Saturday, April 16, 2016

For Zion's Sake: Don't let Sanders off the hook

Daniel Tauber, Jerusalem Post Israel News

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He is a long-serving US senator, who seeks the Democratic nomination for president and whose words influence the public and certainly his own supporters. ... 
But there are some who would write off his dangerous and shocking statements in that interview with the New York Daily News – in which he claimed among other things that Israel killed 10,000 innocent Palestinians in the summer of 2014. Sanders later said he’d merely made a mistake about the figure, that should be forgiven, as a mistake made by a child or an amateur would be.
The Anti-Defamation League, the primary Jewish organization which publicly demanded that Sanders issue a correction, appears to have taken this approach. It “welcomed” Sanders’ statement that he accepted the much lower number of deaths in Gaza mentioned by one of the Daily News interviewers later on in the interview.
The ADL’s attitude is essentially this: Sanders confused some numbers and then accepted he was wrong. It could happen to anyone. ...
This was not just a misfired synapse or a lack of precise information. It was a presumption about who is terrorizing who in the conflict between democratic Israel and Palestinian terrorists.
This is not something that a little education can fix, as Sanders’ appointment of new Jewish outreach director, Simone Zimmerman, has confirmed. (In a recent op-ed in Haaretz, she wrote, “No public relations trick can save Israel’s image. The problem isn’t with the hasbara [public diplomacy]”). Sanders himself is no ignoramus. He’s a political veteran and like Zimmerman, an idealist with a definite world view. Israel just does not figure too highly in that world view.
In the Daily News interview, Sanders said he thought Israel should be recognized as a Jewish state.
But when asked why, he didn’t say, as even President Barack Obama has said, that the Jewish people need a state of their own or that Israel is their ancestral homeland.
Instead, Sanders replied, “that’s the status quo.” ...
The writer is an attorney admitted to practice law in Israel and New York.

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