Sanders is leftwing on economic issues, but sees Israel as up against ISIS

US Politics
on 75 Comments

Maybe you’re as excited as I am over the entry of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders into the presidential race. A socialist at heart, Sanders is actually going to push issues of income disparity and globalization into the US mainstream discourse, and in the wake of Baltimore will explain to Americans how our national community has been fractured, the middle class shattered, and the poor oppressed.

Sanders is also getting points for opposing the Iraq War, which Hillary Clinton supported, and he supports the Iran deal. But I’ve seen no one apart from Juan Cole, in this excellent summary of Sanders’s Middle East views, point out his yeoman defense of Israel during its assault on Gaza last summer. In July Sanders formed part of the “unanimous consent” to a resolution to support Israel in its attack, a resolution Salon’s David Palumbo-Liu said at the time “does more than confirm U.S. Senate support for Israel. It pushes that statement beyond any rational or ethical or moral framework imaginable.”

In a famous encounter at a town hall meeting in Vermont near the end of the onslaught– video below–, Sanders got so angry at pro-Palestinian constituents who were obviously deeply upset by an assault that had killed 500 Palestinian children that he told them to “shut up.”

What the encounter demonstrated is that Sanders’s own leftwing base has no illusions about Israel, they see the country as a marauding human rights abuser. But while he faulted Israeli “overreaction” in Gaza, and has issued criticisms of Israeli conduct over the years and has bucked the Israel lobby over its opposition to Palestinian statehood initiatives at the U.N., Sanders cleaves to a very conventional mainstream view of the conflict, in which Hamas is to blame, the Palestinians leadership is not a partner, and Arab countries are bad actors (as he has said in 2009).

And when pressed about Israel’s conduct at that meeting, he brings ISIS out of nowhere into the discussion, suggesting that Israel is a defense against 7th century religious fundamentalism. He also said that he’s been working on the Israel/Palestine conflict for 50 years.

Here are some excerpts of the exchange:

[Constituent] Are you going to go further… [and end] $30 billion going to Israel over the next ten years?

[Sanders:] You have a situation where Hamas is sending missiles into Israel… and you know where some of those missiles are coming from? They’re coming from populated areas… Hamas has very sophisticated tunnels into Israel for military purposes.

[Constituent:] Gazans have a right to resist.

[Sanders:] Excuse me, shut up! You don’t have the microphone.

[Constituent:] You’re going to arrest people?

[Constituent:] Occupied populations have the right to resist.

[Sanders:] You have a right to your view… Hamas is very clear: their view is that Israel should not have a right to exist.

[Constituent:] Bullshit! .. Fuck Israel!

[Sanders:] Furthermore, the issue of Gaza is not the only issue right now in that region As some of you may have noticed… There’s a group called ISIS. Do you know what ISIS is?

[Constituent, sarcastic:] Yeah!

[Sanders:] Excuse me ISIS is a group receiving money from aorund the world that wants to convert parts of Iraq and Syria into a 7th century calipate. You know what women’s rights are in that area? They are below– [tumult] Nobody wants to listen, they can leave… So you have a situation right now where we are figuring out in that region how you deal with people who have tens of thousands of very armed and aggressive people who may be making significant gains in that area. The point you make, I agree, I share your concerns about Israeli overreaction… I believe in a two-state solution. I would hope that the U.S. in a very very difficult situation, where the leadership on both sides is not particularly good, can finally work out a situation where Israel has a right to exist in security, and at the same time the Palestinians have a state of their own.

[Constituent:] It’s not going to happen.

[Sanders:] I have been working on it for the last 50 years. I’m sorry, I don’t have the magic answer. This is a very depressing and difficult issue. This has gone on for 60 bloody years, year after year… If you’re asking me if I have the magical solution, I don’t, and you know what, I doubt very much that you do!

When Sanders did not oppose that pro-Israel legislation during the Israeli assault, Counter Punch’s James Marc Leas asked: “Why did Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy allow their names to be used for pro-war propaganda so at variance with the facts?”

I think the answer is generational: Sanders is an old Jewish guy for whom the establishment of Israel was a glorious response to the helplessness of the European Jewish story. Notice that Israel played an important role in his political progress and in his moving from the city to Vermont as a young man. New York Times, 2007:

He spent time on a kibbutz in Israel after graduation and then moved to Vermont with his first wife. “I had always been captivated by rural life,” he says.

Sanders graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964– 50 years ago, when he was 23. So working on a kibbutz was part of his fifty years of work on the conflict, in his view. I am betting he was shaped by the ideals of Labor Zionism.

 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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75 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    May 1, 2015, 11:52 am

    His PEP is what keeps me from getting too excited about him. I know that some on the left will say, “okay, he’s not what we would want on Palestine, but he’s a good guy on other issues.” I don’t deny that but if he can exempt Palestinians from his view of humanity who else is on that list? Who else would he be able to PUT on that list?

    You either believe in justice for all or you don’t.

    • just
      May 1, 2015, 8:53 pm

      +1 !

