Bernie Sanders is no Jew hater, so don't compare him to Jeremy Corbyn

The JC Leader - February 28, 2020

February 27, 2020 13:23

We will have a clearer idea after next week’s Super Tuesday, but as things stand Bernie Sanders is the clear favourite to be the Democatic Party’s presidential candidate — and the first Jew to be nominated.

Mr Sanders is an outspoken critic of Israel and advocate of a Palestinian state. This, combined with his policy platform, has led to widespread comparisons with Jeremy Corbyn. It is for others to consider the domestic policy similarities. But it is important to be clear that, when it comes to Israel — and Jews — there is no comparison whatsoever between the two men.

Mr Corbyn is an antisemite who would rather Israel did not exist. Mr Sanders is not remotely antisemitic and has repeatedly and sincerely defended Israel’s right to exist.

That he is deeply critical of Israel is, in this context, of no relevance. Indeed, those who make the leap from his criticism to argue that he is antisemitic are the mirror image of the genuine antisemites who claim to be merely anti-Zionist, and who use the false notion that criticism of Israel is labelled as antisemism to excuse their own behaviour.

Certainly, he has prominent supporters who are rightly criticised as antisemitic — whose arguments veer far beyond criticism of Israeli policy. Mr Sanders should do much more to call them out and distance himself from them.

But that is a failure of leadership (albeit a significant one). It is not evidence of his antisemitism. These are toxic times. Antisemitism has entered the mainstream of politics. It is thus all the more important that accusations are specific and justified.

February 27, 2020 13:23

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