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Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 10:00am

Bernie Sanders would be most anti-Israel US president since founding of modern Jewish state

The op-ed was originally published on Fox News
 
Following Iran's missile attack Wednesday on U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani – and the Iraqi Parliament’s nonbinding vote calling on the U.S. military to leave – America needs all the friends it can get in the Middle East.
 
In these troubled and uncertain times, we have no truer and more important ally in the region than the Jewish state of Israel.
 
Despite this fact, Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has become one of the leading critics of Israel on Capitol Hill. He has taken positions that – if he is elected president in November – would make him the most anti-Israel president since the founding of the modern Jewish state in 1948. His intent and timing could not be worse.
 
Sanders has said plenty of things about Israel that have bothered members of the Jewish community, including his misguided assertion that American foreign aid to Israel – which strengthens U.S. national security – should be dependent on Israel’s fealty.
 
In the past, Sanders has watered down the despicable crimes of Hamas, the terrorist group based in the Gaza Strip that is hell-bent on the annihilation of the Jewish people. He oddly seems more concerned about the welfare of Palestinian terrorists than Israelis.
 
However, when convenient, Sanders is happy to trumpet his Jewish identity and even call himself a Zionist. He wants us to believe that because he was born into a Jewish family he is immune to criticism for his positions that would cause grave harm to Israel should he become president.
 
Sorry, but we have to judge presidential candidates based on their records and their policy positions.
 
In addition to his own anti-Israel views, Sanders has surrounded himself with political allies who champion anti-Israel policies and either perpetuate or enable anti-Semitism on the far left.
 
This goes beyond Israel policy. Last year Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., made comments embodying classic anti-Semitic tropes. Sanders could have sent a powerful message by speaking out, but remained conspicuously silent on her incendiary remarks – and indeed is one of Omar’s strongest supporters in Congress.
 
Omar and Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York have all made or enabled problematic remarks that crossed the line between criticizing the Jewish state of Israel and being anti-Semitic. Yet Sanders proudly counts them among his strongest supporters in his presidential campaign and expresses deep admiration for them.
 
Another strong supporter and campaign surrogate for Sanders is Linda Sarsour, who has a long, shameful history of anti-Semitism.
 
Late last year Sarsour made a series of incendiary statements, including the accusation that Israel is rooted in “Jewish supremacy” and the assertion that true progressives cannot support Israel.
 
Why does Sanders welcome the support of these anti-Semites and enemies of Israel? With each new incident, the answer becomes a little clearer: He is courting a far-left fringe that flirts dangerously with anti-Semitism.
 
Since the modern state of Israel was founded it has enjoyed strong bipartisan support in Congress and from every American president. This is as it should be, because Israel allies itself with America no matter which political party is in power in the White House and Congress.
 
The Jewish people are, of course, history’s underdogs – persecuted, marginalized and murdered over the centuries. We nonetheless persisted and established the state of Israel in our own ancient homeland, which itself is beset by enemies – Iran being among the most dangerous.
 
At the same time, millions of Jewish Americans today face a rising tide of anti-Semitism. It would make sense for Sanders, a Jewish American, to stand up for his own community and not turn against the only Jewish state on the planet.
 
To some, the lines between criticism of Israel, anti-Zionism, and anti-Semitism are blurry. Linda Sarsour’s rhetoric, by contrast, is crystal clear; she is a textbook case of someone using Israel as a proxy to spew vitriol against the Jewish people.
 
Yet Sanders has come to Sarsour’s defense through numerous controversies – including her association with Louis Farrakhan, an anti-Semite who once referred to Jews as “termites.”
 
We must be fair when it comes to calling out left-wing anti-Semitism and anti-Israel vitriol.
 
When Donald Trump received support from white nationalists in 2016, including an endorsement from former KKK head David Duke, the world called on him to reject this support and lambasted him for so much as hesitating. Sanders has not only failed to reject Sarsour’s support – he has given her a pulpit and a microphone.
 
Sanders is no idiot and he is not naïve. He knows that speaking out against anti-Semitism on the far left or speaking out too strongly in support of Israel threatens his legitimacy in the eyes of fringe far-left progressives, whose opposition to Israel runs deep.
 
It’s disgraceful that instead of taking a stand, instead of taking this opportunity to change people’s minds about the dangers of anti-Semitism, Sanders enables and endorses the anti-Zionist rhetoric of his base.
 