    • RockyMissouri
      May 2, 2015, 9:03 am

      TRUTH!

    • Giles
      May 2, 2015, 9:32 am

      Exactly.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2015, 10:44 am

        Ditto here

    • joemowrey
      May 3, 2015, 11:55 am

      He is also very purchasable on defense spending. Note his support of the F-35 fighter jet and his tireless efforts to have it based in Burlington. His excuse is something along the lines of “Well, it’s going to be approved anyway, so I might as well get some jobs for my constituents out of it.”

      Also note his vote to approve huge cuts in the Food Stamp program. Again, he had some sort of “Oh I had to compromise for expediency” type excuse.

      Look closely at his voting record and you will see he rarely if ever votes outside the Democratic Party line unless it’s a “safe” vote, one he knows won’t cause a bill to actually be passed.

      His claims to be a Socialist are dubious at best, in my opinion. He’s been feeding at the public trough for decades now and really hasn’t accomplished much beyond making a lot of noise when it’s safe to do so.

    • Pippilin
      May 8, 2015, 6:44 pm

      Absolutely.

  2. Laurent Weppe
    May 1, 2015, 12:14 pm

    He spent time on a kibbutz in Israel after graduation and then moved to Vermont with his first wife. “I had always been captivated by rural life,” he says.

    Perhaps someone should inform him that the kibbutzim Israel which captivated him is dead and buried, its very tomb sold to Chinese speculators

    • echinococcus
      May 1, 2015, 12:40 pm

      Immaterial. The kibbutzes are not any different, in principle and in substance, from settlements and “labor” Zionists from outspoken genocidal Zionists. Mr. Weiss would excuse him and bring him to reign over us with the excuse that he’s an old Jewish guy. Preposterous. I’m an old Jewish guy and nobody gives me a pass when I make mistakes that may cost other people’s lives.

      • W.Jones
        May 1, 2015, 2:54 pm

        Mostly you could get that kind of pass in the US based on income levels and systemic prejudices. For example, whether you can hire folks like PEP Dershowitz or not.

        There was a writer on this site maybe a month ago who wrote a glowing article on Adelson and talked in the comments section about his generally well endowed liberal pro-Israeli demographic makes, say, 60% of Democratic party donations. Probably he and Adelson are the kind of folks more likely to get free passes, but they would not admit or maybe even realize that. Lots of unrecognized free passes out there.

      • Interested Bystander
        May 2, 2015, 5:39 pm

        @WJones. That would have been me. I’m glad you are still thinking of the post on Adelson. I consider that success. The Sanders example illustrates the point I was trying to make nicely. The “Adelson is not the Problem” article proposed that it’s not helpful to blame Adelson and think it explains the support Israel gets on Capitol Hill. I don’t think Sanders’ Israel position has anything to do with Adelson money.

        [I’m not following your “free pass” comment]

      • echinococcus
        May 3, 2015, 3:54 am

        Jones, I don’t get it either; where I was mentioning a pass that was about the preposterous pretext for excusing a vote for Sanders and his Zionism: that he’s an old Jewish guy. At that rate it would just as well justify voting for any of the bastards on offer, why only Sanders?

    • Schecky
      June 11, 2015, 3:57 am

      I don’t know where people come up with these myths and fantasies but Kibbutzim is alive and well in Israel.

      • James North
        June 11, 2015, 9:12 am

        The growing campaign for BDS is forcing Hasbara Central to send untrained recruits straight into action.

  3. HarryLaw
    May 1, 2015, 12:37 pm

    Ex Ambassador Michael Oran prefers Al Qaeda to any combination of Iran Syria and Hezbollah, he told the Jerusalem Post recently. “Even Assad’s defeat by al Qaeda-aligned rebels would be preferable to Damascus’s current alliance with Israel’s arch-foe Iran”, Ambassador Michael Oren said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/17/us-syria-crisis-israel-idUSBRE98G0DR20130917 That is why the Israeli government treat injured Islamist fighters in the Golan Heights and Netenyahu and his Defence Minister pay visits to those fighters.https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/zionist-prime-minister-benyamin-netanyahu-take-care-of-injured-wahhabi-terrorists/

    • RockyMissouri
      May 2, 2015, 9:02 am

      Disgusting.

    • Interested Bystander
      May 2, 2015, 6:01 pm

      Yesterday I listened to Avi Melamed [Pro-Israel think tank analyst on the Arab world; previously advisor to Teddy Kollek (mayor of Jerusalem) during the First Intifada and to Ehud Barak] He echoes Oren’s sentiment. They seem to feel that if Assad survives, Iran’s influence in the region will be greatly enhanced. Conversely if Assad is out, Iran will not only have lost its “pillar” in the region, but they may well provide less support to Hezbollah in future.

      Melamed suggested that the presence of Al Qaeda groups and ISIS provide an opportunity for Israel to align with Saudi Arabia. The Saudi’s are afraid of radical Islamic movements on their doorstep–since one of Osama Bin Laden’s well stated long term goals was to topple the Saudi Monarchy. Look for Israel to help prop up the Saudi regime going forward. It’s what makes the Saudi actions in Yemen incomprehensible to me, because chaos in Yemen is strengthening AQAP which is bound to provide blow back for Saudi Arabia.

