Jewish Senator Bernie Sanders on Saturday told the conference of African American Young Leaders in Atlanta, led by the Black Church PAC established by distinguished black pastors: “I’m Jewish. My family came from Poland. My father’s whole family was wiped out by Hitler and his white nationalism.”
According to his online bios in Wikipedia as well as the Jewish Virtual Library, Sanders was born in 1941, in Brooklyn, New York City. His father, Elias Ben Yehuda Sanders, was born in Słopnice, Galicia (now part of Poland), and immigrated to the United States in 1921. His mother, Dorothy Sanders (née Glassberg), was born in New York City to Jewish immigrant parents from Poland and Russia. So his immediate family was removed from the Holocaust by a generation.
Over the years, Sanders has used references to his connection to the Holocaust to make similar points. In fact, a 2007 New York Times Magazine article by Mark Leibovichjan titled The Socialist Senator, states (likely based on material provided by the Senator’s office): “His father, Eli, a struggling paint salesman who saw his family wiped out in the Holocaust, worried constantly about supporting his wife and two sons.”
Bernie’s feverish references to the Holocaust over the years is not fraudulent—the anguish of Jewish immigrants in America over the fate of their families in Europe has been well documented in many works of art as well as by historians and social scientists—but they come disturbingly close to being cynical.
Sanders’ standard reference to his Jewish roots goes: “I’m proud to be Jewish, but I’m not particularly religious.”
In 2015, Sanders told the Christian Science Monitor: “A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including 6 million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important.”
But apparently not important enough to recall that Hitler lost the presidential election in 1932, and was not directly elected chancellor, but rose to the title through a political coalition deal.
In 2014, Sanders told Rolling Stones that Israel’s actions during the 2014 Gaza war caused more civilian damage than was necessary. He added that the US should support Israel’s security, but vowed that as America’s first Jewish president, he would “maintain an evenhanded approach to the area.”
So, like Obama, but Jewish.
In later years, Sanders has become progressively more hostile to the Jewish State, to the point where by now there’s not much daylight between his and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s and Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar on Israel, Zionism, Hamas, Jerusalem and a plethora of other issues.
Warren appeared next to Sanders in Saturday’s Black Church PAC event, but while her experience of ethnic suffering only came to 1/16 of the Native American trail of tears, Bernie was way up there with the real victims of Fascism, when he promised his young, African American audience: “We will go to war against white nationalism and racism in every aspect of our lives.”
Perhaps, but probably not as president.