December 5, 2019 Press Releases

Statement on Senator Bernie Sanders’s refusal to call out antisemitism from an official campaign surrogate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 5, 2019

Contact: Rachel Rosen, [email protected]

STATEMENT ON SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS’S REFUSAL TO CALL OUT ANTISEMITISM FROM AN OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN SURROGATE

WASHINGTON, DC (December 5, 2019) – Democratic Majority for Israel President, Mark Mellman, issued the following statement in response to Senator Bernie Sanders’s reaction to recent antisemitic remarks by his “official” campaign surrogate Linda Sarsour:

“As Democrats committed to progressive values, we wish we could be praising Senator Bernie Sanders today for standing up to antisemitism.

Instead, we are deeply saddened and completely appalled to see Senator Sanders standing with antisemitism by remaining silent and retaining Linda Sarsour as an ‘official surrogate’ of his campaign after she made yet another antisemitic statement.

Friday, at the American Muslims for Palestine Convention, Linda Sarsour claimed that Israel is ‘built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else’ – a vicious, antisemitic lie that calls upon millennia-old stereotypes of Jewish superiority to undermine Israel and Zionism.

In fact, Israel is built on the idea that every people, including the Jewish people, is entitled to self-determination.

Sarsour sought to evade the controversy by issuing a non-apology for creating confusion.’ In fact, she was crystal clear, and she did not apologize for her vicious antisemitic statements, for trafficking in antisemitic language and stereotypes, or for maligning the identity of millions of American Jews.

She posted another tweet, defending her statement, labeling criticism of it ‘a further attempt to paint the left in USA & UK as antisemitic,’ apparently associating herself with British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is regarded as antisemitic by a majority of British voters and by 86% of British Jews.

In her convention address, Sarsour also reiterated her similarly reprehensible view that supporters of Israel should not be able to join progressive movements.

Senator Sanders acknowledged recently in an op-ed that ‘some criticism of Israel can cross the line into antisemitism,’ and he assured readers saying, ‘I will always call out antisemitism when I see it.’ It is deeply disheartening to see him remain silent in the face of unadulterated antisemitism coming from an official of his campaign.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, officially adopted by the Obama State Department, clearly states that ‘Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews,’ and ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor’ are antisemitic. Sarsour did both.

Sarsour was removed from the leadership of the Women’s March because of her long history of antisemitic remarks.

Democratic Majority for Israel made Senator Sanders aware of Sarsour’s history, in writing, immediately after he awarded her an official position with his campaign. We also privately urged him to publicly reject her comments yesterday but received no response and saw no action.”

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