The American vice president didn’t hold anything back in a speech to “pro-Israel, pro-peace” progressive lobby J Street on Monday night. Berating the Netanyahu administration he turned to Stav Shaffir, the Israeli Labor Party’s millennial darling, and said, “May your views again be the majority in the Knesset.” (They haven’t been the majority for quite a while thanks, in large part, to Labor’s relationship with American Democrats. But, that’s an irony for another day.)
Biden also used the platform to credit J Street for helping to push the Iran deal through Congress.
Biden’s address to the organization that champions the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) and End the Occupation movements couldn’t have been better timed for the Clinton campaign. His remarks came only days after the Sanders campaign suspended its Jewish outreach coordinator, Simone Zimmerman, for previously publishing a profanity-laced rant about Netanyahu on social media. Zimmerman is a former J Street U National Student Board president.
Zimmerman’s suspension from the Sanders campaign sparked outrage among Jewish millennials who have dubbed Hillary Clinton an “establishment” Democrat, proudly proclaiming, “Bernie or bust.” Standing at the far Left end of the political spectrum, the proudly socialist contingent represents a small but loud percentage of the Jewish vote. They also represent a faction that, unlike their ideological predecessors, does not believe socialism can co-exist with Zionism.
Despite his performance in the most recent Democratic debate, the Sanders campaign quickly suspended Zimmerman, hoping to quell notions of radical anti-Israelism in the wake of what promises to be a contentious, “make-or-break” primary in a state with a significant Jewish population.
Was Biden’s speech an 11th hour move in Hillary’s favor? According to J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami, both Democrats made statements “incredibly aligned with J Street.” J Street U members may support Sanders in droves, but J Street’s board and donors are financially backing and ideologically aligned with the Hillary campaign.
It would seem, then, that each candidate is one side of the same coin. They also reflect a growing anti-Israel cancer within the Democrat Party:
At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, delegates lustily booed officials who reinstated in the party platform a recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at odds with the United States’ official position that the city’s status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians.
Protesting Israel’s policies and advocating boycotts to pressure its government are practically electives for liberal college students furious about the growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In Washington, relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are acrid, and last year more than 50 members of the Democratic caucus boycotted Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in which he criticized Mr. Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
Should anyone be surprised at the millennial support for Sanders, particularly the support generated from the anti-Zionist wing of the socialist movement? No, especially not if you’re a Democrat. Yet, there is a certain segment of the Party faithful, many of them Jews, that fears the “Bernie or bust” Monster they created.
Given the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist ideology that fuels these Sanders supporters, they should be.
Image via the Daily Caller.