On 5 March, a Nazi waved a swastika flag in the middle of a Bernie Sanders rally. And a message from Sanders on the same day is the best response possible.
Sanders under attack
During the Holocaust, Nazis murdered six million Jewish people. In occupied Poland, that included the family of Sanders’ father. Now, Sanders is hoping to become the first Jewish president of the US. And this is clearly attracting the attention of modern-day Nazis:
A man brought a literal Nazi flag to the rally of a Jewish Socialist candidate for President
He was escorted out by security forcespic.twitter.com/KOLhyJJFxZ
— Siddak Ahuja (@SiddakAhuja) March 6, 2020
Sanders has previously received antisemitic death threats. And he has faced other apparent expressions of antisemitism too:
The windows of a Bernie field office were smashed. At another, a Nazi posted a death threat with a gun shooting a Jewish star. Swastikas have been waved at multiple rallies. Meanwhile pundits say Jew baiting crap constantly about him.
This is dangerous and I’m sick of it
— Molly Crabapple🇵🇷 (@mollycrabapple) March 6, 2020
An #antisemitic poster was found outside of Bernie Sander’s headquarters in New Hampshire.
The poster contained a gun shooting at a Jewish Star of David with 'Zion' written in the middle.
The poster also contained the sentence “Silence, Globalist!” pic.twitter.com/kvx3a4pEer
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) February 6, 2020
High-profile figures in the corporate media, meanwhile, have fuelled hostility to Sanders by ridiculously comparing him and his anti-racist supporters to the Nazis. Hard-right commentators have also accused Sanders of “deep-rooted anti-Semitism” and of being a Nazi.
This is reminiscent of the smear campaign against lifelong anti-racist Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, largely due to his criticism of Israeli state crimes against Palestinians. All because Sanders has dared to call Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu a “reactionary racist” and slam Israel lobbyists the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for links with “leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights”. And the pro-apartheid right has responded in kind.
As +972 Magazine states:
There is nothing radical about Bernie Sanders’ views on Israel, yet the American Jewish establishment seems bent on portraying the Democratic front-runner as an anti-Semite. …
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful pro-Israel lobby, is helping to fund the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) to run attack ads on TV against Sanders…
the American Jewish press has, since Sanders’ first presidential campaign in 2016, run relentlessly negative coverage of the leading candidate.
Opponents of Sanders have also sought to portray him as a communist. There’s a long history of antisemites treating communism (and socialism) as a subversive “Jewish plot“. Indeed, the Nazis tried to argue that “Marxism and Judaism were… two sides of the same coin”. And this “antisemitic trope” still persists today.
Sanders fights back
On the same day a Nazi interrupted his rally, Sanders released a strong message of unity against the far right. In a video, his campaign nailed why he deserves to become the first Jewish president in US history. As one Jewish supporter stresses, Sanders is:
going to stand up to the threats not just of [Donald] Trump but of white nationalism and of racism and hate.
Another adds that:
in his identity as a Jew, he sides with all other marginalised peoples. Bernie is the candidate who has been the most outspoken against the [Israeli] occupation [of Palestine]
And another argues that the US must replace Trump with a president “willing to stand up and speak truth to power… to actually look at every human being as an equal human being”. “That’s what Bernie offers,” he says.
I would be very proud to be the first Jewish president. Together, we will counter the hatred and bigotry of the Trump administration. Thank you @jewsforbernie for standing with us. pic.twitter.com/dznfwQEYsU
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 5, 2020
This is a message progressives in the US and around the world can get behind. And as part of the battle against a resurgent fascism, we need to share this message far and wide.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore
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