The European definition of anti-Semitism is, loosely speaking, someone who singles out Israel and/or Jews negatively. Bernie Sanders does, so is he an anti-Semite?
I do not want to answer this question with a simplistic yes OR no. But I do want to get to a simple answer. Then we need to go visit all the issues and see if we may end up with simplicity.
Isn’t it beyond the pale to call a decent person an anti-Semite? Not, it is not. Some people use anti-Semite to mean: a mass murderer. That is not just. An anti-Semite is a bigot like a sexist and a racist. No every sexist is Qaddafi; not every anti-Semite is Hitler.
Does that not depend on what someone feels in his heart? Since we can’t know that, does that not mean that we should never call someone decent an anti-Semite? No, we may judge someone on his deeds and leave his heart to be judged by G-d. Besides, an anti-Semite is not a person who is rotten, wicked or crazy to the core. Rather, he is fully a human being who made very bad choices. If evil would be inherent in him, he would not be responsible. Do we condemn a vicious dog?
He’s a Jew — can we call a Jew an anti-Semite? I have held for decades that a Jew who spreads Jews’ hatred is an innocent victim of self-hatred and of course not an anti-Semite. Until it became clear to me that they is a ridiculous excuse. Any person who actively and prominently spreads hatred for Jews deserves to be called an anti-Semite.
The US is not an anti-Semitic country. Prejudices exist, but the situation for Jews is rather good. Anti-Semites have to be bused in from all over the country to look more than a pathetic mob (Chancellorsville). If you think the US is unsafe for Jews, visit other countries.
We must make a difference between hard-core bigots and people with wrong sentiments. Not every man with sexist ideas in his head is equal to a man holding women as sex slaves. Not every Gentile with prejudicial ideas against Jews in his head is a hard-core anti-Semite.
As I mentioned before, Trump is not a racist. He feels warm and cozy about Blacks (and uneasy), so he doesn’t see himself as a racist. But he is ignorant on race enough to be manipulated by hard-core racists, and to use racist ideas (Mexicans are rapists) to attract others, seeing no harm in it. As a leaders, he spreads racism.
It seems to me that the same is true for Sanders. Sanders is not an anti-Semite. He feels warm and cozy about Jews (and irritated), so he doesn’t see himself as an anti-Semite. But he is ignorant on Jews enough to be manipulated by hard-core anti-Semites, and to use anti-Semitic ideas (Israel oppresses Palestinians) to attract others, seeing no harm in it. As a leaders, he spreads Jews’ hatred.
Form the above, we can only conclude that Bernie Sanders is an anti-Semite. He will feel offended because he intends no harm to Jews. But he does. Not only does he exhibit extraordinary animosity against Israeli Jews – that would be one thing. He also doesn’t give them a fair hearing. If – G-d forbid – he becomes president of the US, he will be the worst – and we had some bad ones – in the history of Zionism.
This picture is as insane as the story in the Scroll of Esther. The ruling slightly-bigoted US president has two Orthodox Jews on his side, and loves Israel. His competitor in the next elections is a non-religious Jew who is a staunch ally of women, Blacks, you name them, but the Jews. If it would be in a book, play or movie, we would call its plot unrealistic.
Like in the Scroll of Esther, we will escape danger. Sanders will never win from Donald Trump, as I argued before. Thank G-d for small favors.