Jan 28, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER

At a virtual event commemorating the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history, Bernie Sanders turned to focus towards white supremacy, a crime that Sanders claimed does not exclusively target Jews and is, in fact, perpetrated by the Jewish State.

Bend The Arc Tree of Life Event

Bend the Arc (BTA), a progressive Jewish political organization hosted a virtual event titled “We Rise: National Solidarity Gathering” commemorating the two-year anniversary of the mass shooting that took place at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 11 people were killed in the shooting and six were wounded.

Senator Bernie Sanders was invited to speak at the event. Sanders began his address by claiming a personal connection.

“I am a proud Jewish American. My father emigrated from Poland to the United States in 1921 at the age of 17 to escape the poverty and widespread anti-Semitism in his home country,” Mr. Sanders said. “Those in his family who remained in Poland after Hitler came to power were murdered by the Nazis.

Sanders then proceeded to expand anti-Semitism as to include threats to all races and to democracy itself.

“I know very well where white supremacy leads and what can happen when people do not speak up against it,” Mr. Sanders said. “We have to be clear that while anti-Semitism is a threat to Jews everywhere, it is also a threat to democratic governance itself. 

“Today we see the rise of a very dangerous political ideology that targets Jews, that targets blacks, that targets Latinos, that targets the gay community, that targets religious minorities-anyone who does not fit the dangerous vision of white supremacy. 

Sanders then included Israel as a hotbed of anti-Semitism and white supremacy.

“We have to be clear that while antisemitism is a threat to Jews everywhere, it is also a threat to Democratic governance itself; all over the world, in Russia, in India, in Brazil, in Hungary, in Israel, and elsewhere. We see this rise of a divisive and destructive form of politics.

Sanders may have been referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who he has called a “reactionary racist.”

“We see intolerant authoritarian political leaders attacking the very foundations of democratic societies,” Sanders continued. “These leaders exploit people’s fears by amplifying resentments, stoking intolerance, and inciting hatred against ethnic and religious minorities, fanning hostility toward democratic norms and a free press, and promoting constant paranoia about foreign plots. 

“They don’t just hate Jews. They hate the idea of multiracial democracy. They hate the idea of political equality. They hate immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people, women, and anyone else who stands in the way of their bigotry and racist ideology. 

Sanders then cited a “tradition of Jewish social justice.”

“I say this with no joy in my heart but we Jews understand the danger better than most. But we also have a tradition that points the way forward. I am a proud member of the tradition of Jewish social justice. And I am so inspired when I see so many Jewish people picking up this banner, especially the younger generation who are helping to lead a revival of progressive values in our country. They see the fight against anti-Semitism as connected to the fight against bigotry and oppression, not only in our own country but throughout the world. They are part of a broad coalition of activists from many different backgrounds who believe very deeply, as I always have, that we are all in this together as human beings. 

Of course, Sanders concluded by saying that the presidential elections were, for the Democratic party, a stand against the type of hatred that killed the 11 Jews in the Tree of life synagogue. 

“Today, we pause to mourn the 11 beautiful people who were murdered two years ago in that holy place. Tomorrow, we dedicate ourselves to build a country that embodies the values of equality, democracy, and dignity for all people. And we will stand together and say loudly and clearly on November 3 that we will never ever be intimidated by those who try to make us afraid of each other. 

Muslims and Never-Trumpers

The event also featured Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a Muslim, who has been highly critical of Israel. Ellison also has had ties with Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam since 1990 but renounced Farrakhan in 2016 due to his blatant anti-Semitism.

The partisan nature of the event was brought into the open by Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh’s volunteer leader Jonathan Mayo, who lives near the synagogue. 

“People like Donald Trump and those who support him would like nothing more for us to turn inward and not reach out to anyone else. That’s how they win,” Mr. Mayo said. “But we can win as long as we continue to reach out to everybody … there’s much more that brings us together than divides us.” 

According to Bend the Arc, more than 6,000 people attended the online event.

Bend the Arc: Jewish but Not

Unlike most left-wing organizations, BTA does not deal with issues related to Israel. BTA has been noted for its work protesting the policies of the administration of President Trump. It is interesting to note that Alex Soros, the son of billionaire George Soros, was a board director on Bend the Arc’s first political action committee, which he personally funded. Several of the heads of the organization have close working relationships with Soros and his left-wing superfund, the Open Society Foundation.

In July, BTA held an event for Tisha B’Av, the Jewish holy day commemorating the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem.  The event was announced on BTA’s website without any mention of the Temples, Jerusalem, Torah, Bible, or Judaism. Instead, BTA stated that the focus of the Jewish holiday was to combat racism.