  4. Steve Grover
    May 1, 2015, 12:40 pm

    Why the fuck is so hard to find a presidential candidate who hates Israel enuf?

    • echinococcus
      May 1, 2015, 3:13 pm

      Money, i.e. corruption. Duh.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2015, 10:55 am

        If you want to change it, there are petitions galore you can sign, and donate to, and phone congress as to, to reverse SCOTUS affirmation of dark money political PACS, and the notion fictional legal entities like corporations have constitutionally protected “free speech” in the form of cash donations. What’s Sanders stance on audit of the The Fed, real change to our campaign finance system–does he support public financing of same? Resurrection of the Glass-Steagell Act’s chinese wall between commercial deposit banks and investment banks? CEO compensation cap, change in the way corporations are rated for investment purposes, which is by raters paid for by the corporations? I believe he favors ending the cap on taxation for social security….he does seem very progressive–but nobody brings up his record and statements on I-P conflict, which is why, inter alia, we need MW.

      • echinococcus
        May 3, 2015, 3:36 am

        With enough petitions all you can achieve is a first-class hole in the water.

    • worldwidepeace
      May 2, 2015, 11:34 am

      I don’t know about hating Israel…..but the ONLY presidential candidate in the last election that truly believes in human rights and has a caring soul is Rocky Anderson. Here is his stance on Israel, and it’s certainly more than you will get from any other candidate. I am hoping he runs again in 2016.

      http://rockyanderson.org/?page_id=8952

      • dmm
        May 3, 2015, 12:54 am

        A sure-fire winner … just like worldwide peace ;-)

      • Mdtrudeau
        May 3, 2015, 11:27 am

        Rocky Anderson is one man, not a party. The Green Party is the only nationwide party that calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions explicitly in its platform and also explicitly recognizes in its platform that one democratic state is the emerging reality.

  5. W.Jones
    May 1, 2015, 2:56 pm

    “I think the answer is generational: Sanders is an old”…
    Correction, you hope the answer is generational. What politician from a young generation could run for president and openly go against Israeli abuses?

  6. W.Jones
    May 1, 2015, 2:58 pm

    In that video, Sander’s face is red, his voice is halting and tense. He is not a happy camper hearing liberal objections to Israeli abuses and has difficulty handling it.

    • a blah chick
      May 1, 2015, 9:16 pm

      He’s definitely not comfortable with his critics in the audience. He better realize quick that if he runs for the nomination it will only get worse.

      • Citizen
        May 2, 2015, 10:56 am

        I hope so; he has declared he’s running.

    • Citizen
      May 2, 2015, 10:58 am

      With a lot less hair & wit.

  7. MRW
    May 1, 2015, 7:57 pm

    Re: “7th century religious fundamentalism, and “You know what women’s rights are in that area?”

    As if the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish life in the 7th C were beacons of religious and secular freedom when the entirety of Europe, except for Spain, was plunged into The Dark Ages. Statements like this, which I’m reading all over the web, are designed to cast Islam as some backward religion devoid of humanity from the beginning, when nothing could be further from the truth. Reading some real history can help (link).

    Women’s rights? Historically, Islam is the only religion that has them–written right into the text of the Koran, not the Bible or Torah however–and that started 1200 years before it dawned on the western world to conceive and grant them.

    • just
      May 1, 2015, 8:57 pm

      Thank you, MRW!

    • dmm
      May 3, 2015, 12:57 am

      You’re full of it MRW, the Torah and Talmud have extensive readings regarding women’s rights. How do you dare try to pass off this ignorant blather in an age where people can simply go straight to WP or Google???

      • Mooser
        May 4, 2015, 11:21 am

        “You’re full of it MRW, the Torah and Talmud have extensive readings regarding women’s rights.”

        “And yea, verily, those women among you who are disabled, they shall be made to sit in their own menstrual fluid, and their tampons taken from them”

        “And the Lord sayeth that women who are the daughters of Shem, or Japhet (I forget which) shall be given birth-control without their knowledge. Thus saith the Lord your God!”

        “dmm” will now, in an amazing demonstration of Scripture Knowledge, identify the Torah or Talmud verses I’ve cited.

      • eljay
        May 4, 2015, 12:40 pm

        || MRW: Women’s rights? Historically, Islam is the only religion that has them–written right into the text of the Koran, not the Bible or Torah … ||
        || dmm: You’re full of it MRW, the Torah and Talmud have extensive readings regarding women’s rights. … ||

        With careful cherry-picking and/or interpretation, one can argue that the Torah, Talmud, Bible and Qur’an – texts created by men for men – are not filled with misogynistic garbage.

        One can similarly argue that Playboy is an educational periodical full of thought-provoking articles. ;-)

      • Mooser
        May 6, 2015, 11:47 pm

        “One can similarly argue that Playboy is an educational periodical full of thought-provoking articles. ;-)”

        Not me. I don’t look at that kind of crap! I only subscribe to Playboy for the pictures!

