Democratic Candidates Avoid AIPAC as Their Party’s Anti-Semitism Grows

February 28, 2020 Updated: March 1, 2020
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Commentary

With two Jews running for president for the first time in the history of the Democratic Party, it would seem odd to accuse that party of anti-Semitism, but it’s hard to deny it has been there for years—remember the eruption over Israel–Palestine at the Dems’ 2012 convention—and is growing.

Needless to say, this is occurring under the mantle of anti-Israel/anti-Zionism, but that bogus veneer has long been debunked as an obvious cover for bigotry.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) made that abundantly clear when she defined the U.S.–Israel alliance as being “about the Benjamins.”

Indeed, it at first appeared that of the five current Democratic candidates for president, only Michael Bloomberg would attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on March 1 and 2, a complete reversal of historic behavior.

Pete Buttigieg—putatively a moderate—announced he wouldn’t go, and quondam leftist Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) followed the Twitter admonition to #skipAIPAC a while back.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) had originally declared her intention to bypass the event, although she eventually changed her mind—under who knows what pressure—and finally agreed to address the conference via video.

Similarly, mainline Democratic Party standard Joe Biden was unwilling to commit until he too promised a video-only appearance.

This is particularly ironic since, over the years, AIPAC—despite trying to be impartial—has tilted Democratic, and Republicans have sometimes felt unwelcome at the annual conclave.

It goes without saying the other Jewish candidate, Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, is not going to be there. After all, the Vermont senator has, on multiple occasions, accused the Israeli government of being racist. (These same “racists” are currently among the leaders in saving the entire world medically from the coronavirus pandemic—not very racist of them.)

One wonders the depth of these candidates’ knowledge of the Middle East conflict in general or if they are just pandering to an increasingly anti-Semitic constituency.

Last-minute “attendee” Klobuchar didn’t even know the name of the president of Mexico, our second-biggest trading partner, so my guess is the intricacies of the Arab–Israeli negotiations would be, excuse the reference, Chinese to her.

Doubtless, she and most of the others are at best vaguely aware then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians virtually everything they asked for in 2008 and Abbas never replied, leading one to believe that the Palestinians—their leadership anyway—were never really interested in a two-state solution in the first place.

It also calls into question the Oslo process that has failed now for more than 25 years, despite the efforts of many well-meaning people.

But never mind. This isn’t about the truth. This is about seeming “progressive,” i.e., supporting the supposedly legitimate grievances of oppressed Third World people even, if it must, including Hezbollah and Hamas. That’s the organization that chants “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas!” at demonstrations, lest we English speakers are unclear on where they stand.

Sanders, a man who claims to be proud he is Jewish, stands on podiums not only with those who back or shrug their shoulders at Hamas, but also with the likes of Linda Sarsour, who was banned by leftwing feminists, of all groups, for her overt anti-Semitism. He further stood with an imam who publicly called for the destruction of Israel.

This isn’t new. Back when it came to supporting the imprisoned Soviet Jews during the era of the refuseniks, Sanders was silent. It’s hard not to see that stance as his sympathies for communism override what should have been opposition to the most heinous human rights abuses. The ends justify the means, I suppose.

These same sympathies for communist totalitarianism have pervaded his career to this day. We know how he has excused Castro, Ortega, and both Chavez and Maduro of Venezuela.

It’s hard to imagine him at AIPAC. How would the audience have reacted? I hope they wouldn’t have welcomed him. It’s probably good that he wasn’t there.

More importantly, what does this mean for the Jewish vote in 2020. Historically, it has been radically in favor of the Democrats—roughly 70 to 30—except for during the Reagan administration, when somewhat more Jews voted Republican.

Should Sanders win the nomination, it will be interesting to see how Jews respond. Trump has done more for Israel than any president since Truman, who was the first to recognize the state. The Israelis love and acknowledge this; American Jews, not so much.

Can this change? Will this change? As we all know, old habits die hard.

Roger L. Simon is The Epoch Times’ senior political columnist. His most recent novel is “The GOAT.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.