This is nuts. Wikileaks has published a hack of 20,000 emails from Democratic National Committee staffers that show the party leadership worked against the anti-establishment candidate, Bernie Sanders, including the notion by a DNC executive to challenge Sanders’s religious belief on the grounds he’s an “atheist.”
Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage.
Just as bad, party chair says Debbie Wasserman Schultz says of Sanders’s effort to water down the party platform’s commitment to Israel to maybe include reference to the “occupation,” now in its 50th year:
“The Israel stuff is disturbing.”
While the party communications director observes that the Hillary Clinton campaign regards the Israel issue as an “ideal” one to “marginalize” Sanders.
Donald Trump has seized on the emails to try and recruit Sanders voters, calling the emails vicious evidence that the system is rigged, and noting the attack on Sanders’s faith.
Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2016
CNN reports that the emails, obtained from the accounts of seven Democratic National Committee staffers, threaten to upend the modus-vivendi between Clinton and Sanders forces ahead of the coming Democratic convention.
The revelation threatened to shatter the uneasy peace between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders camps and supporters days before the Democratic convention kicks off next week.
Here’s the atheism email, on May 5, from “Marshall” at the DNC– identified as Brad Marshall, the chief financial officer of the organization, and titled, “No shit.”
It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.
The Israel lobby stuff came up later in May in the context of a Washington Post story about the Sanders push to change the Democratic party platform. Wasserman Schultz commented to staff on the story: “The Israel stuff is disturbing.”
While communications director Luis Miranda told Wasserman Schultz that the Hillary Clinton campaign was pushing the Israel difference to the Washington Post reporter in order to marginalize Sanders:
“HFA [Hillary for America] specifically pushed that part of it…. The Israel plank, that they see it as an ideal issue to marginalize Bernie on.”
Here is the “Israel stuff” in that Post article that Wasserman Schultz found “disturbing.”
But the issue of U.S. policy toward Israel — which a Sanders adviser said “absolutely, legitimately will be a point of conversation” — has made some of Clinton’s backers nervous. Sanders is seeking a more “even-handed” U.S. approach to Israeli occupation of land Palestinians claim for a future state.
The current platform does not address the nearly five-decade occupation directly, but it endorses “a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples.” Speaking last month during a contentious debate with Clinton, Sanders — who declared himself “100 percent pro-Israel” — said that Israel’s 2014 military assault on the Gaza Strip was “disproportionate” to the threat posed by Hamas rockets launched from the Palestinian territory into Israel.
Behind his words is a long debate among U.S. and international policymakers — one that divides the Democratic base and could pose a challenge for Clinton when she must bring her party together: how to weigh Palestinian interests when dealing with Israel, and whether resolute U.S. backing for Israel diminishes leverage to promote peace and fair treatment of Palestinians.
“On one hand there is not an enormous amount of difference between them. They are both pro-Israel, they are both pro-peace,” said one longtime Clinton supporter. “But in the context of the campaign terms like ‘even-handed’ can come to mean that the United States is signaling a shift” — and Clinton would oppose that.
Sanders has since folded on the Israel/Palestine issue in the platform, although the platform will come up for a vote on the convention floor this coming week; and then who knows what Sanders delegates will do…
Meantime, these emails are clear evidence of the role of the Israel lobby inside the Democratic Party. The base doesn’t love Israel; increasingly, poll numbers show that young Democrats, and women and Latinos and blacks, are turning against Israel. But the party relies on big pro-Israel money to a “shocking” “gigantic” degree and also relies on mainstream media that is dedicated to Israel. That’s why Clinton forces felt that they could “marginalize” Sanders by pushing this issue. And you wonder why Hillary Clinton pandered in her speech to the Israel lobby AIPAC, has promised megadonor Haim Saban that she will fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) along with Republicans, and has shown she will run to Trump’s right on this question (just as her husband ran to George H.W. Bush’s right in 1992 on settlements, and won). No, Bernie Sanders didn’t take her on on these issues, really. But his followers might.