No one expects Sanders to give the Jewish community and Israel special treatment because of his Jewish heritage. But at the same time, he should not be turning against the Jewish people and the Jewish homeland with greater vehemence than any non-Jewish candidate for president.
 
Hate and bigotry have no place in legitimate political discourse. Sanders should acknowledge this and stop allying himself with those who embrace hatred of Israel and the Jewish people.
 
And Sanders should reevaluate his own positions on Israel and start treating it like an ally and not an adversary of the U.S.
 
Will Sanders take these steps? Most likely he will not. Voters who support Israel and the Jewish people should keep that in mind when they cast ballots in upcoming Democratic primaries and caucuses.

 

 
The op-ed was originally published on Fox News

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 4:59pm

We had the pleasure of meeting Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) and discuss the U.S.-Israel relationship, the recent developments in the Middle East, and the need for bipartisan initiatives in Congress to counter the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. We thanked Rep. Fitzpatrick for expressing support for the Jewish community and Israel, and for condemning anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments from the far-left and the far-right. 

 

Friday, April 26, 2019 - 3:36pm

Two weeks ago, we introduced our initiative to form a Jewish Caucus in Congress. Our President Jack Rosen wrote an ope-ed in The Hill about it, and it seems that some Members of Congress are supportive of the idea. Watch our short video to learn more about why we think a Jewish Caucus would make a difference:

 

Monday, March 18, 2019 - 2:03pm

Board members of the American Jewish Congress met with Congressman Ruben Galego (D-AZ-7), the Vice-Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. We expressed our concerns on the weak House resolution following Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic statements. We also thanked him for his commitment to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Monday, March 18, 2019 - 10:59am

Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX-10), who currently is the Ranking Member in the critical House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Congressman McCaul expressed his support for the Jewish community and condemned in the strongest terms anti-Semitism – including from elected officials on the far-left and far-right.

Among the various topics we discussed were the developments in the Middle East and the multiple threats that Israel faces, both directly along its borders and across the region. The conversation focused in particular on the complex and unpredictable situation in Syria.

I also had the pleasure of making the introduction between my friend Dani Dayan, the Consul-General of Israel in New York, and Congressman McCaul. The Congressman reiterated his support for Israel and emphasized the fact that Israel is and must remain a bipartisan issue, as the greatest ally of the United States in the Middle East and the only democracy in the region.

Friday, December 14, 2018 - 5:00pm
Yesterday, under the leadership of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, the City of Miami unanimously passed a resolution condemning Airbnb for its discriminatory practices toward Israel.
 
It's great to see Miami take a stand against Airbnb's blatant discrimination. This courageous move was made possible by the work of Mayor Suarez, as well as Gabe Groisman, Mayor of Bal Harbour, Florida. Both of these mayors participated in our International Mayors Conference, held annually in Israel.
 
Mayors Suarez and Groisman are a great examples of what makes our International Mayors Conference special. The Conference brings together local government leaders from around the world to experience the Jewish homeland firsthand, to witness what Israel has achieved, and to build a spirit of solidarity and understanding with Israelis and one another. Our hope is for other participants to be similarly inspired toward the defense of Israel.
 
The Miami resolution came after Airbnb recent announcement that it would end listings in the disputed West Bank. However, it would only restrict listings posted by Israeli Jews living in the region, not by Palestinians. Moreover, Airbnb has not acted similarly in other disputed territories around the world. This new policy is a shameless boycott of Israel which is inherently discriminatory and shows a clear double standard.
 
Good work to Mayor Suarez, Mayor Groisman, and all who made this possible.
 
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - 12:00pm

A group led by our President Jack Rosen had a meeting with the Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN, Ambassador Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Edrees, and his Counselor, Mr. Tarek Tayel.

The group comprised Board Members and members of the executive team of the American Jewish Congress, as well as representatives of other Jewish organizations like the Lawfare Project, Students Supporting Israel, and Israeli-American professionals.

We discussed many issues, including the recent vote on the UN resolution to condemn Hamas and Egypt's crucial role in the Middle East. Furthermore, we talked about some other resolutions of the international body that concern Israel, the prospects for a peace deal, and the cooperation between Israel and Egypt.

Different opinions and perspectives were presented and discussed, and both Ambassador Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Edrees and President Jack Rosen reiterated their firm belief that the path toward sustainable peace is through dialogue and mutual understanding.

We thank Ambassador Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Edrees for his hospitality and look forward to future discussions and collaborations.

