Letter to Senator Bernie Sanders

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 3:15pm

Dear Senator Sanders,

It is with deep regret that I find myself writing to you again about your embrace of Linda Sarsour, a controversial activist with a well-documented history of anti-Semitic and bigoted statements. I asked you in my previous letter to consider dropping Sarsour as your campaign surrogate, but your silence was deafening.

Last week, Linda Sarsour did it again. She “enriched” her long list of anti-Semitic comments with another vitriolic diatribe. Speaking at the American Muslims for Palestine conference in Chicago, Sarsour started by criticizing progressive Zionists and ended with the claim that Israel “is based on supremacy, built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else” - literally connecting and equating Israel with Nazi ideas of White Supremacy.

While shocking, these comments are not surprising. What is surprising to me, as much as to everyone else in the Jewish community, is how can you be silent in light of these horrendous statements and continue to shield Sarsour. While continuing to officially represent your campaign, Linda Sarsour seems to have embraced the same white supremacist talking points propagated by David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Senator, we need more than articles on how you are going to fight anti-Semitism; we - the Jewish community - demand concrete actions towards actually fighting anti-Semitism. We expect from you, as much as from every other elected official and candidate, the strength to condemn not only anti-Semitism coming from the other side of the aisle, but also the courage to determinately denounce anti-Semitism from your campaign and the likes of Reps. Omar and Tlaib.

Senator Sanders, while you decline to refute her claims and distance yourself from her bigoted and hurtful comments, Linda Sarsour is not only feeling emboldened, but she is also getting a national platform to spew hate against Jews and the state of Israel. Not only that, but she is also putting out a not welcome sign to any pro-Israel individual in the progressive movement - ironically yourself included. 

That should count more than the votes you may gain from Sarsour and the few people espousing her same hate-filled viewpoints would bring you. Condemning Sarsour’s remarks and dropping her as your campaign surrogate is the moral thing to do.


Sincerely yours,

Jack Rosen
American Jewish Congress