In the 2016 Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders presented himself as an American who happened to be Jewish. Now, in a radical shift, Sanders identifies as “a proud Jewish American.” The progressive politician went from speaking in a universalist voice to defining himself as a 3rd category Jew, i.e., a person who identifies politically as a Jew (as opposed to identifying religiously:1st category, or ancestrally: 2nd category). In his new capacity as a proud Jew, Sanders has declared all out war on Anti-Semitism on behalf of his people and in the name of what he describes as ‘multicultural progressive values’.
In his recent extended article titled How to Fight Antisemitism, published by the purportedly ‘Left’ Jewish Currents, Sanders takes up the same line you’d expect from an ADL spokesman, ticking every Hasbara box from the Jewish right of ‘self determination ‘to the primacy of Jewish suffering.
It is hard to miss the echo of Zionist propaganda in Sanders’ drivel. Understandably, Sanders doesn’t like Anti-Semitism. In that he isn’t alone. I would venture that no one, including antisemites, likes anti-Semitism. However, fighting anti Semitism is pretty simple. All it takes is self-reflection. This is exactly what early Zionists did and it was pretty effective. Early Zionism promised to introduce a new Hebrew: civilized, proletarian, universalist and ethical. Some of the worst anti-Semites were impressed with the idea, for a while even Hitler supported that Jewish nationalist project. At the time, Zionists were so popular that they were largely forgiven their 1948 racist ethnic cleansing crimes. Their introspective project was perceived as genuine.
Now, Sanders informs us, “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.” Does the ‘progressive’ presidential wannabe bother to ask himself why an ethnic group that comprises only 2% of the American population is subject to the vast majority of religion based hate crimes?
Sanders doesn’t advocate that Jews reflect on whether there is something they do that provokes such crimes, he prefers to blame everyone else and White identitarians in particular. He argues that antisemites such as the Pittsburgh Synagogue murderer “acted on a twisted belief that Jews were part of a nefarious plot to undermine white America. 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.”
Although I am a harsh critic all forms of identitarianism, Sanders seems to want it both ways, he identifies himself as a “proud Jewish American” and yet he is hostile to those who identify as White and to their political and identitarian agenda. In reading Sanders’ piece, one can’t miss the fact that the so-called ‘progressive’ seems to support all forms of identitarianism except the White one. “This wave of violence” he writes, “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.”
Politicians who explore ideas in a manner that is ignorant, uneducated and clumsy are now a universal Western symptom. However, Sanders manages to form a category of his own. “The antisemites who marched in Charlottesville don’t just hate Jews. They hate the idea of multiracial democracy.”
What is multiracial democracy? Are we supposed to know or should we guess? Are there any voices that should be excluded from this type of diverse democracy?
“They [presumably, the White Identitarians] hate the idea of political equality.”
Is this true? Perhaps ‘they,’ rightly or wrongly, just see themselves as among the oppressed and want their plight addressed?
“They hate immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people, women, and anyone else who stands in the way of a whites-only America.”
Does Sanders understand that ‘hating people’ (women, migrants, people of color, LGBTQ etc,) is not the same as opposing the identity politics that divides nations into a manifold of discrete identities?
Sanders accuses the anti-Semites of being conspiratorial. “this is the conspiracy theory that drove the Pittsburgh murderer—that Jews are conspiring to bring immigrants into the country to “replace” Americans.”
I feel obliged to remind Mr. Sanders it is hardly conspiratorial to acknowledge the fact that Jewish politics in the West and in America in particular, is pro-immigration. It is well documented and is actually rational. As opposed to the Jewish State that performs some of the most brutal anti immigration policies, Diaspora Jews tend to prefer to live in a society that is made of an amalgam of many groups and ethnicities. Sanders who identifies himself as a ‘proud Jew’ should ask himself why he supports ‘multicultural democracy’ and what he means by that. Sanders ought to look into the work of HIAS and decide for himself how well it reflects his own political sentiments.
Bernie Sanders sees anti-Semitism as “a conspiracy theory that a secretly powerful (Jewish) minority exercises control over society.”