Monday, December 10, 2018 - 2:23pm

Last week, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the American Jewish Congress and the incredible work we have done in that time. We also honored Congressman Joe Kennedy III and the Kennedy family for their longstanding dedication to our shared values. Marking the conclusion of an entire century of advocacy, dedication, and progress, we of course spoke extensively about our past. And, as this also marked the start of our second century, we talked a lot about the future, as well.

But – unexpectedly, I might add – I did not only discuss the future; I saw the future.

After finishing my remarks, I received a marvelous surprise when my grandson, Alex, stepped up to the podium after me and delivered a passionate, eloquent speech. Together with his brother, my grandson Zach, Alex spoke of his relationship to me, and the two of them honored me more than they can know. But Alex also addressed his Jewish identity, his own encounters with anti-Semitism, and the Jewish future.

I hope I won’t offend Congressman Joe Kennedy when I say that Alex’s speech moved me like no other that evening.

Seeing Alex address us from the podium, with his brother at his side, was a special moment for Phyllis and me. This was an audience of esteemed guests including multiple U.S. Congressmen, past and present, as well as Ambassadors and Consuls-General from an array of countries, NYC Attorney-General-elect Letitia James, and my dear friends Marvin Rosen and Len Blavatnik, who have helped me to shape this organization over the years. Mere minutes prior, Senator Chuck Schumer addressed us from the video screens. And now it was grandson. At this moment, something finally clicked into place for me.

I think a great deal about the Jewish future, as well as the American future, and our role in shaping them. Yet we think and speak about these as abstract concepts – something distant that we can only crudely anticipate and attempt to predict. Even when that future is right in front of us, flesh and blood.

Alex is 12 years old, still a boy in many ways, but not for long. As he spoke, I could see, more vividly than ever before, the shadow of the man he will become. I saw that the future we were describing in such faraway terms will be very real for Alex. And after I am gone, Alex and his descendants will continue to reap what I sow.

The Jewish future is not an abstraction. It is here, now, not yet fully realized. It is our children and our grandchildren, to whom we have responsibility now, whom we can teach and lift up and prepare today. It is the children that they themselves will one day raise, with our examples in mind.

And we must also remember that as much as we are preparing the world to be a better place for them, we are also preparing them to do the same. The Jewish experience Alex described is not the one I lived, and it will be him, not me, who will solve the obstacles that will face Jews and others of his generation. Our descendants will face their own challenges and make their own decisions.

We won’t be here when the American Jewish Congress begins its third century. But on that day, our actions and our words today will echo. Through education, leadership, and community, our voice will endure.

We are the Jewish voice of tomorrow. So are our children, and theirs, and theirs. Last week I heard the Jewish voice of tomorrow from Alex’s mouth. Let us give our children the knowledge and passion to build that voice, and the strength and the belief necessary to speak with it.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Monday, May 21, 2018 - 10:40am

Early this year, the Pew Research Center published a survey quantifying what many within the Jewish Community already knew.

A growing numbers of Democratic leaders are split over Israel.

To make matters worse, many Democratic leaders seem willing to cede Israel as an issue to Republicans leaders.

This past week was the perfect microcosm of this spilt.

The US Embassy officially moved to Jerusalem and Hamas orchestrated violent riots at the Gaza border.

We saw Democratic leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the leading voice amongst the Democratic Party, praise the move of the Embassy.

 

 

While Democrats like Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) failed to mention the terrorist group Hamas a single time while they condemned Israel’s right to defend its border against terrorist throwing Molotov cocktails.

 

 

To make matters worse for Democrats, Republicans like Ambassador Nikki Haley were defending Israel and it’s right to defend itself at the UN.

An even more troubling trend is that it seems like many Democrats leaders are willing to cede Israel as an issue to the Republicans leaders. Some are even willing to back candidates who support anti-semitic movements like the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, for example, Mr. Scott Wallace.

I hope that Democratic leaders like Senator Schumer are heard, that politicians like Senator Feinstein change their ways and that candidates like Scott Wallace are shown the door.

 
Friday, January 26, 2018 - 6:02pm

 

 

1) A Jewish Community in WhiteFish, Montana was cyber attacked by Neo-Nazis. 

A Neo-Nazi publication, The Daily Storm, came out with aggressive and false statements claiming Jews were driving the white out and attempting to take over this small town after a dispute between the town’s White nationalist, Richard Spencer, and local Jewish realtor, Tonya Gersh. Andrew Anglin, founder, and publisher of the Daily Stormer called for support of Spencer along with an armed Neo-Nazi march in Whitefish.

