In December, British citizens overwhelmingly rejected the Marxist ideology of Britain’s Labor Party boss, Jeremy Corbyn, and sent him and his Momentum movement packing. It was Labor’s worst showing since before World War II. Among the concerns looming in the minds of the voters were Corbyn’s explicit antisemitism and his honeymoon with known radical terrorist elements like the Muslim Brotherhood’s Raed Saleh, Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and convicted IRA operatives Linda Quigley and Gerry MacLochlainn. Polls conducted prior to the election showed that at least 40 percent of British Jewry considered emigrating had Corbyn won and an astonishing 80 percent of Britain’s Jews as well as all of Britain’s leading Jewish newspapers from across the political spectrum saw Corbyn as an existential threat.
Across the Atlantic, American Jews are facing a similar threat with the emergence of Senator Bernie Sanders as a possible frontrunner. Sanders came in first in the New Hampshire primary and remains nearly tied with Pete Buttigieg in the delegate count. Though it is far from certain that he will be the Democratic nominee, the self-proclaimed socialist, who is on record professing admiration for dictatorial regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua, China and the former Soviet Union, has a fairly good shot at reaching the requisite delegate count. According to a Morning Consult poll conducted after the New Hampshire primary, the “woke” senator is the first choice for 29 percent of Democratic primary voters, which places him 10 points ahead of his more moderate and dimwitted rival, Joe Biden. FiveThirtyEight gives Sanders a one-in-three chance of securing the nomination outright though the website believes that there’s a greater chance of a brokered convention.
American Jews have traditionally been a strong constituent base for the Democratic Party. In the last election, 70 percent of Jewish voters voted for Hillary Clinton. That figure is consistent with Jewish voting patterns since 1968 with the notable exception of the 1980 Reagan-Carter presidential race where Jimmy Carter’s support among Jewish voters was significantly lower. Carter’s hostility toward Israel and a slumping economy were the primary reasons for his relatively poor showing among this important Democratic segment. In fact, Carter was the first Democratic presidential candidate since the 1920s to receive less than 50 percent of the Jewish vote.
American Jews are wary of Sanders and for good reason. One look at the company he keeps should send shudders through the spine of any sane voter, and not least Jewish voters. Candidate Sanders has employed Linda Sarsour, Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as his surrogates. All three have long, sordid records of espousing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. All three are avid supporters of the anti-Semitic BDS ideology. And all three will have access to the White House should candidate Sanders become President Sanders.
Sarsour routinely refers to Jews as “white Jews,” and critical media as the “Jewish media.” In December, at an event organized by the anti-Semitic group, American Muslims for Palestine, Sarsour stated that Israel was “built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else,” echoing sentiments expressed by former KKK leader David Duke. Her views are so rabidly anti-Semitic that the Women’s March cut all ties with her and removed her as an inaugural board member.
Omar, who once accused Israel of hypnotizing the world, recently caused controversy when she claimed that American support for Israel is driven by money. “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” she tweeted. She later compounded the insult by insinuating that those who support Israel maintain dual loyalties. The propagation of an age-old anti-Semitic canard by one of their own prompted a reluctant Democratic-controlled congress to issue a pathetic, half-hearted condemnation of anti-Semitism.
In January, Tlaib tweeted a blood libel falsely accusing “a Herd of violent #Israeli settlers (sic)” of kidnapping a Palestinian boy and drowning him. In fact, the boy had fallen into a rain-filled cistern and drowned, and it was Israeli first responders who instituted heroic efforts to locate and revive the boy. She pointedly refused to apologize for the blood libel even after the charge was proven false.
Last year, Tlaib caused a stir when she stated that the Holocaust gives her a “calming feeling” because it reminded her of how her Arab ancestors provided the Jews with “safe haven” in Palestine. The words “calming feeling” and Holocaust should never be uttered in the same sentence. Moreover, Palestinian Arabs were viscerally hostile toward their Jewish neighbors and much of the Palestinian leadership gave aid and comfort to the Nazis.
Senator Sanders, who touts his pro-Israel credentials by claiming that he once worked on a kibbutz, has himself, dabbled in blood libels. In a 2016 interview with the New York Daily News, he claimed that 10,000 Gazans were killed as a result of Israeli fire during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 counterinsurgency campaign aimed at halting indiscriminate Hamas rocket fire at Israeli towns and cities. In fact, some 2,125 Gazans were killed and of these, 936 were confirmed terrorists, 761 were civilians and 428 were unidentified. Moreover, of the civilian casualties, many were killed and wounded as a result of errant Palestinian rocket fire.
In 2018, Sanders tweeted a video that championed the so-called Palestinian “right of return,” a concept that if implemented, would flood Israel with millions of hostile Palestinian Arabs. When questioned about the video, he refused to clarify whether he supports such a right.
Given his repugnant views and the company he keeps, it is clear that Sanders maintains a visceral anti-Israel animus that veers uncomfortably close to antisemitism. That the Democratic Party continues to indulge Sanders’ radical ideology and demagoguery should be cause for great concern. American Jews who still maintain ties to the Democratic Party should take heed from Britain’s Jews and reject outright the radicalism and extremism that has infected their cherished Democratic Party.