      • Mooser
        May 7, 2015, 12:39 am

        “You’re full of it MRW, the Torah and Talmud have extensive readings regarding women’s rights.”

        Yes, there’s no denying that. The Talmud and Torah have extensive readings “regarding” women’s rights. Are they for ’em, or against ’em?

  8. ckg
    May 1, 2015, 11:47 pm

    Excuse me, shut up! You don’t have the microphone.

    Microphone? He is channeling Reagan, who would certainly agree with him on bombing Gaza. But this is a graceless, grumpy Reagan.

    • Landie_C
      May 2, 2015, 3:04 pm

      I do relish the fact that he outraised Republican contenders for the presidency on his very first day.

      But “Excuse me, shut up!” is one reason among many why he’s not ready for prime time.

      I did like this, however:

      “I have been working on it for the last 50 years. I’m sorry, I don’t have the magic answer. This is a very depressing and difficult issue. This has gone on for 60 bloody years, year after year… If you’re asking me if I have the magical solution, I don’t, and you know what, I doubt very much that you do! “

      • echinococcus
        May 3, 2015, 4:03 am

        What was so likable in that tired bullshit? Oh my, so difficult and complicated: on your left, the invadee; on your right, the invader. 600 years aren’t enough to understand what’s the right thing, eh?

      • Landie_C
        May 3, 2015, 9:52 pm

        I like humility, especially when confronting intractable problems.

  9. unverified__5ilf90kd
    May 2, 2015, 2:48 am

    The PEP test is very significant. So many Jews demonstrate this anomaly. It is hard to overcome what your mother teaches you in the cradle. Sanders is a dinosaur in his attitude towards Palestine. It is hard to take him seriously. Even the most progressive Jews like Beinart and Max Blumenthal have the same issue. I read that Max thinks that Gilad Atzmon is an antisemite. Even John Mearsheimer wrote a positive review of Gilad’s latest book. I too thought the book was totally reasonable in its critique of Jews and Israel. Calling this book anti-Semitic is part of the problem. But Max also thinks he is an anti-semite ? Beinart is for BDS in the territories but not in Israel. I guess that this gives him credibility as someone who loves Israel. But we all know that only total BDS will bring Israel to reality.

    • Citizen
      May 2, 2015, 11:12 am

      All holy writ, and the historical culture that arose pointing to each of them, at least in the three religions of Abraham, is chock full of both altruistic and chauvinistic text; this allows proponents of competing ethical/moral principles to apply to “your neighbor” or the “Other” cherry picked supportive threads in them. Gilad may be the first to point this out with clarity in the context of Jewish identity training. All three religions, over history, make some reasonable people question if religion is a net benefit or net loss for humanity. Rand Paul talking to the USA’s Orthodox Jewish heavy supporters of Israel–he picked out as a value, “tradition.” I’d say he did that as he knew how precious was the Jewish Hollywood milkman was, rather than having any keen understanding of Jewish notions of tradition he learned on the internet. He did know his father’s stance on rubber-stamping Israel–so did Bush Jr know his father’s–lessons in who has real power in USA.

    • Landie_C
      May 2, 2015, 6:14 pm

      What does that mean, “bring Israel to reality”? Can you be more specific about the likely outcome of total BDS in your view — for example, peaceful but rapid emigration by most Jewish Israelis; civil war; or something else?

      Another question. Does Atzmon associate “Jewishness” with all things unsavory? I haven’t read any of his books and would appreciate your input on this. I’d also be curious as to who you’d describe as antisemitic – and why.

      • Mooser
        May 7, 2015, 12:03 am

        Landie_C if you are at all interested in Atzmon, he has many videos on the You-tube, playing with quartets, trios, or Middle-eastern instrumentalists, He even has an organ trio!

        “Another question. Does Atzmon associate “Jewishness” with all things unsavory?”

        Atzmon was brought up in Israel. Got a lot of his education there, if I’m not mistaken Even spent some time in the IDF at one point. I’m sure he knows what he is talking about.
        But since Zionism associates “Jewishness” and Judaism “with all things unsavory” why wouldn’t Atzmon? If you were brought up in Israel, educated, and served some IDF time, what “savory” things would you associate Jewishness and Judaism with?

      • Mooser
        May 7, 2015, 12:29 am

        Okay, I was shocked by the way Atzmon talked and wrote when I first heard him. But it occurred to me: If I had been brought up in Israel, had been educated there and even served time in the IDF, I wonder what I would talk like? Probably far worse then Atzmon would ever be. Down-right anti-Semantic. I’d probably be on the secular-offender list, too.
        Having been insulated from what Israel is like, since I was raised in the US, I was shocked when I first heard, read, Atzmon. But he wouldn’t have the luxury of my illusions and my pearl-clutching. He lived there and knows what it is like.

    • ckg
      May 3, 2015, 10:14 am

      Regardless of his views of Atzmon, Max is not PEP.