Someone should ask Sanders to explain the peculiar phenomenon at work when Israeli PM Netanyahu received 29 standing ovations during his hard line speech in Congress. Mr. Sanders, who believes that pointing at Jewish power arises from ‘conspiratorial’ inclinations may want to ask himself what drove him to declare war against anti Semitism instead of joining battle against all racism. Does Sanders plan to speak at AIPAC or J-Street as part of his presidential campaign or does he intend to deny himself the support of the most influential political lobbies in Washington?
Sanders writes that “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.” But if Sanders is genuine here and his objective is ‘unity,’ why does he single out White identitarians? Shouldn’t he invite the Whites to join his phantasmic identitarian ‘unity’ as equal partners? And more to the point, if “like other forms of bigotry—racism, sexism, homophobia—antisemitism is used by the right to divide people” why not simply oppose all racism and bigotry in a universal manner?
According to the “proud Jewish American” who wants to be the next president, “opposing antisemitism is a core value of progressivism.” Is it? I would have thought that progressivism is about opposing all forms of racism in the largest and least discriminatory manner.
To illustrate his alliance with what is currently the most racist state on the planet, Sanders delves into nostalgic memories of his Zionist youth. “I have a connection to Israel going back many years. In 1963, I lived on a kibbutz near Haifa. It was there that I saw and experienced for myself many of the progressive values upon which Israel was founded.”
Mr Sanders forgets to mention that Sha’ar Haamakim, the Kibbutz he briefly dwelled in, was founded on the land of a Palestinian village; Al Zubaidat that had been the home of 60 Palestinian families. In 1925 a Zionist organisation purchased the village land from a rich Beiruty family and beginning in 1931, the Jewish Agency struggled to evict the Palestinians of El Zubeidat. A few years later, in 1935, Kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim was founded by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. In short, the place Sanders describes as embodying ‘progressive values’ was in fact, part of the vile racially driven, Zionist ethnic cleansing project.
The intellectually compromised Sanders goes on to describe a criminal state with a very odd use of the term ‘progressive.’ “I think it is very important for everyone, but particularly for progressives, to acknowledge the enormous achievement of establishing a democratic homeland for the Jewish people after centuries of displacement and persecution.” I find this confusing. Unless the words ‘progressive’ and ‘Jewish’ have morphed into synonyms, I do not understand what is ‘progressive’ about the process of violent racist ethnic cleansing.
I guess even Sanders must realise that his pro-Israeli screed is easily ridiculed. “We must also be honest about this: The founding of Israel is understood by another people in the land of Palestine as the cause of their painful displacement.”
According to Sanders the Palestinian plight is simply a matter of a subjective perception, that it was merely ‘understood’ by the Palestinians that the founding of Israel resulted in their own painful displacement. Sanders dismisses reality, ignoring the chain of massacres of Palestinians in 1948, and the clear agenda of the Israeli military to cleanse the indigenous people of Palestine from their land. I can’t think of anything more disgusting and duplicitous than Sanders’ fake humanism.
Sanders finds that “some criticism of Israel can cross the line into antisemitism, especially when it denies the right of self-determination to Jews…” I allow myself to assert that no one out there denies Jews or anyone else’s right of self-determination but self determination becomes a serious problem when executed at the expense of others, whether this takes place in Palestine, in North America or anywhere else.
Bernie Sanders, a declared non-universalist ‘progressive,’ uses a Jewish outlet to vow to his people “I will direct the Justice Department to prioritize the fight against white nationalist violence. I will not wait two years to appoint a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, as Trump did; I will appoint one immediately.”
If America intends, as it should, to fight racism and to heal its wounds it could be that Bernie Sanders is the worst possible candidate as he clearly expresses that what he cares about is the hatred of the one group that happens to be his own. Maybe president of the ADL is the more fitting post for the pretentious self confessed “proud Jewish American.” Leading the American people and the world should be left to a proper universalist and a genuine ethical character assuming that such a person is available and willing to commit.