Bernie Sanders recently released a campaign video in which he says that he is “very proud to be Jewish” and that he looks forward to “becoming the first Jewish president in the history of this country.” In the video, the Vermont socialist also blames President Trump for a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States.
While the point of this video is to garner support from Jewish voters, it entirely misses the mark for several reasons. First, Sanders fails to establish any causal connection between a rise in anti-Semitism and the president’s policies and conduct. Second, Sanders fails to account for Trump’s many accomplishments in support of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
Finally, Sanders improperly assumes that his Jewish roots automatically make him more qualified or better suited to represent the Jewish people (this assumption is especially dubious given his close ties with members of “the squad”).
As to his first point, there is simply no causal relationship between Trump’s policies and conduct and the apparent rise in anti-Semitism. While Sanders includes several of the president’s quotes in his video, these remarks were either taken out of context (i.e. “fine people on both sides”), twisted (“any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty”), or not played in their entirety. In other words, Sanders merely assumes that recent anti-Semitic incidents were Trump’s fault.
In reality, there is absolutely no evidence establishing a causal connection between any anti-Semitic incidents and the president’s conduct or policies.
On the contrary, Trump has done quite a bit to support the Jewish people and Israel. He recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Moreover, he withdrew the United States from the terrible Iran nuclear deal (which was a horrible deal for Israel and the United States). Finally, he issued an executive order reiterating that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act protects Jews from discrimination at taxpayer-funded universities and “recognized that anti-Zionism is a contemporary manifestation of anti-Semitism.”
Just because Sanders is Jewish does not mean that he is better suited or more qualified to represent the Jewish people. While he tries to paint the president as a racist in his most recent video, it is Sanders, not Trump, who associates with and defends various members of the squad, who have made remarks that many have considered anti-Semitic.
Sanders, as reported by Business Insider, was “one of the few senators to defend [Rep. Ilhan] Omar amid backlash against a series of comments she made earlier this year about Israel that many perceived as anti-Semitic.” He also defended Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) after she was criticized for her comments on the Holocaust. Finally, he defended Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) during her spat with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and previously employed the infamous Linda Sarsour as the face of his campaign.
Not only has Sanders defended some of these women, he has also accepted their endorsement. According to The Federalist:
Sanders has accepted the endorsement of Rep. Ilhan Omar, who accused Israel of “hypnotizing the world,” alleged Jewish dollars drive congressional support of Israel, and raised the antisemitic canard of dual loyalty. Omar has also spearheaded a Squad-supported resolution championing the movement to boycott Israel — the very same movement Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House overwhelmingly condemned in a July resolution because it “does not recognize, and many of its supporters explicitly deny, the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination.”
Sanders has also been endorsed by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who has accused pro-Israel senators of dual loyalty and described the “calming feeling” she gets when thinking about the Holocaust, whitewashing history during a podcast interview. Contra Tlaib, the Palestinian Arab population did not, in fact, offer a safe haven to Jews fleeing the Holocaust.
While Sanders is Jewish, this, in and of itself, does not mean that he is more qualified or better suited to serve the needs of American Jews. In this video, he attempts to garner the Jewish vote merely by playing up his Jewish roots. This is illogical and Americans should see through this charade. While Sanders should be proud of his Jewish heritage, it is President Trump, not Sanders, who has worked long and hard to protect and benefit American Jews and America’s relationship with Israel.