In a recent speech on behalf of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, the anti-Semitic activist Linda Sarsour declared that “at a time of startling rise in white nationalism and anti-Semitism, I would be so proud to win [the election], but also to make history and elect the first Jewish American president.” Jonathan Tobin comments on the Sanders’ decision to make Sarsour one of his official surrogates:
Sanders . . . is in a fierce competition with Elizabeth Warren and a number of other Democratic contenders for the votes of the party’s left-wing base, which united behind him in opposition to Hillary Clinton four years ago. So it says something important about the tone of the nomination battle that Sanders and his team think that Sarsour will help him more than her baggage will hurt him.
Sarsour and her apologists on the Jewish left claim that she is misunderstood, pointing to gestures like her fundraising to help vandalized Jewish cemeteries even if it is unclear how much, if any, help she has actually given to such causes. They will repeat this line by citing her statement supporting Sanders, in which she spoke of her pride in helping elect a Jew and opposition to anti-Semitism. But Sarsour’s ideas about what constitutes anti-Semitism have nothing to do with the reality of left-wing hatred of Jews and everything to do with the attempt by some to [use concerns over anti-Semitism] against President Trump.
Does Sanders think his Jewish origins give him a pass for employing someone who not only works for Israel’s destruction but has also done much to promote anti-Semitic invective? Jewish or not, he and his trumpeting of Sarsour as a key member of his campaign—who would likely think herself entitled to a significant administration job if he won—makes history in a way that ought to make Jews shudder.