Sanders risks losing left over unprogressive views of Palestine — Washington Post

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Dave Weigel in the Washington Post reports that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who spent time as a youth on a kibbutz before moving to Vermont, has been remarkably consistent in his answers on the conflict over the last 27 years, but as the left moves on the question, he could get marooned:

Sanders’s criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu and his support for the two-state solution and Iran nuclear deal are all firmly in the liberal mainstream. On the left, the discussion has moved on to whether people and institutions should boycott and divest from Israel so long as it occupies Palestinian land. In 2014, when asked by the Gallup Poll about Israel’s latest military intervention in Gaza, a 47-31 plurality of Democrats called it “unjustified.” Sanders sided with the minority. For the time being, he’s winning over audience with a succinct, limited answer about Israel. That could change if there’s another flare-up before the primaries.

That was a great poll, wasn’t it? The Democratic base is wising up. We keep predicting that the issue is going to be a live one in next year’s Democratic primaries. The Washington Post’s semi-straightforward observation about BDS (boycott divestment and sanctions) suggests that day is approaching. And Weigel’s point is: these progressives are Sanders’s base, folks who like his line on economic justice. Will they work for him if he’s a tool for Israel?

I’m not sure what the Post means by a “flare-up,” but remember that Sanders became stiffnecked last summer on the Gaza slaughter, standing by Israel at a town meeting as folks shouted Bullshit. Reporters should note Max Blumenthal’s reports in The 51 Day War that Gazans think it’s only a matter of time till the next slaughter.


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Sanders can win the democratic nomination if he ties justice for Palestine to his economic proposals. Not only justice for Palestine but demilitarization en route to peace on earth and goodwill to all living beings.

I heard Senator BS last week make statements on the I/P issue and it was the usual BS. It was something like “Let us move to ensure Israeli (Jewish) security and when that is done Palestinian rights will follow.” In other words the usual liberal Zionist crap that always puts “security” for Jewish Israel before anything else. Why don’t these people EVER talk about Palestinian security.

The claim that the “left” is debating whether to boycott Israeli institutions is plainly unsupported. I’d like to see a poll indicating that a substantial minority of left-wing Democrats in the mainstream support boycotting Israeli institutions. I haven’t seen any evidence of that. There’s just no support for the idea that anyone in the mainstream would care this much about any foreign policy issue. It is certainly unsupported that progressives, who largely support Sanders because… Read more »

A similar discussion has happened among libertarians about Rand Paul, with similar excuses as to why dissidents from the system should vote for someone who is effectively sucking them back into supporting it. Like Bernie, Rand also tried to ingratiate himself with AIPAC and like Bernie he also has cranky views about immigrants and supports wars abroad. Fortunately most of those libertarians who supported Rand have dropped him and will be supporting the Libertarian Party… Read more »

A man has to have his priorities. There are often clashes between objectives/goals. In this case: you can be socially left but support Israel in the political context that it is in. Not selling off your beliefs for votes deserves applauds. A personal example: I am often wary of the US big Corporations in terms of impacts of their acts on ordinary people (doing so to further their commercial interests) but I still support them… Read more »