I try to not get involved in the current American election process. The truth is that what I say or what I do is irrelevant since I’m not an American citizen and I don’t have the right to choose the leaders of that country. And I also think it’s a bit presumptuous and rude of me to tell people who they should or shouldn’t vote for.
But sometimes there are things that happen that transcend mere politics. There are things that matter less about political affiliations and more about human affiliations. There are things that do not count in the ballot box of politics, but rather in the ballot box of life.
And I came across one of those things yesterday when I read that Bernie Sanders, the Jewish presidential candidate, appointed another Jew, to act as his Jewish outreach director for his campaign. But he didn’t just appoint any Jewish person. He appointed a Jewish person, Simone Zimmerman, who for all intents and purposes is about as anti-Jewish as any anti-Semite could hope for.
Because during the Gaza war of 2014, when rockets rained down on the innocent civilians of Israel, when people had mere seconds to run to a bomb shelter, when civilians and soldiers died, ambushed by Hamas tunnels of terror, she decided to protest. But she did not protest in the streets of New York against the indiscriminate targeting of civilians – her fellow Jews. She did not protest against the United Nations who constantly single out Israel while ignoring all Arab terrorism. She chose to protest outside the offices of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. She chose to protest against the victims of terrorism, not the proponents of it.
She also supports Jewish Voice for Peace – an organisation that actively supports the BDS movement and is listed by the Anti-Defamation League as one of the top 10 anti-Israel hate groups in America.
The problem is the occupation, she says. And the problem is racism in Israeli society. And the problem is the “grave injustices committed by the Jewish State.” She says all this while ignoring everything that is done against Israel, the terrorism it faces daily, the anti-Semitism that adorns the hallways of the United Nations, and the indiscriminate malicious slander and hypocrisy that is practiced against it.
She is either grossly naïve or incredibly evil, because the occupation she pretends to talk about is very different to the occupation that her fellow members in crime talk about. Because Israel’s enemies do not talk about the occupation of Judea and Samaria. They do not care either way if the line in the sand is drawn here or there. Their idea of occupation is the entire area of the land known as the State of Israel. And the only way to end that occupation is the destruction of the State of Israel.
But you truly have to wonder about Bernie Sanders. A Jew, who says he’s a proud Jew, yet appoints people who strive to do everything in their power to end the only Jewish country on earth. He appointed a woman who actively supports a movement who want the destruction of Israel. He uses figures of 10000 civilians killed by Israel when even Hamas haven’t come up with a number even close to that. He talks about the oh-so-tiresome “disproportionate response” and yet where in war is it a requirement that you must defend your people a little less so that they can die a little more just to even up the numbers?
And you also have to wonder about his supporters, such as the social media group, Jews for Bernie, led by a man called Daniel Sieradski who praised Hamas and justified their attacks against Israel.
If these are the kind of people who gravitate towards Bernie’s campaign, it shows a deeply troubling and flawed judgement on his part from a Jewish perspective. Now, it’s true that Simone Zimmerman’s appointment has just recently been suspended by his office, pending investigation into a foul-mouthed tirade and attack on Benjamin Netanyahu, but the fact that she was even appointed in the first place, and the fact that Bernie, who is campaigning for the most powerful leadership position in the world, makes up numbers of casualties that bear no resemblance to the truth has got to make you wander about him.
But besides Bernie, and besides the American elections, and besides all the reports we are reading in the media, lies something that is beyond mere politics. Today in the world anti-Semitism is running rampant reportedly at levels not seen since the dark days of the 1930s and 1940s. And here we have Jews, part of a world Jewish population numbering around 14 million, who are actively working or supporting organisations that want to end the one place of sanctity for Jews in the world. They hold themselves up as proponents of justice, yet in reality they serve as nothing more than useful idiots – to be showcased as some trophy that can be used against Israel. Look…see… these Jews are against Israel…
They are Hunger Games contestants, held up and swooned over and treated like heroes by the anti-Israel establishments to justify the unjustifiable, to attack the defenders of freedom rather than defend them, to wreak havoc on the world of order and replace it with chaos, to be that “good Jew” who sees Israel as a by-gone relic of colonialism and Zionism as a racist form of nationalism. They’ve turned their back on their heritage and their people to pursue a justice that lives in the mirage of their minds, rather than in the reality on the ground.
“We’re paying attention to what’s happening in Israel — and we are angry,” Simone Zimmerman says.
Well, many of us are also paying attention to what’s happening in Israel – and also the world – and we’re damn angry too. Because when people like Simone Zimmerman choose to view Israel through a skewed prism of hatred, brainwashed by a warped sense of “social justice” that doesn’t exist, she chooses deliberately to take on a path that is the exact opposite of the so-called justice she claims to pursue.
We are living at a time in history right now when there are physical and violent attacks against Jews across Israel and the world. We are living at a time in history when the very legitimacy of the State of Israel is being challenged and therefore the very legitimacy of the Jewish people to live freely as well, including herself.
But just as there’ll always be those Jews who somehow feel that to gain legitimacy from their peers, they must pursue actions that jeopardize their own existence and security and pursue a path against their own people, there will also likewise be those Jews who will fight for those very ideals that others find so abhorrent.
And it doesn’t matter how strong the forces of darkness may gather around us. It doesn’t matter about the lies that are spread about us. It doesn’t matter about the many attempts to erase our history.
Because we will fight for our justice, for our honour, for our integrity and for our truth.
And we will continue to fight for our people and our place in this world.