The ‘Sympathies’ of Bernie Sanders…

I think it important to first make clear that I neither support nor would vote for Bernie Sanders. I do not believe Sanders is the man for any more jobs in American government and certainly not one in the White House. Sanders, not unlike Trump, will say about anything to both incite and excite his core audience. Also not unlike Trump, Sanders is not a ‘Friend of Israel.’ With this, Sanders and Trump are fundamentally different sides of the same deeply dysfunctional political coin.

An important difference between them, however, is that Sanders subverts and panders to and from the Left while Trump subverts and panders to and from the Right. Specifically on Israel, Sanders’ core audiences include BDS alliances, millennial ‘anti-Zionist Jews,’ pro-Palestinian activists and angry members of the Diaspora who can no longer stand the politics, policies and direction of the re-elected Israeli government.

Trump’s focus and primary audiences for Israel is through and on behalf the Israeli hard Right, Evangelicals, Christian Zionists and the Militant christian Right with – always – a definitive nod to White Nationalist and Christian Supremacist groups.

But despite it all, this doesn’t change the important reality that Netanyahu is, in fact, racist or that Netanyahu drives an oppressive hard right government. It also doesn’t change the reality that Netanyahu is now more than ever only focused on his day job while desperately trying to avoid a guilty court verdict at about any cost even if that includes Israel’s future.

Netanyahu has used virulent racist incitement and imagery as an horrific electoral strategy. Netanyahu has desperately and actively drawn in the most virulently and violently racist Israeli groups to include a political party which had previously been banned by the Knesset. The only ‘vision’ by Israel’s hard Right governing coalition is their own day-to-day survival along with individual positioning and competition for their own power.

But like it or not, the Palestinians are part of Israel’s future and must be responded to without the constant shared incitement and ethnic/racial hatred. And unless Israel ultimately wants to be overwhelmed by Palestinian voters, a two-state solution or, at the least, some form of authentic national Palestinian sovereignty will need to happen – soon.

That Israel truly does not currently have viable partners among the leadership of either the PA or Hamas is true. But this reality doesn’t change facts on the ground or Israel’s foremost responsibility and need to find a resolution. The Palestinians are not leaving but, I believe, Palestinian (and Israeli) citizens are still reachable. The Territories cannot remain under Israeli occupation indefinitely. And Netanyahu is definitely not the man for this so desperately important job

I’ve lived in Israel. I follow closely and am an extremely strong supporter of Israel. The current status quo cannot and must not continue. If it does, it will be at Israel’s primary and spiraling cost.

For the record, I do not support any BDS movement. At the same time, I think that state and federal legislation which presumes to ‘outlaw’ BDS organizing and efforts is not only remarkably counterproductive but, most likely, unconstitutional. Such a deeply illiberal Israeli government with Netanyahu at the helm should expect a constant backlash.

Dismissing it all as ‘Antisemitism’ and/or ‘anti-Israel’ is neither sustainable nor accurate. And even those many elements which are driven by anti-Semitic or anti-Israel beliefs get still more fodder by the practices and policies of Netanyahu and his governing coalition. And – yes – this is relevant.

Regardless of one’s political perspective on Netanyahu, it would seem hard to argue that neither he nor his governing coalition has offered any authentic or functional future vision for either the security or stability of the State of Israel. All-About-Bibi politics will continue to degrade Israel’s present and future reality. We will have little success against Hamas, the PA or Iran individually or combined unless we first take care of our own House.

My deepest concern is that the House of Israel will crumble even more rapidly if change continues to fail.

Accurately representing rather than blankly defending the indefensible represented by Netanyahu and his governing coalition must come first. Opposing Netanyahu is not opposing Israel but, instead, shows the strongest concern and support for the Present and Future Israel. Netanyahu is not Israel but just one single deeply corrupted Prime Minister who has long overstayed his welcome and relevance.

That my ‘sympathies’ always start with, prioritizes and focuses on Israel means I understand that the status quo cannot be maintained either unilaterally or for very much longer. What do you think? This reality based discussion – must – be had honestly and now.

About the Author
I was born in Baltimore, MD and have since had a wide range of experiences including a year plus in Israel. I've been a progressive organizer, writer/media spokesperson, coordinator and freelance. I am a PhD level Clinical Behavioral Analyst specializing in severe behavioral need in children (and adults) and their families. I write through no ‘agenda or special interest’ other than being a passionate supporter of Israel and Israel's future.
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