Holding Antisemites Accountable.

Close this search box.

Bernie Sanders’ Failed Presidential Run Saves American Jews from a Cabinet Full of Antisemites


In the wake of recent 2020 primary election results, there is an unexpected silver lining for Jewish Americans: Sen. Bernie Sanders will almost certainly not be the Democratic presidential nominee

One would think that for the Jewish community, having a Jewish nominee would have been an achievement to be celebrated instead of a possibility to fear, but sadly, no. Due to both the Vermont independent’s radical beliefs and policy positions, as well as his propensity for surrounding himself with suspect characters, the prospect of a Sanders presidency was concerning indeed for many Jewish Americans like me. 

Sanders often touts his trip to Israel to live on a kibbutz when he discusses the America-Israel relationship. But there is an important point lost on many Sanders supporters: He wasn’t spending time in the Jewish state learning about or promoting Judaism or Zionism. 

Writing for the Hudson Institute, Ron Radosh explained:

“But in 1963 when Sanders worked on Hashomer’s kibbutz, its members considered themselves Marxist-Zionists, and they held a pro-Soviet orientation which included supporting Soviet foreign policy. Their ideological orientation on Zionism and socialism came not from the social democrats of the Socialist International, who were strongly anti-Communist and anti-fascist during the years of World War II (like Germany’s Willy Brandt), but from a rather unknown figure, a Zionist named Ber Borochov. 

“I knew members of Hashomer Hatzair in the same period that Bernie worked on their kibbutz. They would always urge me to read Borochov’s books. Although he passed away in 1917, too early to see the horrendous results of the Bolshevik Revolution, Borochov’s followers argued that he had proved that “socialist Zionism” had to be Marxist-Leninist. 

“Their only criticism of the official Israeli Communist Party was its refusal to see that Stalin was wrong to argue that Jews did not need their own nation and that they instead should work within their own countries to foment a communist revolution.

Things aren’t any better in the present day either. Sanders has consistently surrounded himself with surrogates who are clear about their position not just on the Jewish state but on Jewish people as well — and it’s not pretty. 

Writing for Commentary in the most definitive piece on Sanders’s surrogate problems, Noah Rothman explained:

“Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of Sanders’s most visible endorsers with whom the senator frequently shares the stage, has apologized for some of what she’s admitted were anti-Semitic remarks. Or, if that’s not good enough, take the Democratic Party’s verdict. Those anti-Jewish slights for which Omar declined to show remorse had been targeted by her fellow caucus members for censure before a revolt of the party’s progressives and Black Caucus Members scuttled the initiative. 

“Amid the failed Democratic effort to condemn Omar, Sanders’s foreign-policy adviser, Matt Duss, attacked the maneuver as one purely designed to ‘police criticism of Israel.’ It is worth recalling that the remark Duss considers scrutiny of Israel was Omar’s claim that pro-Israel lawmakers exhibit an ‘allegiance to a foreign country.'”

Despite the clear delegate count and momentum in Joe Biden’s favor, Sanders refuses to back down. He has a critical mass of support behind him in the radical wing of the Democratic Party. This wing is all too comfortable with the company Sanders has been keeping and, more disturbingly, likely shares the same views. 

The repudiation of Sanders and his policies may save the Democratic Party from becoming rife with antisemitism as the Labour Party has in the United Kingdom under Jeremy Corbyn. While Jewish Americans may not be 100% comfortable with either Biden or Trump for myriad reasons, it’s great news that we don’t have to worry about Sanders becoming the Democratic nominee.