Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, continued in his tradition of truth-talking when he boldly told the annual Washington conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Senator and the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential candidacy, is an “ignorant fool” and a “liar.”
“Whoever calls the prime minister of Israel a ‘racist’ is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both,” Danon said. “We don’t want Sanders at AIPAC. We don’t want him in Israel.”
Sanders was not present to hear the rebuke since he chose not to attend, claiming the pro-Israel organization provides a “platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.” It should be noted that Israeli Palestinians will be voting in the national elections on Monday, a right that has been denied Palestinians by their own government for the past 15 years. It should also be noted that Christian Arabs are persecuted in areas supervised by the PA and Jews are not permitted to enter those areas.
Sanders’ ire seems particularly focused on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who he described as a “reactionary racist” in the Democrat debates last week.
Sanders responded to Danon on an interview with CBS News Face the Nation. Host Margaret Brennan asked Sanders: “Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. says of you, that you’re not welcome in that country, and ‘anyone who calls our Prime Minister a racist is either a liar or an ignorant fool or both.’ Do you see a political cost of taking on the pro-Israel lobby in this way?”
“Yes I do,” Sanders replied. “They have a lot of money and they have a lot of power,” Sanders said, resorting to a classic anti-Semitic trope.
“Look, I’m Jewish and I’m very proud of my Jewish heritage,” Sanders continued. “I am not anti-Israel…but what we need in this country is a foreign policy that not only protects Israel but deals with the suffering of the Palestinian people as well.”
Sanders also claimed in the interview that he was proud of [his] Jewish heritage.”
Though he has made this claim many times during his campaign, it is unclear what he means by this. If he wins the national election, Sanders will become the first president to have been born Jewish, though this does not seem to affect his policies concerning Israel or his personal life. Sanders’s second and current wife, Jane O’Meara Driscoll, is Catholic. In 1988, the day after their wedding, the couple visited the Soviet Union as part of an official delegation in his capacity as mayor. This was at the height of the oppression of Jews in the Soviet Union, a point that did not seem to bother Sanders at the time.
Even if Sanders becomes the first Jewish U.S. president, Donald Trump will still be the first and only U.S. president to have Jewish children (Ivanka) and grandchildren. Sanders’s only child, Levi Sanders, was born out of wedlock to Susan Campbell Mott. Mott isn’t Jewish so according to Jewish law, Levi is not Jewish.
Sanders was born a Jew but much of his campaign support comes from virulently anti-Israel personalities, like Linda Sarsour who is a campaign surrogate of Palestinian descent.
Sanders has also said that if elected, he would consider moving the U.S. embassy to Tel Aviv, an act of questionable legality that may contravene the Jerusalem Embassy Act.
Other Democrat candidates are addressing the conference. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is Jewish, attended the AIPAC conference and will speak. former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar will speak via video.