Israel Should Worry: Democratic Presidential Candidates Cave to Socialists Over AIPAC

March 4, 2020 Updated: March 4, 2020
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Commentary

The U.S. hard-left is well on the way to eliminating any remaining support for the State of Israel among the Democratic Party leadership.

A long-term campaign of persuasion, pressure, and intimidation has caused even comparatively moderate Democrats to distance themselves from the Jewish state. Israel, a major recipient of U.S. military aid, has long relied on bi-partisan support in the U.S. Congress. Given the rapidly increasing socialist influence at all levels of the Democratic Party, those days could be coming to an end.

The latest Democratic Party leaders to buckle under leftist pressure are now-former presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Both announced on Feb. 26 that they would not attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference due to be held March 1 and 2 in Washington, D.C.

Candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren had already bowed out earlier in the week.

For decades, both leading Democrats and Republicans have attended the annual policy conference led by AIPAC. This snubbing of the premier pro-Israel event on the Washington, D.C., calendar by several Democratic presidential contenders is no doubt being noted with deep concern in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

According to Common Dreams, “Jewish-led activist group IfNotNow credited its #SkipAIPAC campaign—which it’s leading with MoveOn, Indivisible, and the Working Families Party … — with convincing Buttigieg and Klobuchar to skip the conference.”

Said IfNotNow co-founder Dani Moscovitch in a statement: “This is a watershed moment and a major victory against the bigotry that AIPAC has legitimized for decades. …

“Even moderates in the Democratic Party are now refusing to attend a conference by a right-wing lobby that allies with bigots just to shield the Israeli government from any consequences for denying the Palestinian people freedom and dignity.”

“Because of grassroots pressure, the tide is turning,” IfNotNow tweeted.

Far-left journalist Glenn Greenwald said in a tweet that the shunning of AIPAC solidifies its status as “a fringe, right-wing, radioactive rogue organization.”

According to Common Dreams, MoveOn senior political adviser Dan Kalik stated:

“Thank you Senators Warren, Sanders, and Klobuchar, and Mayor Pete for standing by your values and choosing to #SkipAIPAC. No candidates should be pandering to AIPAC, which spent millions in an attempt to defeat the Iran Nuclear Deal and continues to give a platform to Islamophobes and bigots.”

IfNotNow was founded in 2014 after Israel’s successful Operation Protective Edge (OPE) against Hamas, a U.S. State Department-designated Middle Eastern terror group.

IfNotNow claims to consist of “young Jews angered by the overwhelmingly hawkish response of American Jewish institutions” to OPE.

In reality it is a hard-left anti-Israel activist group bent on ending U.S. military and economic support for one of this country’s most important allies.

“It is time to end the blank check and for our tax dollars to stop funding the Israeli occupation,” said IfNotNow leader Moscovitch in the aforementioned statement.

IfNotNow grew out of the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011–2012. Many of its leaders were also active in Momentum, an activist training group with links to the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (now known as Liberation Road), a “post Maoist” organization with ties to China, Cuba, and several foreign and domestic revolutionary movements.

Many of Momentum’s leading activists came out of Liberation Road and Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)-linked student groups, especially the Pennsylvania Student Power Network. Prominent Massachusetts IfNotNow members Rebecca Hornstein and Jonathon Feinberg are both well-known “Road” cadre.

IfNotNow has conducted multiple protests, sit-ins, and propaganda stunts against Israeli interests in the last six years. Like Liberation Road, IfNotNow operates an inside/outside strategy. The organization constantly tries to pressure the Democratic Party in an anti-Israel direction, while simultaneously trying to influence senior party figures from the inside.

In April 2016, Bernie Sanders’ first presidential campaign suspended IfNotNow co-founder Simone Zimmerman just two days after it hired her as an adviser, the Huffington Post reported.

Zimmerman sparked American Jewish outrage when a year-old Facebook post emerged in which she swore at Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and described him as “arrogant, deceptive, cynical” and “manipulative,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Yonah Lieberman, who co-founded IfNotNow with Zimmerman and others, fired back, telling the Huffington Post:

“The smear campaign being waged against Simone Zimmerman is a reflection of how out-of-touch the American Jewish establishment is with the Jewish community. …

“This is not the first sign of this disconnect — it just the most blatant example of the American Jewish establishment trying to intimidate and silence young people acting on the very Jewish values we were taught by our community. … The Jewish establishment won’t stand for anyone criticizing Israel — no matter the truth or reason. When young Jews call for freedom and dignity for the Palestinians, the establishment can only respond with intimidation and fear.”

Another IfNotNow co-founder, Max Berger, started a #IStandWithSimone hashtag campaign on Twitter.

In 2019, Berger also came under fire while working for the Elizabeth Warren presidential campaign as her “director for progressive partnerships.”

A 2013 tweet resurfaced in which Berger had stated “I would totally be friends with Hamas.”

Candidate Warren calmed the ensuing concern by assuring Jewish groups that Berger “wouldn’t be working on Middle East policy,” according to Mondoweiss.

Berger had been involved in Occupy Wall Street and Justice Democrats, the organization that “manufactured ” DSA comrade and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Berger also has ties to the DSA and was consulted in the formation of Liberation Road satellite organization LeftRoots.

Both the DSA and Liberation Road are militantly opposed to Israeli government policy regarding the so-called “occupied territories” and support moves to economically and culturally isolate Israel.

Now this tiny group of radicals is able to shame Democratic presidential contenders into turning their backs on the Democratic Party’s 70-year history of support for Israel.

Shame on Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar for buckling to pressure from the Anti-Israel far-left—or worse still covertly sympathizing with them.

Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics. He is best known for his book “Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress” and his similarly themed documentary film “Enemies Within.” His soon-to-be published book is “White House Reds: Communists, Socialists & Security Risks Running for U.S. President, 2020.”

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