In 1144 in Norwich, England, the world was formally introduced to the concept of a “Jewish Blood Libel”; the anti-Semitic practice of blaming the death of non-Jews on the Jewish people as a justification for persecuting the Jews. In the 12th century, the horrific myth was that Jews use the blood of Christian children in the Passover matza. Not only was this claim ludicrous on every level (the Torah prohibits us from consuming even the tiniest amount of blood), it was used as an excuse by anti-Semites to kill Jews at every opportunity.
Blood libels have continued for the last thousand years in one form or another, and culminated in the 20thcentury with the Holocaust. The practice emerges today in the words of “the squad” in Congress, in the disgusting recent comments of Michael Che on Saturday Night Live, and in the hate-filled rhetoric of the organizations of BLM and the Movement for Black Lives.
But never in history has this type of vitriolic anti-Semitic behavior been practiced by a Jew.
Enter Bernie Sanders, a man raised as a child in Brooklyn with a traditional Jewish education and Bar Mitzvah. No matter how he lives his life, as a man with a Jewish mother (his parents were Jewish Polish immigrants), Bernie Sanders is Jewish.
Which is why his virulent, self-hating anti-Semitism is so disgusting. It has been true throughout his career as he has consistently rejected Judaism and Judeo-Christian principles in favor of socialism. He has called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a “racist” and used every opportunity to divert American funding from Israel. He has sought and received the endorsements of hate-filled anti-Semites like Omar, Tlaib, and Keith Ellison. But he has now taken his self-loathing to a whole new level and has the honor of being the most self-hating Jewish anti-Semite in history.
He has recently made the blood libel claim that the nation of Israel is purposefully killing Palestinians. This is a blatant lie designed exclusively to promote anti-Semitism. Even the smallest amount of research would demonstrate Sanders’ lack of honesty and integrity. Although the Oslo accords were explicitly clear that health care in Gaza and the West Bank are the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority and the P.A.’s leader Mahmoud Abbas has made it clear that he does not want Israeli help with vaccinations, Crazy Bernie is promoting the idea that Israel is killing non-Jews by refusing to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine.
His blood libel lie is even more insidious than what was said in the 12th century, and because of his position on the national stage, it is even more dangerous.
And it is blatantly a lie. Although the Palestinians neither asked nor required them to do so, the Israelis have already vaccinated thousands of Palestinians and have just cemented an agreement to vaccinate another 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel. But the actual truth is inconvenient to the liar from Vermont as it won’t help him with his anti-Semitic supporters like Omar and Tlaib.
Exactly a year ago, I warned that Bernie Sanders would be the worst president in history for all people of faith, and especially for American Jews. Given his most recent adoption of the blood libel of blaming Jews for the deaths of non-Jews, Sanders has truly become the most powerful self-hating Jew in history (and that says a lot when we remember that Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky were both born Jewish).
It says volumes about someone when we see his deep self-hatred. It says even more about his lack of integrity when he promotes dangerous lies only in order to promote his own agenda of collecting personal political power. Whether you agree with his socialist politics or not, the people of Vermont and the people of this nation deserve a senator who does not live from a psychological place of self-loathing, and who is not willing to blatantly lie and condemn others in order to achieve more power.
If you are a Republican, I hope you will work hard to get Bernie Sanders out of public office. If you are a Democrat, I pray that you recognize the hatred inherent in this man and find someone with more integrity to take his place.
And I pray for the sake of all Americans that this anti-Semite, and all hate mongers like him, is removed from office and replaced with public officials of honesty and integrity, officials who are truly committed to serving all the citizens of this nation.
Rabbi Michael Barclay is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Ner Simcha, and the author of “Sacred Relationships: Biblical Wisdom for Deepening Our Lives Together.” He can be reached directly at [email protected]