My grandparents’ generation in the United States opened the newspaper in the morning, scanned every headline, and asked themselves, “Is this good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?” This instinct, honed by centuries of persecution and attempted extermination, was neither an expression of divided loyalties nor a dilution of their patriotism. It was born out of an existential concern for the safety of their families.
Over time, this question fell out of fashion as anti-Semitism in America dissipated. But in the wake of the shooting at “Tree of Life” in Pittsburgh, and increasing instances of anti-Semitic vandalism, this anxiety is beginning to return.
Now, 2020 voters who care about US-Israel relations are faced with a choice. Many find Donald Trump despicable, and they are sick of being embarrassed by him on the world stage. And yet, they fear that some of the loudest and youngest voices in the Democratic Party, few though they might be, portend an irreversible anti-Israel shift for the Dems.
The choice, however, is far clearer than this “lesser of two evils” illusion. President Trump’s record of public anti-Semitic rhetoric, including his recent questioning of Jewish loyalty, is an unprecedented departure from the stance taken by previous presidents of both parties.
My own parents fled anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and came to the United States in search of freedom and prosperity. My family has been deeply disoriented by the rising tide of nationalism spurned by the alt-right and Donald Trump’s rhetoric.
Presidential candidate and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), however, represents a new generation of Democratic leaders committed to strong support for Israel and fierce opposition to anti-Semitism. He remains firmly committed to fighting anti-Semitism and to maintaining our country’s unbreakable bond with Israel.
Unlike some of his colleagues in congress, Senator Bennet has repeatedly supported US funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. He has supported several bills aimed at dampening the flames of BDS and other anti-Israel vitriol, including the Israel Anti-Boycott Act and the Combatting BDS Act.
He has also spoken out against the endless barrage of anti-Israel resolutions churned out by the UN General Assembly. Bennet joined a group of legislators, who drafted a letter to the European Union, opposing the EU’s policy of labeling products manufactured in the West Bank and Gaza.
Even as Bennet challenged the timing and execution of President Trump’s unilateral decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, he reaffirmed Jerusalem’s place as the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish state. He said unequivocally, “As for many years, Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel.”
Lastly, according to traditional Jewish law, Michael Bennet would be the first Jewish president of the United States. He is the child of a Jewish Holocaust survivor. His mother was smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto as a child, and the memory of her trauma continues to inform his understanding of the world he inhabits.
Bennet understands that Israel is a home not only for the Jewish people, but for people of all faiths and backgrounds. It is a destination for tourists and pilgrims from across the globe, and must be safeguarded as a peaceful, progressive, pluralistic democracy. His family history left him with a steadfast commitment to the crucial importance of the Jewish state. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Bennet said, “Israel is the one essential country on the planet.”
He is, by no means, a one issue candidate, and his policy platform prioritizes the most urgent challenges facing the American people. His successful tenure as superintendent of the Denver public schools has given him firsthand knowledge of the stagnation facing our public education systems.
Respected commentators on both sides of the aisle, including George Will and Joe Scarborough, have praised Bennet for his policy proposals including a health plan that will grant universal healthcare without bankrupting the American taxpayer.
Michael Bennet’s ten years in the senate have proven both his unwavering support for the strategic relationship between the United States and Israel, and his keen eye for American domestic policy solutions. American voters who care about a strong America and a strong US-Israel relationship can feel confident with Michael Bennet in the White House.