    • Schecky
      June 11, 2015, 2:35 am

      What a ridiculous statement. ” But we all know that only total BDS will bring Israel to reality”. Who’s we? Not me and you don’t speak for me. What kind of reality are you referring to? The kind you make up?
      The real money in Israel is tied up in technology and nobody can live without that. Boycotting food from Israel is laughable. If you want to boycott Israeli products better throw your cell phone away and stay off the internet.
      BDS stands for Bullshitters Detainees and Slaves.
      There are so many things from Israel one would have to boycott. It would be a lot easier just to commit suicide then to boycott so many beneficial Israeli inventions. Just make sure that the gun, knife, rope or poison wasn’t made in Israel.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 11, 2015, 3:11 am

        It would be a lot easier just to commit suicide then to boycott so many beneficial Israeli inventions

        oh my. we’ve got a live one here.

        Just make sure that the gun, knife, rope or poison wasn’t made in Israel.

        uh huh.

      • talknic
        June 11, 2015, 4:36 am

        @ Schecky June 11, 2015, 2:35 am

        “Boycotting food from Israel is laughable.”

        Is that why there’s such an outcry against the boycotts on illegally exploited West Bank resources from the illegal Israeli settlements

        ” If you want to boycott Israeli products better throw your cell phone away and stay off the internet”

        Throwing something away that someone already owns is not boycotting you stupid person. Even if it was/is from Israel it’s better to keep it and use to to spread the boycott message.

        There are plenty of phones and computers not made in Israel and the internet can work without Israel. In fact it’s designed to work if one or more nodes are knocked out

        “There are so many things from Israel one would have to boycott.”

        Start listing them …. I’ll wait

      • talknic
        June 11, 2015, 6:19 am

        The more one reads Ziopoop the more idiocy one sees

        @ Schecky “Who’s we? “

        Myself and any other person who is aware of the effects of the boycott of Sth Africa constitutes a “we”

        “Not me and you don’t speak for me. “

        How true, we‘d rather watch you make a fool of yourself, no help needed from us!

        “What kind of reality are you referring to? The kind you make up?”

        Without you there can still be a ‘we’ pal. Unlike yourself there’s no need for us to fabricate anything.

        “The real money in Israel is tied up in technology “

        No it isn’t. It’s tied up in 67 years of creating and maintaining illegal facts on the ground in territories the Israel Government on the 22nd May 1948 claimed were “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine”

        So many illegal facts on the ground Israel cannot now possibly afford to adhere to the laws it first broke by having forces in non-Israeli territories at the moment Israel’s borders were proclaimed as within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947 and by dispossessing some “.. refugees from Israel- controlled territory” , all of whom are due compensation or repatriation. Added to which there’s billions in compensation due for 67 years of illegally exploited resources from non-Israeli territories and the astronomical costs involved in attempting to resettle millions of really pissed off and disillusioned Israelis back into Israeli territory

        ” It would be a lot easier just to commit suicide then to boycott so many beneficial Israeli inventions”

        Strange, humanity and Judaism existed without the Zionist Federation’s Colonization of Palestine.

      • Kay24
        June 11, 2015, 7:03 am

        Wow what arrogance. Again we see apologists so full of themselves and delusional that the world cannot function without Israel. The bottom line is, without US support, aid and covering Israel’s large behind, Israel will not be existing today. Every time there is a hint of a possibility that the aid may stop, thousands of minions are deployed to lobby congress and beg for the aid to not cease.

      • eljay
        June 11, 2015, 7:33 am

        || Schecky: What a ridiculous statement. ” But we all know that only total BDS will bring Israel to reality”. ||

        I agree. Military intervention could also bring Israel to reality.

        || Boycotting food from Israel is laughable. If you want to boycott Israeli products better throw your cell phone away and stay off the internet. ||

        Boycotting food is no less laughable than throwing away cellphones and staying off the Internet. Actually, it’s considerably less laughable.

        || BDS stands for Bullshitters Detainees and Slaves. ||

        C’mon, you’re making that up.

        || There are so many things from Israel one would have to boycott. ||

        One doesn’t have to boycott every single thing produced by Israel. That’s laughable.

        || It would be a lot easier just to commit suicide then to boycott so many beneficial Israeli inventions. ||

        Suicide won’t change Israel’s evil ways. Boycott might. And that’s what worries Zio-supremacists like you.

      • diasp0ra
        June 11, 2015, 8:05 am

        Oh Schecky, pride comes before a fall.

        You can scream about how ineffective BDS is until you’re blue in the face, but the very fact that the responsibility of dealing with BDS was transferred to the Ministry of Strategic Affairs..the same ministry that is tackling Israel’s “existential” threats, such as Iran, says it all really.

        Enjoy your time in denial land while it lasts :)

  10. piotr
    May 2, 2015, 6:06 am

    I have somewhat mixed feeling. The “constituent” who irritated Sanders was heckling very loudly in a smallish hall, so Sanders had legitimate reasons to get flustered and irritated. However, that happened after one minute of rather inane bullshitting when Sanders enter full demonizing mode, talking about “sophisticated military tunnels”. So Israel HAS TO KILL HUNDREDS OF CIVILIANS with 21st century weapons because it was faced with slightly improved Stone Age technology. Number one, it makes no sense. Number two, it revealed the content of his kishkes: barely digested IDF hasbara. Apparently, some people cannot bear the stench.

