Recently, Sen Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, a two-time candidate for president of the United States, received an endorsement that might give a more conventional politician extreme heartburn. Linda Sarsour, a radical left-wing Palestinian Muslim American, is touting Sanders as the “first Jewish president of the United States.” The endorsement and the wording of it are fraught with irony since Sarsour is a rabid anti-Semite.
Sarsour first gained fame for protesting police surveillance of American Muslims. She was one of the leaders of the 2017 Women’s March held by feminist and other radical groups in the wake of the election of President Donald Trump. She has helped to organize Black Lives Matter demonstrations. She is a warm supporter of the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) economic war against the State of Israel.
According to the Washington Examiner, Sarsour has done and said things that might give even a “democratic socialist” like Bernie Sanders pause.
“Sarsour advocated anti-Semitic slogans during the 2018 Women’s March. She has also forged bonds with public figures accused of making anti-Semitic comments, including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“She has worked with both Omar and Tlaib, and the two congresswomen were prohibited from traveling to Israel last month for their outspoken support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. Tlaib would later be allowed to enter the country to visit her grandmother in the West Bank but she ultimately refused to go, citing the ‘oppressive conditions/ she faced.
“Sarsour refers to Israeli-occupied land as ‘Palestine’ and has accused Jewish Americans of dual loyalty to Israel. She has also asserted that people who oppose the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement do so because they ‘masquerade as progressives but always choose their allegiance to Israel over their commitment to democracy and free speech.’”
Why would someone like Sarsour endorse Bernie Sanders?
Sarsour suggested in her endorsement that she broadly agrees with Sanders on a variety of issues, including Medicare for All, a wealth tax, a $15 minimum wage, and free college tuition. The radial activist also praised Sanders’ stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Times of Israel notes that Sarsour became controversial during the Women’s March.
“Sarsour is a co-founder of the Women’s March, which lost the support of some Jewish women after she was accused of allowing anti-Semitism to pervade the movement and to marginalize Jewish women, and failed to immediately condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan for his anti-Semitic rhetoric.”
Sarsour’s support for Sanders is going beyond an initial endorsement. She is touring herself as a surrogate for Bernie’s 2020 campaign for the presidency. The Daily Caller notes that this move is apparently with the approval and encouragement of Sanders himself.
The development sets up an interesting dynamic should Sanders become the Democratic nominee for president. President Donald Trump has made no secret of his fervent support for the State of Israel, recognizing Jerusalem as its capital and moving the American embassy to that city. Trump has also increased military and intelligence cooperation with Israel, particularly against Iran, a rogue country seen as a threat to peace in the region.
At the same time, Trump has tasked his son-in-law Jared Kushner to attempt to forge a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Despite the fact that the proposed agreement contains a generous economic development package for the Palestinians, the efforts have fallen on the deaf ears of the Palestinian Authority’s leadership. The faction that rules the Gaza Strip has persisted in bombarding Israeli territory with rockets acquired from Iran.
The endorsement of Sanders by one of the most notorious anti-Semites in the United States could be seen as a gift to President Trump should Bernie get the nomination, according to political analysts. The contrast will tend to cement the support of Trump by Christian evangelical supporters of Israel. Trump will also use the Sarsour endorsement to attempt to win the votes of Jewish Americans who, while supportive of Israel, tend to vote Democratic.
Bernie Sanders is in danger of finding Sarsour’s support as a drag on his candidacy, a way to attack him through guilt by association. He will have to decide, in the opinion of political observers, whether he wants to be tainted by the stench of Sarsour’s radicalism and anti-Semitism or whether to spend precious time defending himself from her extreme views.