“If you’re Jewish, don’t vote for Bernie Sanders.” So says Andrea Peyser, the New York Post columnist perhaps best known for her obsessive prison rape fantasies, in a Sunday broadside in which she blasted everything from the Vermont senator’s admittedly lackluster acting skills to his purported “anti-Israel” stance. She even questioned his Jewishness, which is odd considering she dedicated considerable column space to detailing his very Jewish youth in Brooklyn and Israel, as well as his relatives who died in the Holocaust.
Sanders, writes Peyser, is “hardly down with the Chosen People,” a nod to the supremacist mythology postulating the Abrahamic deity figure “God” promised the Jews—“His Chosen People”—all of Palestine millennia ago. Never mind that there is absolutely no proof or even a shred of empirical evidence supporting the existence of this “God,” or that from biblical times until the early 20th century, Jews never numbered more than 10 percent of the population of the territory that would later become the modern state of Israel (largely as a result of Jewish terrorism and ethnic cleansing).
What we should mind is Peyser’s lumping Sanders together with “Jew-haters” simply because he has spoken out against Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of Palestine and the Israeli military’s disproportionate use of force against innocent Palestinian civilians. While Peyser and Israel may believe the crippling 49-year occupation and the racist, Jews-only settler colonies are legal, international law and even the United States State Department affirm the opposite. And while Peyser and Israel may not find a nearly 300:1 innocent kill ratio—1,462 Palestinian civilians, including 253 women and 495 children, were slaughtered by Israeli forces during the 2014 Gaza offensive, while Hamas killed 5 Israeli civilians—to be disproportionate, plenty of others, including many Israeli Jews, did.
Peyser further slammed Sanders for advocating a “level playing field” in US dealings with Israel and Palestine and for calling on Washington to “treat everyone in that region equally.” The chutzpah! An American administration actually committed to being an honest broker and not just paying lip service to peace while lavishing Israel in billions of dollars of perennial military aid and unwavering diplomatic cover, both of which enable it to perpetuate the unending occupation, colonization and oppression of millions of Palestinian men, women and children? Imagine that!
Well, unless Sanders can navigate the narrowest of paths to the Democratic nomination and then triumph on November 8, such hopes will remain confined to the imagination because no other presidential candidate from either major party is going to give a good damn about the plight of the Palestinian people. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, for example, recently called those of us in the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement “bullies” and “anti-semites” for daring to stand against Israeli policies and actions that Nobel peace laureates Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire and others have called apartheid and even ethnic cleansing.
It is understandable that Peyser would find fault with any candidate, especially any progressive candidate, who doesn’t fall in lock-step with the Zionist agenda. This is excusable; after all, her parents met in the Israeli military while it was ethnically cleansing Palestine of most of its Arabs. However, Peyser’s complete and intentional ignorance of Sanders’ vocal support for Israel belies her partisan disingenuity. The Vermont senator, who spent time on an Israeli kibbutz in his youth, has repeatedly affirmed Israel’s right to exist in peace. He has even angered advocates for Palestine by arguing in favor of Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas rockets and other threats by using deadly force. How could this possibly be interpreted as “anti-Israel?”
If by Jews Peyser means the Israel-Right-Or-Wrong AIPAC crowd then she’s right, they probably shouldn’t vote for Bernie Sanders. However, for Jews who believe in peace and human rights, and who consider themselves inheritors of an ancient and unending mandate to mend the world that has inspired generations of forward-thinking Jews, Bernie Sanders is the only candidate worth your vote.