    And this genuinely raises the question: can you be progressive except on Palestine? USA is ruled by lobbies, and is The Lobby different from all those other lobbies, be them drug companies that loot billions from the sick people (and the healthy ones who are in the same insurance pool or paying taxes), or police unions, or energy companies who want to poison minds to be free to poison the planet? In a way, yes. It used to be that a young girl in a brothel would be initiated to the trade by a “special client”. The Lobby serves the role of that client. The habit of unthinkingly absorbing talking points prepared by lobbyists and propagandists becomes overwhelming and governing for the benefit of the majority becomes impossible.

    • Citizen
      May 7, 2015, 10:03 pm

      “is The Lobby different from all those other lobbies?”

      Yes. The US has never had such an enmeshed “special relationship” with any other foreign state. At least the Gun Lobby and AARP only impact internal affairs in the US–and criticism of those lobbies is fierce by opposing special interests, again representing only Americans.

      “It used to be that a young girl in a brothel would be initiated to the trade by a “special client”. The Lobby serves the role of that client . The Israel Lobby as pimp for the John, Israel, who’s set on rape of the young girl, America. Damn, Streicher
      and Nazi books for school kids painted this sort of picture. Streicher got hung at Nuremberg for doing so. Or did I miss the point of your analogy?

  11. Boo
    May 2, 2015, 10:29 am

    Sanders’ “Shut up!” demonstrates clearly why the traditional “left-right” spectrum used to categorize American politicians makes for a truly useless metric when it comes to their positions on Israel.

  12. eusebio
    May 2, 2015, 10:48 am

    We live in Global society which is not resolved we deal with the consequences at the end

  13. Rusty Pipes
    May 2, 2015, 6:15 pm

    As an young Jewish American man in the early 60’s, Sanders spent some time in an Israeli Kibbutz. It’s possible that his impression of his time in Israel was shaded by his youthful idealism as well as Labor Zionist Hasbara. It’s possible that, while he has become more critical than most American politicians of neocon/neolib foreign policies, he hasn’t spent much time evaluating his views about the realities of Zionism since his youth.

    If he has not yet been encouraged to take an alternative tour of the Holy Land, a few of his former colleagues, like Dennis Kucinich or Brian Baird, might advise him. Also, if Sanders is looking to represent not just the people of Vermont, but the US, he might get some input from a wider variety of constituents (especially younger people and people of color) who might support his stance on domestic issues but disagree about his stance on Israel.

  14. PilgrimSoul
    May 3, 2015, 12:18 am

    I was in the organized Left in the old Democratic Socialists Organizing Committee as a trade unionist in the 1960s and 1970s, and just a couple of years ago rejoined the Democratic Socialists of America. (In other words, Sanders and I belong to the same organization.) Yes, I know Sanders helped to organize the Progressive Caucus in Congress. But I won’t work for Sanders, and I won’t contribute a goddamn penny to his campaign. It’s always been the same old story, going on almost fifty years now–we have to agree not to talk about Palestinians, and the cultural influence of Zionism and ‘the Lobby’ in the Democratic Party, because of the donors, and because “one has to make compromises.”

    Yes, indeed you do have to make compromises, and my compromise is that I won’t do a damn thing for Sanders, because he won’t do a damn thing in the most important struggle of our time. The struggle against the constant efforts of a right-wing Israeli state to drag the US into war, the daily fight for Palestinian human rights, and most of all, the struggle for an American foreign policy free of the bribes and corruption of AIPAC dollars–those are THE big moral and political issues of our time.

    Sanders’ time is past. And if social democracy can’t assert itself on behalf of Palestinians, and against Israeli manipulation, maybe its time is past too.

  15. Mdtrudeau
    May 3, 2015, 1:58 am

    Philip Weiss, is your first paragraph ironic? Seriously, are you being ironic when you say you’re excited about Bernie Sanders running? He is running as a Democrat, you know? How can you be excited about Bernie Sanders, since your #1 issue, we can assume, is Palestinian rights and since Sanders is wrong on that issue?

    Support for Sanders now is support for the neoliberal, corporate-capitalist Democratic Party as a whole. Sanders is a dead end and a direct route to Hillary Clinton. I do not understand how people concerned with justice for Palestine can concern themselves with the warmongering Democrats, especially not when the Green Party is the only nationwide party that calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions in its platform and also recognizes, in its platform, the emerging reality of one-state solution.

    The history of the American left is that of its absorption into the Democratic Party and in turn its self-cancellation. Bernie Sanders is now a footnote in that long history. We need political institutions of, by, and for working people, rather than of and by working people but FOR the elite, corporate parties. Sanders is the progressive carrot that keeps progressives and now even some socialists from rising up and creating alternative political institutions.

