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Bernie bucks Washington consensus on Israel

We've had our criticisms of Benie Sanders. And up till now, he has been very cautious on the question of Palestine. He's been assailed by activists for signing off on both of the Senate resolutions supporting Israel in the midst of its assault on Gaza in 2014—although these were passed by "unanimous consent," which means that Bernie didn't literally sign off. He just stayed away from the Senate during the vote and failed to object. Still, it was bad. He is, however, making up for it now. Sanders said in his debate with Hillary Clinton this week: "I do believe that Israel...has every right to destroy terrorism. But in Gaza there were 10,000 wounded civilians and 1,500 killed. Was that a disproportionate attack? The answer is, I believe, it was. As somebody who is 100% pro-Israel, in the long run, if we are ever going to bring peace...we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity."

Yeah, OK. Acknowledging that the Palestinians are human beings is pretty damn basic. And there was still the obligatory "100% pro-Israel" line. And the worse "every right to destroy terrorism" line, which obfuscates the roots of the conflict in the dispossession of the Palestinians. Nonetheless, for a US presidential candidate to say even this much (that is, one embraced by the party-media estabishment as "serious" enough to make the debate) is a metaphorical Rubicon in American politics—as various commentators have pointed out.

And this is compounded by his snub of the AIPAC conference last month—Bernie was the only candidate to stay away. Yeah, he came up with some excuse, but the decision was obviously political. How appropriate—and telling—that the only candidate to finally flip off the Israel Lobby is a Jew!

This is a tremendous victory on both moral and strategic levels. Israel's propagandists have long hid behind anti-Semitism to justify the monstrous crimes of Zionism—which is assuredly not good for the Jews! And contrary to Zionist assumptions, gathering the world's Jews in a tiny strip of land where the prior inhabitants are occupied and oppressed, with hostile nations on all sides, is the best recipe imaginable for yet another disaster to befall the Jewish people. But you know what gives me great hope for the security of the Jewish people in 2016? The fact that a schlubby-looking socialist with a Brooklyn Jewish accent is being taken seriously as a presidential candidate, that's what!

This is the way to fight anti-Semitism. If he takes New York in this week's primary in spite of his courage in bucking the Lobby, that will be a very encouraging sign. Stay tuned...


Bernie suspends Jewish staffer over Bibi diss

Simone Zimmerman was suspended as Jewish outreach coordinator by the Sanders campaign after a kerfuffle over her Facebook posts that dissed Bibi Netanyahu and Hillary Clinton in vulgar terms. The one concerning Clinton came after Bernie's win in the New Hampshire primary. She posted the heartening message: "The first Jew in history just won a primary, as a proud socialist calling for political revolution." The New York Times says she followed this line up with an epithet aimed at Clinton, but fails to quote it. We are similarly not given the offending words in her post about Bibi; we are only told she wrote that is "arrogant, deceptive, cynical" and "manipulative." Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League are calling for Zimmerman to be fired.

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