Speaking to a British audience in 2017, the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders declared that “what [Jeremy] Corbyn has done with the Labor party is not dissimilar to we’re trying to do with the Democratic party.” One can assume that Sanders meant only to convey that he wants to make the Democrats more socialist, not more anti-Semitic, but he has never offered any objection to Corbyn’s anti-Semitism, and one of his campaign’s most visible surrogates, Linda Sarsour, would seem to fit right in with Labor, as Dominic Green writes:
Sarsour [recently represented] Sanders’s campaign as a speaker at the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) conference. . . . Israel, she said, is “built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else”—a libel as equally likely to emerge from the mouths of Islamists as from the thumbs of white nationalists. It’s impossible, Sarsour said, to oppose “white supremacy in America and the idea of being in a state based on race and class” without also opposing the existence of a Jewish state.
Naturally, this specious and defamatory linkage was affirmed by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. Naturally, when footage of Sarsour’s diatribe appeared online, she did her best to wriggle out of it with a statement about “context”—but not one about AMP’s official conference program, which called Zionism a “disease” intending to “destroy the purity of al-Quds [Jerusalem].”
Sanders’ alliance with Sarsour isn’t just Magical Grandpa, [as some have nicknamed Corbyn], being sentimental about the kids who remind him of his radical youth. Like Jeremy Corbyn’s passion for Islamists, it’s a calculated attempt to catch votes, transform the party membership, and upend the centrist party managers. These tactics worked for Corbyn. But when Magical Grandpa shakes the tree, it’s not just money that falls out.