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Sen. Sanders Links Hitler's Murder Of His Family To His Opposition To Israel's Occupation

Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
August 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-VT) on June 4 told the American Jewish Committee that he connects the murder of his own family by the Nazis to his fight against the continuing humiliating military occupation by Israel of Palestine.  
Sen. Sanders said that Gaza is also occupied, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a reactionary who is planning to annex the West Bank and that a two-state solution must produce a viable Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, with Jerusalem as its capital.  
Mondoweiss (June 5, 2019) reports that, “He began by saying that anti-Semitism is not an abstract idea to him.” He declared: “I am Jewish and very proud of my heritage.” His father emigrated from Poland at the age of 17 to escape discrimination. Those in his family who remained in Poland after Hitler came to power were murdered by the Nazis, He says that, “Anti-Semitism is not some abstract idea to me. It is very personal. It destroyed a good part of my family.”  
As a result of their experience, Sanders says, Jews have a special role to play: “Jews who have been victims of discrimination for centuries must help lead the effort in fighting back against hatred and racism wherever and whenever we see it.”  
That, in Sanders’ view, includes Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians. He calls himself “someone who believes absolutely and unequivocally in Israel’s right to exist in peace and security who, as a young man, lived in Israel for several months. But we must say loudly and clearly that to oppose the reactionary policies of Netanyahu doesn’t make anyone anti-Israel. Let me say it again, I am vigorously opposed to the reactionary, racist... policies of Donald Trump. That doesn’t make me anti-American. I am not anti-Israel because I oppose Netanyahu’s policies.”  
What he sees, Sanders notes, is a Palestinian people “crushed” and “humiliated” by a half-century of occupation. In the Gaza Strip, “poverty is rampant for 53% of the people, who are unemployed, and the number of unemployed is even higher among young people. And 99% of the residents cannot leave that area. This is not a sustainable situation. Ending that occupation and enabling Palestinians to have independence and self-determination in a sovereign independent, economically viable state of their own is in the best interest of the U.S., Israel and the Palestinians and the entire region. It is a necessary step in insuring that Israel is accepted into a region it has so much to offer.” *

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