The Buzz

Why Does Bernie Sanders Hate Israel?

During this election cycle, Ted Cruz may make better headway with the Jewish vote than Bernie Sanders.

According to Haaretz, Bernie Sanders just hired a twenty-six year-old pro-Palestine activist named Simone Zimmerman to perform outreach to Jewish voters. Born in Los Angeles and raised in a conservative Jewish household in Southern California, Zimmerman changed her tune when she matriculated at the University of California at Berkeley. Now Zimmerman is a proponent of BDS (short for Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions) a pro-Palestinian movement that purports to hold Israel accountable for its military occupation, racism, and other forms of discrimination towards Palestinians (fascinating how you can be an occupier in your own country). She is a perfect fit for the Sanders campaign, but will she be successful in winning over Jewish voters who are on the fence about Bernie?

This kind of hiring decision is consistent with Sanders’ left-wing radical sympathies which were well entrenched when he was mayor of Burlington in the 1980s. Despite the fact that Democratic and Republican aldermen griped that Sanders was taking away precious time from pressing city issues to rub shoulders with anti-American regimes in Central America, Sanders insisted that there was no “magic line” between local, federal, and international issues (they’re called “borders”). His critics correctly assessed that Sanders merely eyed Burlington as a stepping-stone to further his international socialist ambitions. Burlington in the 1980s was just too politically small and sleepy for Sanders: he was raised in Brooklyn when socialism reached its intellectual heyday among the elite. The core of the Jewish intellectual socialist elite had non-American origins and an extra-American agenda. Sanders would later boast of having a foreign policy in his 1997 memoir, but doesn’t brag as readily about the changes he made in his town in Vermont. Burlington has been an incubator for Sander’s socialist ideals, and he has been very successful in disseminating his message during his campaign.

It should be clear by now, if it isn’t already, that Bernie’s priorities are not based in securing America’s future in any economic or military sense. His response in one of the first debates that the greatest threats to national security is climate change demonstrates Sanders’s deliberate naiveté and unwillingness to engage in issues that may require him to step out of his leftist bubble. In Sanders’s mind, America and Israel are greedy imperialists­, a position that is held by some of our enemies. Sanders is blind to the fact that his beliefs require actions, and actions have consequences. What will happen if President Sanders and Kim Jong-un agree on America’s place in the world?

Bernie Sanders is polling exceptionally well with the young because his stances—especially those on foreign policy—are consistent with those of a college student. In the world of professional politics, a mayor of Burlington is a college-student kind of position. Burlington is a college town. But Sanders doesn’t seem to realize that the stakes are a lot higher now. College is over, and it’s time to move into the professional world—a world with no guarantees, increased complexity, and no professor to give you feedback that you can dismiss as bourgeois. College students, for all their claims to upset the status quo, tend not to challenge professors on ideology. They haven’t learned enough of it yet. And they’re Bernie’s ticket to the Democratic nomination if he maintains his winning streak.

Marjorie Romeyn-Sanabria is assistant managing editor at The National Interest. Follow her on Twitter @marjorieromeyn