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Democratic Party and Israel

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Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Refuse to Attend AIPAC

March 22nd 2019

Washington K Street NW

On Wednesday, the radically left wing MoveOn political organization released the results of a member survey which found that more than 74% of MoveOn members who responded agree or strongly agree with the statement that “any progressive vying to be the Democratic nominee for President should skip the AIPAC conference.”

According to Iram Ali, campaign director at MoveOn: “The influx of progressive candidates confirming they will not attend––even those who have gone in years past––shows how the momentum is shifting. AIPAC is clearly a partisan lobbying group that has undermined diplomatic efforts and progressives want no part in it.”

Sanders has gone on the record in expressing his antipathy for Israel and his support for a Palestinian state as part of a long-range peace plan in the Middle East.

Recently, the JNS wire service reported that soon after declaring his second run for president, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hired two senior advisers with anti-Israel backgrounds.

Campaign manager Faiz Shakir and foreign-policy adviser Matthew Duss have been accused of furthering anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during their tenure at the left-wing think-tank Center for American Progress (CAP), reported The Washington Free Beacon.

They allegedly were part of CAP’s 2012 anti-Semitic incident where several staffers at the center’s ThinkProgress website, which Shakir served as editor-in-chief, were condemned for using anti-Semitic tropes of Jews dominating politics and money.

The staffers alleged “pro-Israel Jews and members of Congress of being ‘Israel firsters,’ a term implying that those who support the Jewish state have dual loyalties,” according to the Free Beacon.

The row caused the firing and departure of several ThinkProgress writers.

At the time, Duss was CAP’s Middle East director, which has been known to be a stronghold for anti-Israel propaganda. Duss faced backlash for publicizing Nazi-era propaganda posters in 2013.

“The scandal rocked CAP for several months and drew condemnation across the board, including from the Obama administration, which distanced itself from Duss, Shakir, and the rest of Think Progress’s former staff,” according to the Free Beacon.

Moreover, Shakir, as the American Civil Liberties Union’s national political director, led the charge to challenge anti-BDS legislation, citing a violation of the First Amendment—a notion that has been debunked by many, including the courts.

“Current law allows governments to not do business with people who boycott various groups including gays,” Eugene Kontorovich, a legal expert with the Kohelet Policy Forum and George Mason Law School, told JNS. “Boycotting Israel is no different.”

“Anti-Semitism is becoming a major faction within the Democrat Party, as we have seen with Rep. Omar recently,” Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak told JNS. “The fact that a leading presidential candidate like Bernie Sanders would employ two anti-Semites in senior roles on his presidential campaign is appalling. This is no coincidence. It’s intentional.”

“It is profoundly tragic that these two individuals with clear and definite histories of trucking in anti-Semitic rhetoric, even to the point of having been chastised for their ugly viewpoints have found a welcome home within Senator Sanders’s presidential campaign,” Sarah Stern, Endowment for Middle East Truth founder and president, told JNS. “This clearly demonstrates that within the progressive wing of the democratic party the taboo against anti-Semitism has been eroded.”

“It is deeply distressing that these two individuals, who even were censured in the past for their deeply anti-Semitic, Judeophobic and anti-Israel views, are taking a leading role in a major presidential campaign,” she continued. “Senator Sanders’s decision to elevate them to positions of prominence within his campaign sends a deeply troubling message.”


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