    And he will immediately endorse Clinton upon losing to her.

  16. piotr
    May 3, 2015, 5:57 pm

    I checked 12 points of Sander’s program. Not too bad, but I would add some points (perhaps removing some redundant ones).

    Nothing about the military, and only implicit promise on foreign policy. The implicit promise is to break trade treaties. But I would add reducing imperialist posture and commitments and make a huge reduction in military spending, perhaps associated with some wider demilitarization. For example, as we insist on antiballistic missile programs and improving missiles, raising fears of “first strike capability” we are getting a renewed nuclear arms race. Annual savings 100-200 billion, and fewer victims of inane policies. (Support for Israel, KSA and terrorist movements would be under “reducing imperialist posture”.)

    In reversing global warming, I would advocate substantial carbon tax and international cooperation on that basis. Another 100-200 billion dollars in the budget.

    • echinococcus
      May 3, 2015, 7:15 pm

      The devil wil be buying central heating for Hell before Sanders (or any Democrat, or any Republican) will reduce support to Zionism. Period.
      Besides, none of the other points are supposed to be common to us all on this web site. Just Palestine solidarity and incidentally US war spending. Our only interest is curbing Zionist influence. So let’s concentrate on that and avoid all other generators of discord.
      (Besides, if you haven’t got your lesson about “implicit promises” until now, youd be hopeless, but I don’t believe it.)

      • piotr
        May 16, 2015, 8:56 pm

        I am guilty of being eclectic. Like I would like to have more rational domestic policy, and less mayhem abroad. Obama delivered semi-rational health care reform (an improvement of sorts) and less enthusiastic support of the mayhem abroad, but what have we got on his watch? Palestinians suffer more or less a before, ISIS goes strong, additional mayhem in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and Libya where USA is unhelpful AT BEST, and malignant to some degree. Negotiations with Iran are conducted in such a way that I have no idea if Obama wants to fail or succeed.

        On the level of Mondoweiss, ignoring other issues is consistent with the mission, but when we look at the progressive Sanders, and he is “quite progressive”, total silence on foreign policy is quite deafening. Apparently, even in the framework of hopeless Presidential run where the only thing he can do is to articulate issues he does not feel that any of those issues should be articulated. Either he does not see anything overly wrong there, or he indeed would rather avoid the entire block of issues as “generators of discord”.

  17. just
    May 3, 2015, 9:15 pm

    @ Pam Geller’s festival:

    “Two gunmen opened fire Sunday evening outside an anti-Islam event at Garland ISD’s Curtis Culwell Center, police said.

    The two men pulled up in a vehicle and shot a Garland ISD officer. The men were fatally shot by Garland police, and their bodies remain on the street outside the events center.

    The security officer’s wounds were not believed to be life-threatening, but he had been hospitalized.

    No one was being allowed to leave the facility, where an art show centering on caricatures of Muhammed was being held. Nearby businesses, including a Walmart and Sam’s Club, were evacuated. …”

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20150503-two-gunmen-open-fire-outside-anti-islam-event-at-garland-isd-facility-police-say.ece

    Geert Wilders was the keynote speaker of Pam’s AFDI festival.

    • Kay24
      May 4, 2015, 10:44 am

      Wilders the Islamaphobe was invited to this country by non other than that faithful Israeli servant in Congress Tom Cotton. Cotton has obviously endorsed the hatred for Muslims by Wilders by that invitation.

      As for Wilders, he screams about Muslims wanting to shut down free speech, YET he is pushing for the Quran to be banned in the Netherlands. Is that free speech or what?

      As for savage woman Geller (the hate yeller) she should not have been even interviewed by CNN, and not allowed to show her racist face in public.

  18. Pippilin
    May 8, 2015, 6:35 pm

    I’ve always promised myself that I would never be a one-issue, pro- OR con-, voter, recognizing that no one candidate would ever match my beliefs 100%. But now I have a major conscience problem: as much as Bernie’s democratic-socialism and his concern for us lowly 98-percenters appeal to me, his stance on Israel/Palestine is so outside my ethics and human rights concerns that I may well become a one-issue voter this time around.

    He is also, I believe, a dual American/Israeli citizen which indicates that his attachment to Israel is serious. Dropping his Israeli citizenship might make him eligible for the US Presidency, but it won’t change his thoughts or actions.

    I am a 74 year old, non-religious person who supported Israel completely until 1982 when Ariel Sharon executed his horrendous massacre in Lebanon; that’s when seeds of doubt about Israel were sown in my mind, but I didn’t pay much attention to them, nor did I forget them, either, I guess.
    In 2009 I began reading about the I/P conflict and followed that up with a trip to Gaza in May-June 2009. I wanted to find out what was actually happening: was Israel still good, were the Palestinians still all terrorists? I will just say that after less than 2 days in Gaza, I became completely pro-Palestinian.

    I wonder if Bernie or Pamela Geller have ever visited the West Bank and/or Gaza guided by locals. I think that such a visit should be required by every candidate for elected positions in the US.

