These days, I’m feeling sorry for Bernie Sanders. He seems to have incurred the displeasure of just about every establishment in this country.
Although I don’t agree with his economic policies or his readiness to take over the intersectional politics of other Democratic presidential candidates (Bernie used to be quite good on the need for immigration restrictions), I can certainly respect him for his enemies. Whatever my differences with him, Bernie showed guts when he turned down an invitation from AIPAC, an organization that has ruined critics for disagreeing with their Middle East policies. The trashing of Sanders by AIPAC groupies as a “self-hating Jew” bring to mind the old saying “Tanti nemici tante honore [So many enemies, so much honor].”
When the annual AIPAC gathering assembled in Washington on March 1, the politicians who were present, led by Mike Pence and Mike Bloomberg, took turns firing away at the missing Democratic candidate. It seems that Bernie had betrayed the party of Harry Truman, the Democratic president who in 1948 first recognized the Jewish state. He was also threatening longtime bipartisan support for Israel, which AIPAC leaders repeatedly affirmed as integral to our national political life. In a group statement, we also learn: “Senator Sanders has never attended our conference, and that is evident from his outrageous comment.” Further: “Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel. Truly shameful.” Against the Left: A Ro... Best Price: $13.57 Buy New $8.00 (as of 10:15 EST - Details)
Allow me to raise some obviously rhetorical questions: would a candidate for president from one of our two national parties feel obliged to attend a lobbying organization representing the French or Italian government? And have our politicians devoted the same concern to Christians who are at risk in Muslim countries as they have to the Israeli lobby? Why do our “conservative” Republicans worry less (or so it would seem) about endangered Christian communities in China and the Middle East than they do about Israeli geopolitical interests?
Equally noteworthy: in August, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy expressed apparent concern on Fox News that the “Democrats are moving away from Israel due to the influence of the ‘new socialists.’” Even allowing for McCarthy’s crocodile tears and the childish outbursts over the “new socialist group,” one might want to ask why a prominent Republican leader is emphasizing Democratic defections from the AIPAC camp. Might it have to do with holding on to his party’s Zionist donors while getting the same from the Democratic side?
Jamie Kirchick, a veteran Sanders despiser and a reliable neocon publicist, writes inTablet about why “America’s first serious Jewish presidential candidate garners only a tiny fraction of support from Jewish Dems.” Kirchick’s explanation is that Jewish Democrats have always “abhorred men like Sanders” who have sought “to erase distinctions between democrats and totalitarians on the left.” Sanders emerges “from an entirely different political lineage, that of anti-anti-communism,” he continues.