In a rather extreme attempt to regain his fading hopes of becoming the Democrat nominee, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was endorsed by Rev. Jesse Jackson at a Michigan rally on Sunday.
“I stand with Bernie Sanders today because he stood with me. I stand with him because he’s never lost his taste for justice for the people. I stand with him because he stands with you,” Jackson told the crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“The Biden campaign has not reached out to me or asked for my support,” he added. “The Sanders campaign has, and they responded to the issues I raised.”
It is interesting to note that Jackson was running against Joe Biden in the 1988 primaries. At the time, Biden told voters to reject Jackson’s candidacy, going so far as to say so at rallies with mostly-black audiences. Later in the primary campaign, Biden dropped out due to charges of plagiarism and dismal polling numbers.
Jackson was referring to Sanders’ endorsement of him when he ran for the Democrat presidential nomination in 1988. The endorsement came before the primaries on Saturday. Jackson said Sanders had given him commitments on 13 issues including nominating African American women to the Supreme Court and his Cabinet and considering an African American woman as his running mate. Jackson also cited Sanders’ support of a wealth tax, his “Medicare for All” proposal and free tuition at public colleges and universities, among other things.
“Senator Sanders supports a single-payer health care plan that I advocated in 1984 and 1988 with his Medicare for All plan that will provide every American with universal and comprehensive health care,” Jackson said in his statement, “with extra funds targeting rural and minority hospitals and community health centers.”
Jackson’s endorsement of Sanders was considered key since Biden has been outperforming him in attracting black voters. Biden won 61 percent of the black vote in the recent primaries held in South Carolina. This is ostensibly due to Biden’s appeal as having served under a two-term black president.
As a symbol of his political bond with Jackson, Sanders posted a photo of him praying with teh Baptist minister.
Today is a special day for our campaign. Rev. Jesse Jackson is one of the most transformative figures in modern American history and a hero of mine. It is one of the honors of my life to have his support. pic.twitter.com/CAszZIuKDT
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 8, 2020
It should be noted that despite his claims to being a “proud Jew”, Sanders does not normally attend synagogue. Sanders is currently
Sander’s campaign has been highlighted by endorsements and support from anti-Israel political figures like Senator Ilhan Omar. In a recent debate, Sanders said he would consider moving the U.S. Embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. He also said that he would consider diverting military aid away from Israel and directing it to the Palestinians.
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.
Throughout his career, Jesse Jackson has been accused of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views. Initially an American civil rights activist, Baptist minister, and politician, he was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988.
Before running for president, Jackson had a close relationship with Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan who is known for his virulent anti-Semitism.
Jackson was criticized in the early 1980s for referring to Jews as “Hymies” and New York City as “Hymietown” in remarks to a black Washington Post reporter. “Hymie” is a pejorative term for Jews. Jackson’s response was to claim that a “Jewish conspiracy” was trying to ruin his campaign.
It is important to remember that despite his “Hymie” remarks, Sanders endorsed Jackson in his run for president.
Jackson was a vocal supporter of a Palestinian state and the Palestinian Liberation Organization at a time when the organization was carrying out terrorist attacks against Jews in Israel and abroad. At the time, the PLO was categorized as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. Jackson also frequently referred to then-Israeli Prime Ministere Menachem Begin as a “terrorist.”
More recently, when Barack Obama was running for president, Jackson was quoted as saying that an Obama administration could bring significant change to U.S. foreign policy, Jackson was quoted as saying that “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” would lose much of their influence should Senator Obama be elected president.