Bernie’s a Jew; Don’t breathe a word
My partner offers some criticism of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to family members, telling them that he’s a Jew. The reaction to her comment is sharp, almost hostile … “What difference does THAT make?”. She withdraws from the conversation, saying later that she should have said “Zionist”. But should she have? Let’s consider …
Bernie Sanders is a Jew. No doubt about it. And because he’s a Jew and a senator in the US Congress, we can safely assume that he’s a Zionist Jew, even if we had no access to his political views: Imagine for a moment that Bernie was an anti-Zionist Jew, and ask yourself what chances would he have had to become a US senator, holding such views? Or of winning any elected office for that matter?
So what difference does it make that Bernie’s a Jew? Let’s take a quick look …
Bernie is the only Jewish candidate among the mix.
That makes him a member of arguably the most politically powerful group in the United States. No other candidate can claim that status.
He’s the only one of the candidates that’s eligible for birthright citizenship in the country that receives the most US foreign aid in the world. An apartheid country that openly discriminates against its non-Jewish citizenry and subjugates those non-Jewish non-citizens living under its control.
According to the Times of Israel “Shaar Haamakim [a Jewish kibbutz] was a bastion of socialism when the Vermont senator volunteered there in the ’60s, and continues to preserve ‘social democratic values’”. Certainly these social democratic values did not extend to the Palestinian refugees then wishing a return to their homeland. Nor is Sanders arguing for their return today.
No, it’s safe to say Bernie supports a Jewish state in Palestine. And though he’s certainly not alone among the candidates in that regard, Bernie is uniquely positioned to challenge Jewish power both here and in the state that by definition would grant citizenship to him and deny it to the other candidates.
Imagine for a moment we had a real free press, one where journalists could ask meaningful questions of candidates …
“Mr. Sanders: When you served as a Jewish kibbutznik in Palestine, I mean Israel, was the offer of citizenship made to you?”
“Mr. Sanders: Did you accept that offer? Were you in fact a citizen of Israel?”
“Are you a citizen of Israel today?”
“Do you think that members of the US Congress should be totally transparent about possible citizenship in foreign governments?”
“Would you support an inquiry that would supply American citizens with the information about their leaders’ possible dual citizenship in other countries?”
“Author and philosopher Gilad Atzmon, in his study of Jewish identity politics, describes three categories of Jews: (1) Those who follow Judaism, (2) Those who regard themselves as human beings that happen to be of Jewish origin, and (3) Those who put their Jewish-ness above all of their other traits. Given your track record in the Senate supporting the Jewish state, would you identify yourself as a third-category Jew? Put another way, how does your Jewish-ness influence the way you feel and vote in regard to Israel, the Jewish state?”
“For over twelve years a group of dedicated activists in Ann Arbor, Michigan has identified the Jewish community as the politically strongest ethnic group distorting US policy in support of Israel, and has clearly challenged the power of the local Jewish community. Do you agree that Jews are indeed powerful, and would you support such challenges to this power?
“Regarding our constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech, and since NPR reports that your “father’s family was mostly wiped out during the Holocaust”, would you favor joining France, Germany, Israel and nine other countries which provide prison sentences for those revisionists challenging the standard narrative of the Holocaust?”
“Thank you, Mr. Sanders”
Jan 30 – Seven vigilers
Feb 6 – Six vigilers
America First, Not Israel
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends