Dr.Gerstenfeld’s writes about Bernie Sanders being a strong promoter of antisemites. The article was first published at INN and republished here with the author’s consent.
Bernie Sanders, a strong Promoter of extreme anti-Semites
In 2014 the Anti-Defamation League undertook a study of anti-Semitism in a hundred states and entities. The leading ten, each with at least 80% of the population holding anti-Semitic views, all come from the Arab and Muslim world. The West Bank and Gaza, headed the list with 93%.1 Yet US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has gone on record saying that positive relations between the United States and Israel hinge on Israel improving its relationship with the Palestinians.2
Sanders also stated that the United States should not limit its friendship to Israel alone, but should also be friendly toward the Palestinians.3 In other words, if he is elected his country will seek friendship with the most anti-Semitic entity in the world. He furthermore stated that Palestinians need to be treated with “dignity and respect.”4 Perhaps interviewers should ask him why genocide promoters and inciters to murder deserve to be treated that way. An American Jewish leader once said privately to me “Sanders doesn’t have a gram of anti-Semitism in his body.” That may be true, yet he is a strong promoter of extreme anti-Semites.
Much attention has been devoted to Sanders’ being Jewish. This while avoiding any mention of his wish for friendly relations between the US and an entity whose majority party, Hamas, has publicly declared its genocidal intentions against all Jews. Perhaps Sanders should first ask them whether, in view of his desire for this friendship, Hamas will agree not to murder him if it succeeds.
Another much discussed subject is Sanders’ inflation of the number of Palestinian civilian dead in Israel’s 2014 Protective Edge campaign against Hamas in Gaza. He mentioned “10,000 innocents” when in reality it was a fraction of this number.5 But this remains a side issue in comparison with his affinity for extreme anti-Jewish hate mongers. Sanders calls this a “balanced position.”
What is far more important to understand about Sanders is his self-definition as a socialist. Americans, including American Jews, are not very familiar with what many socialists stand for nowadays. For a better understanding of contemporary socialists, one has to look at Europe.
Sanders is a great admirer of the Nordic countries.6 It is there that anti-Israelism, the newest form of anti-Semitism, has been frequently promoted by socialists. Sweden is the most populated Scandinavian state. Its best known social democratic Prime Minister Olof Palme was one of the first mainstream European leaders to call Israel a Nazi state.7 Under its social democratic mayor Ilmar Reepalu, the third largest Swedish town Malmö became Europe’s capital of anti-Semitism.8 Not surprisingly in Sweden more Jews than anywhere else in Europe conceal their identity in public.9
Jens Stoltenberg is the Secretary-General of NATO. He was prime minister of Norway from 2005 until 2013, when his Labor-party led government was defeated. On various occasions he did not react when anti-Israel hate statements were made in public meetings where he was a speaker.10 The current party leader Jonas Gahr Stoere wrote a back cover comment for a book by two fanatic Norwegian Israel-haters who said that Israel went into Gaza to kill women and children.11
There are many other examples of European socialist parties that have Jew-haters in representative positions. The one currently in the limelight is the British Labor Party which is in the opposition. Its leader Jeremy Corbyn has called Hezbollah and Hamas his friends.12 He also has regular contacts with a Holocaust denier.13
The Labour Party has had to start an investigation of anti-Semitism in its ranks, in view of the regular emergence of new anti-Semitic remarks among its cohorts. One Labour expellee has said that Hitler might be the Zionist God.14 A local Labour councilor, also expelled, said that Hitler was the greatest man in history.15 itler was the rgeatets mano erath.
The Dutch Labor Party in its party program makes many demands on Israel and none on the Palestinians.16 Its parliamentary faction leader Diederik Samsom, in his keynote speech on the subject, ignored all Palestinian crimes including the calls for genocide reiterated by Hamas.17
One can go on and on. This however does not mean that most European socialist leaders are anti-Semites or promoters of anti-Semitism. This is far from the case with regard to French President François Hollande or his Prime Minister Manuel Valls, among others. However, the French socialist party is also infected with humanitarian racists, who prefer to avert their eyes from genocidal intentions and extreme anti-Semitism among Palestinians.18
Sanders’ does not call Hezbollah and Hamas his friends. Yet he has made extreme, immoral statements in support of anti-Semitic hate mongers. If one sees his attitude in the context of much of the contemporary socialist hatred of Israel, one can much better understand it. None of this can be compensated for by his often abstract remarks about supporting Israel and the standard phrase “Israel has the right to exist.” Sanders is still campaigning in many states and questioners should not let him get away with his sympathy for Palestinian genocidal Jew haters and other inciters.
As a post-script: Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, is the other senator of Vermont, a state with only about 600,000 inhabitants. He is the author of a law that conditions US military aid on the human-rights records of security forces. He has reportedly asked the State Department to investigate Israel on that score. This hypocrite chose to forget that the US extra-judicially killed 3800 people with drones in Pakistan, for instance, with which it is not at war. The victims were mainly civilians.19 The current social climate in Vermont apparently is not propitious for putting forward decent politicians as its most senior political representatives.
7 Per Ahlmark, “Palme’s Legacy 15 Years On,” Project Syndicate, February 2001.
10 Conrad Myrland, “Palestinsk taler på Youngstorget tegner fiendebilder og maner til kamp,” Med Israel For Fred, 30 April 2013.
11 Vibeke Buan and Geir Geir Salvesen, ” Dumt av Støre å bidra i boken,” Aftenposten, 1 January 2010.
17 Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Mini-Erdogan Diederik Samsom hitst op tegen Israel,” Dagelijkse Standaard, 15 December 2014.