Speaking at the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) gala in New York City Sunday night, Israeli UN envoy Danny Dannon slammed Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt) for threats the senator had made over the past few months to divert some of the money the US gives Israel as defense assistance to pay for humanitarian relief in the Gaza Strip.
Speaking at the J Street annual conference in Washington DC in late October, Sanders told the cheering crowd: “I would use the leverage, $3.8 billion is a lot of money and we cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government, or any government.”
Danon responded Sunday night, saying that Sanders “is suggesting to give less military assistance to the United States’ most important ally in the Middle East in order to give it to Hamas, a terrorist organization that celebrated the tragedy of 9/11.”
(A Panorama report from September 20, 2001, quoted Communications Professor Martin L?ffelholz who explained that the filmed images of jubilant Arab children and adults in Gaza, Judea and Samaria are no indication that their pleasure was related to the attack. They could just be happy about something entirely different that took place on September 11. But a 2005 survey conducted by the Norwegian Fafo Foundation among Arabs identifying themselves as Palestinians found that 65% of respondents supported “Al Qaeda bombings in the USA and Europe.” The issue has been debated ad nauseam over the past two decades, but Danon is correct in his general assertion that many Arabs were delighted about the 9/11 tragedy.)
Danon said Sanders’ anti-Israel comments “undermine the security of both Israel and the US.” He also set the historical record straight, saying, “Perhaps Mr. Sanders didn’t hear about Israel leaving Gaza in 2005. Maybe he hasn’t had the chance to visit the Kerem Shalom crossing, where hundreds of trucks pass daily to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza. Maybe he doesn’t know about the terror tunnels.”
Oh, he knows. He’s just attempting to ply the Democratic progressive youth with anti-Zionist slabs of red meat to try to repeat his success of 2016. The fact is, as I wrote here back in October (Bernie Sanders Promises to Break US Law by Diverting Aid to Gaza), that the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018 determines that the $38 billion in military aid over 10 years spelled out under the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries would be funded through a special mechanism that would be separate from the annual budget.
This law ensures that US aid would not be cut once the aid memorandum comes into effect starting in 2019, ensuring that the funds would not be influenced by the budget negotiations between Congress and the President. It also means that presidents—even President Bernie Sanders—would not be able to suspend US aid as a means of pressuring Israel.
But there’s more: once Congress passed the Obama administration’s defense aid agreement in 2016, the president is forbidden by law to use foreign aid to extract anything from an America’s ally Israel – just as he is forbidden to do the same with America’s ally Ukraine. This is an impeachable offense, at least according to the entire Democratic Congressional delegation, defined as “improperly exceeding or abusing the powers of the office.”
Tell that one to the Democrats in your family this Thanksgiving.
Danon also said, “Mr. Sanders, a few months on a kibbutz in 1963 can only teach you so much.”
In 1963, Sanders and his Jewish girlfriend from college Deborah Messing volunteered for a few months on kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim. They married in 1964 and bought a summer home in Vermont; had no children and divorced in 1966 (Sanders had his son, Levy, with girlfriend Susan Campbell Mott. In 1988, Sanders married Jane O’Meara. Neither is Jewish).
The the Sanders campaign refused to reveal the name of the kibbutz, until Haaretz revealed its name, dug up from a 1990 interview. The Forward then sent a reporter to hear about Sanders’ stint there fifty years or so earlier. Not one kibbutz member remembered the guy.
Soon, God willing, the rest of us will also forget him.