Bernie Sanders chose Linda Sarsour: Can Jews overlook her views on Israel?

Is Bernie Sanders confident that enough Jewish Democrats will overlook Linda Sarsour and still support him?

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
September 15, 2019 05:02
3 minute read.
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) takes the stage at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, U.S., March 10, 2019.. (photo credit: BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS)

Last weekend, presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders chose to make Linda Sarsour a campaign surrogate. Since then, analysts from across the spectrum have been questioning the move, given that Sanders is Jewish and Sarsour is known as an anti-Israel, antisemitic activist.

A campaign surrogate is another politician, celebrity or person of influence, campaigning on a candidate's behalf.


A report by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) said this: “He all but ceded support from Jewish Democrats … by announcing antisemitic activist Linda Sarsour again will serve as a campaign surrogate.
 
“Is he confident that enough Jewish Democrats will overlook Sarsour and still support him? Or is the bet that the rest of the Democratic base – the primary voters – either agree with her or don't prioritize the issue, and that that is enough to compensate for the loss of Jewish votes?” the IPT articles asks. “If he were to become the Democratic nominee, what happens to those voters in a general election? Do liberal Jews choose not to vote for president? Or do they switch to President Trump, whom they overwhelmingly opposed in 2016?”

 


The report, which paralleled articles by JTA, Israel National News, the Washington Examiner and the Federalist - to highlight a few- detailed Sarsour’s rabidly anti-Israel views, including her 2015 speech at Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March, where she called Zionists white supremacists.




Since then, there have been countless other incidents. 


A well-known advocate for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, in 2016 she told a large group of Muslims that her movement had no room for Jews who don't share her anti-Israel views.


"We have limits to the type of friendships that we're looking for right now," Sarsour told the American Muslims for Palestine conference, "and I want to be friends with those whom I know have been steadfast, courageous, have been standing up and protecting their own communities, those who have taken the risk to stand up and say – we are with the Palestinian people, we unequivocally support BDS when it comes to Palestinian human rights and have been attacked viciously by the very people who are telling you that they're about to stand on the front line of the Muslim registry program. No thank you, sisters and brothers."


In 2017, she literally embraced Rasmea Odeh, a convicted terrorist who in 1970 was sentenced to life in prison for two bombing attacks on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and spent 10 years in prison before being released in a prisoner exchange in 1980. 


At last year’s convention of the Islamic Society of North America, Sarsour accused the Israeli police and military of training American police to kill blacks and opposed humanizing Israelis.


"I am an unapologetic pro-BDS, one-state solution supporting resistance supporter here in the U.S.," Sarsour told an audience at the Islamic Society of North America's (ISNA) annual convention a year ago, IPT reported, noting that it was there that she blamed an Anti-Defamation League program that takes American police leaders to Israel to learn about anti-terror and riot control methods. The program does not include any hands-on training. But that didn't stop Sarsour from falsely alleging that, as a result of the program, police "come back here and do what? Stop and frisk, killing unarmed black people across the country."


A Gallup poll published in August showed that despite US President Donald Trump’s summer tweets against Jews who vote Democrat showing “either total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty, Jews in the US are highly likely to identify as Democrats and to vote for Democratic candidates. 


However, that same report also showed that Jews express views that are highly loyal to Israel. 


As such, according to IPT, “Bernie Sanders has made an odd call in his quest for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.”


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