one believed Sarsour’s apology, insisting her remarks criticizing modern Israel’s founding in 1948 were, in fact, about Israel’s 2018 nation-state law. But Bernie Sanders remains loyal, and it’s worth considering why.

Sanders Thinks Antisemitism Is a Right-Wing Problem

In a November essay titled “How to Fight Antisemitism” in the far-left Jewish Currents, Sanders promised, “I will always call out antisemitism when I see it.” That sounds good until you understand Sanders’ view of antisemitism: “Like other forms of bigotry — racism, sexism, homophobia — antisemitism is used by the right to divide people from one another and prevent us from fighting together for a shared future of equality, peace, prosperity, and environmental justice.”

In other words, antisemitism is a problem of the right, and Sanders’ definition of the right is fairly expansive; he doesn’t differentiate here between mainstream conservatives and the far-right.

The other flaw with Sanders’ narrow definition is that it ignores two other major sources of antisemitism, namely the far-left and Islamists. Without those last two, there is no way to understand either Corbynism or the genocidal hatred of Hamas and Hezbollah. Yet Sanders strikingly overlooks them.

For this reason, Sanders not only promises that as president, “I will direct the Justice Department to prioritize the fight against white nationalist violence,” but also says he would “rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council,” which is best known for demonizing Israel.

Bernie Sanders Associates with Antisemites

The most significant section of Sanders’ essay is him maintaining that “some criticism of Israel can cross the line into antisemitism, especially when it denies the right of self-determination to Jews, or when it plays into conspiracy theories about outsized Jewish power.” This is where things get interesting, given the company Sanders keeps as a presidential candidate. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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Bernie Sanders and the Question of Antisemitism
Benjamin Kerstein
Algemeiner, Mar. 3, 2020

The rise of Bernie Sanders presents American Jews with a terrible conundrum.

On the one hand, he is the first American Jew with a reasonable chance of gaining the presidential nomination of a major party, and thus a reasonable chance of becoming the first Jewish president.

For American Jews, this ought to be a cause for celebration. But thus far, it has not been, with Sanders’ Jewish support in the primaries remaining miniscule in contrast to non-Jewish candidates like Joe Biden.

This paradox is likely because of the incontrovertible fact that Sanders has done more to legitimize antisemitism than any Democratic presidential candidate in recent memory. Indeed, he has surrounded himself with antisemitic surrogates, allies and advisers, including Linda Sarsour, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Cornel West, James Zogby and others, using his Jewish identity as a shield for their racism and echoing their insidious ideology and accompanying rhetorical defamation.

Nowhere is this clearer than on the issue of Israel. Sanders has attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “racist,” failed completely to abandon or condemn his allies who are openly anti-Zionist and oppose the existence of a Jewish state and slandered Israel and Zionism’s American supporters, such as AIPAC. Despite vague references to supporting Israel’s right to exist, Sanders has shown himself at best obtuse and at worst collaborative with those who reject precisely that.

This in and of itself alienates Sanders from the American Jewish community. Notwithstanding the constant claims by Sanders supporters like the Jewish anti-Zionist group IfNotNow, Sanders’ views remain marginal among American Jews. Surveys have shown that the overwhelming majority of them — possibly as high as 90% — are at least nominally Zionist, with very positive views of Israel, the belief that Israel is important to their Jewish identity and unambiguous support for the existence and security of a Jewish state. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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Whither Léon Blum? — Paul Berman’s Misplaced Faith in Bernie Sanders
Matt Johnson
Quillette, July 3, 2019

Just before the Second World War, the father of philosopher Emmanuel Levinas told him why it was necessary to make France their home: “A country capable of splitting itself in two over the honor of a little Jewish captain is a country where we have to go as soon as possible.” Levinas was a Lithuanian Jew who became a French citizen in 1939, after which he joined the military as a translator and ended up as a prisoner of war in Germany. Many of his family members died in the Holocaust, but he survived the war and returned to France where he lived the rest of his life.

The Dreyfus Affair divided France just a few decades before the Second World War, and Levinas’s father saw in the controversy the soul of a society that values truth and justice over the ancient hatreds and violent dogmas that were consuming so much of Europe. But the pardon and vindication of the “little Jewish captain” Alfred Dreyfus—who had been falsely accused of treason—was the result of a process that, as Levinas’s father observed, tore France in half. France was the country of Émile Zola, but it was also the country of Édouard Drumont and the howling mobs who read his antisemitic screeds and joined his campaigns against the country’s Jews.

Victor Klemperer, a philologist and diarist who remained in Germany for almost the entirety of the Second World War, once referred to the Jews as a “seismic people.” It’s an apt metaphor—the tremors of antisemitism are an unfailing sign that a society is in grave danger (which is why it’s so often present in totalitarian regimes and mass movements), but conspiratorial suspicion of Jews has a tendency to create sporadic rifts, cracks, and sometimes earthquakes in even the most tolerant and liberal societies. In a series of articles for Tablet late last year, the American author and critic Paul Berman provides a kind of Richter scale reading for three of these countries: France, Britain, and the United States, and asks if the recrudescent antisemitism on the European Left is a sign of what’s to come on the other side of the Atlantic.

Berman provides a brief history of the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis—from Jeremy Corbyn’s record of praising terrorist organizations and celebrating artwork that looks like it was commissioned by Joseph Goebbels to the long list of condemnations of Labour issued by Jewish organizations in the UK. This crisis has only deepened in recent months, with a spate of resignations by Labour members of parliament, ever-increasing opposition from the Jewish community, and surging distrust of Labour among British Jews.

Berman also discusses the influence of “Corbyn’s counterpart” in France, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whose Unsubmissive France Party has “ended up as anti-Zionism’s principal home on the French Left.” During the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, Jewish businesses and synagogues were attacked and, Berman writes, “a street full of marchers broke into a cry of ‘Death to the Jews!’ And ‘Jew: Shut up, France is not yours!,’ together with ‘Allahu Akbar!,’ and ‘Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!’” Instead of condemning the protesters and their violence, Mélenchon complained about their targets, whom he described as “aggressive communities that lecture the rest of the country.” [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:

Rabbi Believes Bernie’s Big Lie About AIPAC Naomi Cohen:  Algemeiner, Mar. 4, 2020 The radical anti-Israel group IfNotNow gloated last week on its Facebook page about a prominent recruit to its campaign to boycott the AIPAC conference. IfNotNow had been aggressively lobbying the Democratic presidential candidates to boycott the pro-Israel lobbying group, arguing that AIPAC is “bigoted.”

Uncle Bernie’s Anti-Semitism Problem:  Asra Q. Nomani, Jewish Journal, Feb. 25, 2020 — Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders announced he will boycott this week’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference because of the “bigotry” of leaders it hosts. If Sanders wants to boycott bigotry, he should look closer to home: at his anti-Semitic political cheerleaders.

How Would Israel-US Relations Change under President Bernie Sanders? Lahav Arkov, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 28, 2020 — The annual AIPAC Policy Conference begins on Sunday, drawing in pro-Israel activists and politicians from around the US and both sides of the aisle.

WATCH:  Linda Sarsour’s Book Reviews Cover Up Her Anti-Semitism Steven Emerson, IPT News, Mar. 5, 2020  Despite a long record of anti-Semitic speech and radical connections, Linda Sarsour manages to enjoy a reputation as a “civil rights activist” and “community organizer.
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