    • just
      May 8, 2015, 7:36 pm

      Thanks for sharing that, Pippilin. I wonder if any Congressperson has visited.

      “I wonder if Bernie or Pamela Geller have ever visited the West Bank and/or Gaza guided by locals. I think that such a visit should be required by every candidate for elected positions in the US.”

      Agreed. They should be made to visit Gaza/OPT. I know Ned Lamont did, even though he did not win.

      “And I’d point out, remember Ned Lamont who took on Senator Joe Lieberman in Connecticut and almost won in 2006? He went over to Gaza not long ago to help the people out, with Mercy Corps. No wonder he didn’t make it into the Senate.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/continuance-another-million#sthash.IhdbE3V3.dpuf

      I don’t recall anyone else going to Gaza.

      I know Jimmy Carter has visited the WB. President Obama has been to Ramallah. Hillary Clinton’s been to the WB. etc. Nobody seems to get elected without visiting and paying homage to Israel, though. Can’t they get through the checkpoints and the illegal wall to see how life is under military and violent Israeli Occupation. Heck, they fund it!

      • just
        May 8, 2015, 8:00 pm

        Found this from 2009:

        “JERUSALEM — Two U.S. lawmakers traveled to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip today, the first congressional delegation to enter the area since the Islamic militant group took power nearly two years ago.

        Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Brian Baird of Washington were in Gaza early today, the U.S. consulate said.

        Consulate spokeswoman Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm said the lawmakers would meet with U.N. officials. There were no plans for them to meet with Hamas, which the U.S. shuns as a terrorist group.”…

        http://www.twincities.com/ci_11740178

        and again in 2010:

        “A US congressman on Saturday began a visit to rights groups and students in the Gaza Strip.

        Keith Ellison met earlier with Israeli security officials and Palestinian officials in the West Bank.

        A US Consulate spokesman in Jerusalem, Frank Finver, said the Minneapolis Democrat’s Gaza visit would last a day.”…

        http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/US-Congressman-Ellison-visits-Gaza-human-rights-groups

        (sorry for my slightly disjointed comment above)

      • Schecky
        June 11, 2015, 3:54 am

        Gaza is governed by an American hating terrorist government. Maybe that’s why thinking Americans won’t go there. Funny but the Gazians are allowed in Israel They are allowed to have jobs and go to school. They are not allowed to hold jobs or go to school in Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Israeli’s are not allowed in Gaza, so much for equal rights. So Pippilin, it only took 2 days for you to be brainwashed. Gaza is not occupied and that’s why you didn’t see any IDF there. Sanders does not hold an Israeli passport or is a duel citizen.

    • Citizen
      May 10, 2015, 8:05 am

      “I wonder if Bernie or Pamela Geller have ever visited the West Bank and/or Gaza guided by locals. I think that such a visit should be required by every candidate for elected positions in the US.”

      Instead, said candidates go to Israel to be given Israel’s guided tour, sometimes many of them over the years–I think Huckabee’s been on such tours at least a half a dozen times, and each time his tour guides carefully steer him away from the West Bank and Gaza. He’s never shown the slightest inclination to deviate from Israel’s tour. He likes to walk in the steps of Jesus, yet has no contact with any Christian Palestinians to my knowledge.

    • Mdtrudeau
      May 10, 2015, 11:54 am

      “I’ve always promised myself that I would never be a one-issue, pro- OR con-, voter, recognizing that no one candidate would ever match my beliefs 100%. But now I have a major conscience problem: as much as Bernie’s democratic-socialism and his concern for us lowly 98-percenters appeal to me, his stance on Israel/Palestine is so . . .”

      The biggest problem with Sanders is that he claims he is a socialist but has joined the corporate-capitalist, neoliberal Democratic Party. He will be the carrot that lures progressives and now even some socialists into the Democratic Party rather than allow them to rise up and build their own left-wing, independent political institutions—which is what is needed in the United States.

      • Citizen
        May 11, 2015, 11:16 am

        @ Mdtrudeau

        Hard not to be a one issue voter; when is not a billionaire, or even a millionaire, how else to counter, if feebly, the giant influence of the big Israel First agenda of wealthy Zionists donors like Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, George Soros and that Billionaire Zionist backing Cruz, not to mention Koch Bros, who’s agenda is seamless for practical purposes, although Koch Bros are not ideological, just pure greed?

      • Mdtrudeau
        May 11, 2015, 12:32 pm

        I do not support Sanders, since he has joined the Democrats. I would support Sanders had he run independent of the Democrats and with nominations from existing left-wing third parties. That is my single issue. All other issues stem from that issue, including Israel-Palestine.

        Why? Because there will be no breaking of the corporate stranglehold without the emergence of such left-wing third parties: the Greens, Socialist Alternative, and a few others. Everything else is a waste of time and money electorally. Attempting to reform the Democrats, one of the most powerful organizations in the world, into a slightly liberal party—let alone into a socialist party—is a waste of time and resources. Sanders is indeed wasting the time and resources of the left so that they invest in the neoliberal Democrats and to not build their own political institutions independent of the Democratic machine.

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