Tobin: A Sanders presidency would be an 'unprecedented nightmare' for Jews

Bernie Sanders becoming America's first Jewish president would be no friend to his fellow Jews, thanks to his anti-Israel, pro-BDS rhetoric.

Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the sixth 2020 U.S. Democratic presidential candidates campaign debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 19, 2019. (photo credit: MIKE BLAKE/ REUTERS)
Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the sixth 2020 U.S. Democratic presidential candidates campaign debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 19, 2019.
(photo credit: MIKE BLAKE/ REUTERS)
A Bernie Sanders win in the 2020 Presidential race would deliver the first Jewish American president to the White House, but would be no win for Jews or Israel, Jewish News Syndicate Editor-in-Chief Jonathan S. Tobin has warned.
Sanders isn't typically viewed as a front runner in the presidential race, as his far-left policies are widely viewed as giving him a vocal, but narrow voter base. But a recent analysis by Politico has suggested that those writing off Sanders' campaign may be premature, as the 78-year-old senator has the staying power that younger, flashier candidates lack.
According to Politico, Democratic Party insiders have taken a second look at Sanders' chances given his staying power and are now forecasting that it may come down to Sanders vs former Vice President Joe Biden.
“It may have been inevitable that eventually you would have two candidates representing each side of the ideological divide in the party. A lot of smart people I’ve talked to lately think there’s a very good chance those two end up being Biden and Sanders,” David Brock, a Hillary Clinton ally, told Politico. “They’ve both proven to be very resilient.”
Elizabeth Warren had been tipped to be the one to go up against Biden, but her star has waned in recent polls. Similarly, bids by Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Beto O'Rourke have all quickly burned out, leaving the field open for Sanders, as a more steady hand, to move up.
Dan Pfeiffer, who served as an adviser to former President Barack Obama told Politico: “I believe people should take him very seriously. He has a very good shot of winning Iowa, a very good shot of winning New Hampshire, and other than Joe Biden, the best shot of winning Nevada. He could build a real head of steam heading into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.”
And California state Senator Scott Wiener said that Sanders had been “more resilient than I anticipated,” adding, “But in retrospect, he has a very, very loyal following, and people have really stuck with him.”
According to the most recent RealClearPolitics average, Sanders is currently polling in second place, nine points behind front-runner Biden. A December 12-15 poll by CNN found that he had the highest net favorability rating, although the same poll found that only 16% of respondents thought he had the best chance of beating Donald Trump in the presidential election, against 40% who thought that Joe Biden did.
Contemplating a Sanders win, Tobin has said that, were Sanders to become the first Jewish President of the United States, the results would be an "unprecedented nightmare" for both American Jews and Israel alike.
"Though he is Jewish and has repeatedly said that he supports Israel’s existence, there is also no doubt that Sanders is the Democratic contender who is the most critical of Israeli policy and the most sympathetic to the Palestinians," Tobin wrote.
He points to Sanders' willingness to hurl epithets such as "racist" at Benjamin Netanyahu's government, as well as his intentions to create a "pro-Palestinian" foreign policy should he take the White House.
Sanders has previously called for an end to the blockade of Gaza, and has repeatedly criticized Israel's efforts to defend its people from terrorist attacks emanating from Gaza.
"While [a change in foreign policy] wouldn’t advance a two-state solution that both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have no interest in, it would bring US-Israel relations to a historic low point, while emboldening the Jewish state’s foes to a point where they might consider war a reasonable option," Tobin wrote.
He envisages the situation for American Jews as being no better under Sanders, given Sanders' active opposition to anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions laws and close ties to those within the BDS movement, as well as his opposition to Trump's policy to take a tougher stance on antisemitism on campus.
"Sanders has the support of most of the nation’s most notorious left-wing anti-Semites, such as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), as well as fellow BDS advocate Linda Sarsour," Tobin wrote. "His refusal to repudiate these figures sets an ominous precedent that would come into play when it comes to staffing an administration, which can be expected to be populated by fellow radicals hostile to Israel and indifferent at best to antisemitism."
But the worst aspect of a Sanders Presidency would ironically be his Jewish status, Tobin says, given that as such, he would be insulated from criticism.
Tobin concluded, "Sanders and his apologists would claim that as a Jew, he could not be termed hostile to his own people. Seen from that perspective, such a Jewish president might be the worst thing yet to befall American Jewry."