By Gilad Atzmon
The Times of Israel explained earlier this week “How Bernie Sanders just became the rabbi of the Jewish left.”
For most of his campaign, “Sanders had seemed to avoid talking about his Jewishness.” This changed radically last week ahead of the April 19 primary in his native New York, the most Jewish city in America. In New York, the Israeli outlet reports, Sanders presented a “principled” stand “as a Jew” on anti-Semitism and his relationship with the Jewish community and Israel. In the early stages of his campaign Bernie seemed to oppose identiterian politics. But last week in outreaching to NY Jews, Bernie employed the usual ID political maneuvers and Zionist tricks from the Hasbara book. The Times Of Israel and the Jewish press see a “Rabbi” in Bernie for good reason.
At a rally in Harlem on April 9, Sanders faced down what the Jewish press described as an “anti-Semitic questioner.” The so called ‘anti Semite’ asked Bernie, “As you know, the Zionist Jews, they run the Federal Reserve, they run Wall Street….What is your affiliation to the Jewish community?”
I fail to see the anti Semitism. The question states established facts about powerful Jewish elites and raises a legitimate query regarding Bernie’s political and tribal affiliation. Far more concerning was Bernie’s answer.
“That’s not what you’re asking,” Sanders retorted to applause. “I am proud to be Jewish.”
I wonder, is this really the case? Do you follow Torah and Mitzvoth Mr. Sanders? What are you proud of exactly? Is it a set of ‘Jewish values,’ Jewish blood or is it your chicken soup recipe you are proud of?
Bernie provided his answer. By ‘Jewish pride’ he meant to say that he is “a strong defender of Israel” but he also “believes that we have got to pay attention to the needs of the Palestinian people.” This is apparently the sense of justice and impartiality conveyed by the new American socialist messiah: ’strong defense of the oppressor’ vs. ‘paying attention to the needs of the victim.’ Sadly, the position Sanders presented in Harlem is typical of the Jewish progressive approach to the Middle East. Total commitment to Israel peppered with some non-committal diluted verbal empathy towards the true people of the land i.e., the Palestinians.
“Jews are the 99 percent,” Bernie said to cheers from Harlem’s supportive crowd. Bernie cleverly failed to mention 99% of what. Did he mean 99% of the neocon club? Because, truth better be said, Jews are not well represented within America’s rapidly growing under class. Quite the opposite. Jews make up about 2% of the American population and they are among the most privileged ethnic groups in the US.
Sanders’ Middle East terminology could easily have been copied from a Likud pamphlet. In Sanders’ universe, freedom fighters are terrorists; the invaders and illegal setters are ‘peace seeking victims.’ “Of course Israel has a right not only to defend themselves, but to live in peace and security without fear of terrorist attack.” Sanders said in the last debate.
Sanders seems to be genuinely troubled by the massacre in Gaza where “some 10,000 civilians [who] were wounded and some 1,500 [who] were killed.” This is more critical of Israel than Mrs. Clinton is willing to be, but for those who may have forgotten, Bernie is parroting the Israeli Hsbara line. Israel, they always report, doesn’t want to kill women and children but is left with no other option. Sanders like Bibi, Regev and Lieberman basically blames the victims.
Unlike Clinton and Trump, Bernie didn’t join the groveling march to AIPAC’s recent gathering. Clinton and Trump had to compete for the attention of the Lobby that dominates American Foreign Policy so that it will crown one of them as its favourite Sabbos Goy. Bernie is no Sabbos Goy. Bernie is a ‘proud Jew’ by admission and a “Rabbi” according to The Times of Israel. The Times reports that he’s been “defending Israel to left-wing audiences, in his strident way. His closest friends in Vermont are Jewish. He’s handy with a Hebrew blessing.”
Bernie is apparently good for the Jews. But what about America? I guess we can hope for divine intervention.