 

This is not free speech this is an assault that leads to torment, violence, and insecurity. 

 

2. Anti-Semitic Outbreaks in Poland

A group of 10 individuals celebrated Hitler's birthday with a cake shaped like a swastika and a burning of a swastika made of wood. President of the union of Jewish Communities, Lesla Liszewski asked the government to take action when the anti-Semitic events became more frequent. The Attorney General finally vowed to take action against these groups who have been displaying illegal Nazi paraphernalia. 

 

3. Paul Nehlen runs on anti-Semitic campaign 

Paul Nehlen, a political candidate who lost the Wisconsin Republican primary in 2016, is known for his extreme views against the Jewish community. He has repeatedly run on a platform of hate and racism. He has consistently used his twitter for inappropriate slurs and attacks against Jewish politicians and reporters, often professes his “pro-white” ideals and the need to separate the thoughts of Christian and Jewish people. He believes Jews control the media and have gone to great lengths to rewrite history. Possibly the most alarming aspect of Nehlen’s anti-semitic campaign is the fact that he has gained serious traction in the media. Nehlen has been mentioned by many major publishers and Twitter following has reached close to 100,000 followers. He has gained a following of Neo-Nazis, bigots, and thousands of people who just want to follow the spectacle. Nehlen represents the faults of new political trends and the undying push of anti-Semitism in this country. 

 

4. Abbas calls Israel a ‘Colonial Project’ unrelated to Judaism 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with the Palestinian Central Council, a top decision-making body, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the Palestinian Central Council earlier this month with multiple claims that the goal of the Jewish people to obtain Israel was not due to religion but of hatred toward the Arab countries. He said he believes Israel is a “colonial project” to gain power in the middle east and the term “promised land” is just a farce. He claims the European Jews would rather face the murder and slaughter of the Holocaust than emigrate to Palestine. Abbas went as far to say that Israeli goal has always been to wipe out the Palestinians. Abbas is blinded by ignorance and pride and has failed to take history and facts into account. 

 

5. Alison Chabloz

Alison Chabloz is a self-proclaimed “Holocaust Revisionist” or simply put a Holocaust denier. Chabloz faces 5 charges related to three offensive songs about Jews and the Holocaust. Chabloz has been creating songs that mock accounts of the Holocaust and Jewish people as a whole. She claims that Anne Frank’s father faked his daughter’s diary and accuses famous survivors of taken advantage of their situation to get rich. She uses her songs to blatantly communicate her white supremacy ideals with her growing fan base. 

 

6. Puerto Rico Anti Semitic Column 

El Nuevo Dia newspaper released a column entitled “What does ‘the Jew’ want with the colony?” This is response to the the economic crisis and the belief that the Jews control congress and run the economics of Puerto Rico. The writer Wilda Rodriguez believes that the Jews are trying to gain power and wealth of Puerto Rico. The newspaper quickly rescinded their article and apologized for offending the Jewish community. Rodriguez claims she was unaware her column could be interpreted as anti-Semitic. 

 

6. Tunisia: Jewish Population determined to stay despite anti-Semitic violence

Although Tunisia has been declared a multi-faith state, the Jewish people still face persecution. There have been several attacks against Jews that includes harassment, social media threats to the Djerba synagogue and promises that Jews will soon finally be driven out of Tunisia. The people behind  these anti-Semitic acts are thought to be extremists as the Arab and Jewish citizens have developed a good relationship in the past years. Despite the persecution, the Jewish community has banded together in an effort to remain in their homeland and fight the discrimination. Although Tunisian government is currently weakened, it stands in support of both Jews and Muslim and believe that a unified culture is good for their country. It has taken some measures to protect Jewish institution by placing police guards around them while the extremist issue is dealt with. 

 

7. Racist, Anti Semitic Fliers Dropped in Virginia Neighborhood Before MLK Day

Members of the Ku Klux Klan face counter-protesters as they rally in support of Confederate monument

The Ku Klux Klan delivered racist and anti- Semitic fliers in a Virgina neighborhood on the eve before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. These flyers crude illustrations of Jews based on stereotypes and mentioned how the jews control the media. Another flyer included racist and vulgar statements about MLK. The KKK also delivered messages over Halloween villainizing the Jewish and African American community.