Young Jews endorse Bernie Sanders ‘to model what anti-occupation Jewish leadership looks like’

Bernie Sanders

IfNotNow is “a movement of young Jews fighting for freedom and dignity for all”. This week, it became “the first Jewish organization to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for President”, with 80% of its members backing the decision. The organisation described its endorsement as “a commitment to model what anti-occupation Jewish leadership looks like”:

Motivation

The group explained that three questions from Rabbi Hillel – a religious leader quoted at length in Jewish literature – motivated its endorsement:

Read on...

It also called for unity over division, saying:

While the right weaponizes antisemitism to keep us divided, we, like Bernie, know that never again means never again for anyone.

And it highlighted how Sanders:

has helped lift up a stubbornly idealistic strand of Jewish tradition that we never knew — and one that our communal institutions have worked hard to suppress. The attacks on his Jewishness from those in our community are painfully familiar — they are in line with the delegitimization and ostracisation that many Jews dedicated to justice have faced for decades because of our commitment to Palestinian human rights and a more equitable society.

Palestine and Israel

IfNotNow placed particular emphasis on the Israeli state’s occupation of Palestine, stressing that:

As authoritarian leaders worldwide, including Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, stoke fear and incite violence to wage war on multiracial democracy, our own community is caught in the crosshairs. As Trump has given the Israeli government the green light to deepen its violent rule over the Palestinian people and formally annex the West Bank, he simultaneously incites antisemitic violence against our community, calls us disloyal for opposing him, and brandishes his support for Israel to attack progressive leaders of color. It has become more clear than ever that winning freedom and safety for Jews is inextricable from the fight for freedom and safety for Palestinians — at home and abroad.

With this in mind, it said:

We are proud to back a Jewish leader who vigorously opposes both the rise of violent white nationalism and the Israeli military’s violent occupation of the Palestinian people.

It continued:

We have heard our entire lives that our safety as Jews is only possible through the dehumanization of the Palestinian people. This lie has been used to justify kicking Palestinians out of their homes and off their land, and it has contributed to our community’s alienation from other communities here at home. Bernie rejects the false choice between being a proud Jew and supporting Palestinian freedom.

And went on to add:

[Sanders] has called for an end to Israel’s military occupation, the common sense position that for too long has been maligned in our national politics and by the self-appointed leaders of our community. As the Israeli government accelerates its dispossession and oppression of Palestinians, the need to fight for a different vision — of human rights and democracy — becomes even more urgent.

‘Dignity for all’

IfNotNow called out the current US government for spreading “lies and incitement against the most vulnerable in our society”, including vicious smears against Palestinian people. It also stressed that:

We know that the right weaponizes antisemitism to keep Americans divided, keep the rules rigged in their favor, and keep power in the hands of the few. They hide behind their alleged support for Israel to distract us and to weaken our fight for a world where all people can have clean air, a living wage, and quality health care. They accuse anyone who disagrees of antisemitism, as vile antisemitism festers within their ranks. We are clear that the way to fight antisemitism is to join with others, because none of us are free until all of us are free.

And it added:

Right now, as much of the American Jewish and political establishments are coming together to protect the status quo, we are joining with other visionary grassroots organizations in the fight for the soul of our democracy, so all people can live with dignity. We know that no matter who is president, we will need to continue to mobilize our community to win a just future for all Palestinians and Israelis.

This endorsement – as a model for “anti-occupation Jewish leadership” – is a bold statement in support of Sanders’ campaign to face Donald Trump in November’s presidential election. And it’s one that both Jewish and non-Jewish people desperately need to hear.

Featured image via Gage Skidmore

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us