Monday, August 08, 2016

 

Bernie Sanders: Retrograde on Palestine

Bernie Sanders is no longer running for president but he still continues to inspire false hope in some folks on the matter of Palestine-Israel. Sanders' retrograde positions on Palestine-Israel should not be surprising. He is, after all, an old kibbutznik. Like Noam Chomsky, Sanders was involved with the Stalinist Hashomer Hatzair.

The Hashomer Hatzair was also "active in the Haganah, the underground army of the Jewish community in Palestine. Together with the other kibbutz federations, its members formed the nucleus of the Palmach, which served as the shock troops in the war for Israel's independence."

Sanders and his wife worked at the Jews-only Kibbutz Sha'ar Ha'amakim near Haifa. Kibbutz Sha'ar Ha'amakim was built on land inhabited by Palestinians for generations but Zionist Jews made a deal with the infamous Sursuk family, absentee landlords in Beirut, to sell the land out from under the fellaheen.

Sanders has also aligned himself with a rabid religious Zionist, the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and his Chabad movement. According to Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, Baruch Goldstein, perpetrator of the 1994 Hebron massacre was also affiliated with Chabad (see page 61 and chap. 6 in Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (2004)).

Chabad is also known for erecting giant menorahs on public property during Hanukkah and Sanders helped out with that, too. In County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union , the case Sanders helped advance, the US Supreme Court decided that a nativity scene had to go but a menorah was okay.

The foundations of Sanders' socialism (and Jewish identity) are troubling to say the least. If Sanders had publicly and fully repudiated his ties to Stalinism, the violent, Jewish supremacist Hashomer Hatzair/kibbutz movement, and Schneerson and Chabad or at least denounced their most problematic aspects then that would one thing. As far as I know Sanders has done nothing of the sort.

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