What Bernie Sanders’ Exchange With Antisemitic Questioner Teaches Us

Yesterday, the following footage from Saturday night of Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders fielding an antisemitic question made its way online.


I felt like I had a fair bit to say about this, but I see Daniel Greenfield of Frontpage Mag has already expressed much of it.

At a Bernie Sanders event in New York City, a black “community activist” began ranting about “Zionist Jews” running the Federal Reserve and Wall Street. At previous events, Sanders had been quick to condemn what he claimed was bigoted and Islamophobic rhetoric by Republicans. But when confronted with the real thing by a left-wing activist at one of his own events, he couldn’t do it.

There was no condemnation of anti-Semitism. Instead after an initial claim that he was proud to be Jewish, he switched to a rambling speech criticizing Israel and distancing himself from Zionism.

Bernie Sanders had suggested at the same event that President Clinton was racist for defending his crime fighting policies to Black Lives Matter protesters, but would not condemn anti-Semitism. Instead of defying left-wing hatred for Jews, he tried to suggest that he wasn’t one of the “bad Zionists”. He was one of the “good Jews” who had a balanced position on Israel and “Palestine”.

It was a sad and shameful display. And this was not the first time that Bernie saw bigotry and blinked.

When NPR’s Diane Rehm accused him of having dual citizenship in Israel, he stumbled through a reply, but never condemned the anti-Semitism inherent in the question. He backed Jesse Jackson despite the Hymietown slur. When asked about it, he did his best to avoid directly condemning anti-Semitism.

Bernie Sanders came out of a political movement rife with anti-Semitism. He encounters it in public on a regular basis. And he is too much of a coward to stand up to it.

I would just add the following: the exchange was not only instructive of Sanders’ views but also those of the haters.

Even after the storm over Sanders’ recent comments inflating the death toll in Gaza to 10,000 and characterizing Israel’s use of force as “indiscriminate,” the questioner zoomed in on Sanders’ Jewishness, while using the antisemitic trope about Jewish running the financial institutions.

It says it all really. No matter how hard a Jew will try to distance themselves from Israel, or sell their own people out, the haters will never be satisfied. Well, almost never. They’d likely be satisfied – at least in the short term – if all Jews disappeared from the face of the earth.

Because at the end of the day, it really isn’t about Israel.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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