The fact that Bernie Sanders -- among others on the hard left -- have been tolerant of anti-Semitism on their own side is something that is undoubtedly true yet easily dismissed by Mr. Beinart. by the Forward

Letter | Sorry: Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Has An Anti-Semitism Problem

Dear Editor:

On Tuesday, the Forward published a piece by Peter Beinart titled, “Of Course They’re Accusing Bernie Sanders Of Anti-Semitism — Because He Supports Palestinians.”

In the piece, Mr. Beinart blasts what he sees as phony allegations of anti-Semitism against Sanders. It is Sanders’ support of the Palestinians, Beinart argues, that is the reason for the specious allegations against him.

This would be a fine contention if the premise on which the argument is built was an accurate one — namely, that Bernie Sanders has been accused of anti-Semitism.

Letter | Sorry: Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Has An Anti-Semitism Problem

In the Washington Examiner and Federalist articles that Mr. Beinart cites, however, no such accusations are made against the presidential candidate.

Rather, the two articles rightly point out the fact that Sanders has both embraced and surrounded himself with people who are either friendly with anti-Semites or hold anti-Semitic views themselves.

The fact that Bernie Sanders — among others on the hard left — have been tolerant of anti-Semitism on their own side is something that is undoubtedly true yet easily dismissed by Mr. Beinart.

Mr. Beinart apparently does not see how Sanders’ surrogate, Linda Sarsour, or Ilhan Omar, for example, could possibly be accused of anti-Semitism. Never mind the fact Sarsour is an ardent supporter of the anti-Semitic BDS movement, has celebrated convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh, and was a co-founder of the Women’s March alongside a woman who called notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan the “GOAT.”

None of that was enough for Sanders to turn away the endorsement — or for Mr. Beinart to be even slightly concerned with her record on this matter.

Letter | Sorry: Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Has An Anti-Semitism Problem

And if you thought that the fact that Omar claimed Israel “hypnotized the world”, that Jewish money buys off American politicians or that American Jews have dual loyalty would be enough for Sanders to reject her endorsement, or for Mr. Beinart to take her anti-Semitism seriously, think again.

So, no, people are not criticizing Sanders simply for standing up for Palestinians. One can do that without being anti-Semitic. Omar and Sarsour have failed to do precisely that — criticize Israel without using anti-Semitism; the accusations levied against them stem not from their stance on Israel, but from real anti-Semitism that they have engaged in.

Mr. Beinart tries to claim that allegations against left-wing anti-Semites and those who support them are baseless because of President Trump. He claims that to point out left-wing anti-Semitism is to ignore it coming from the right and from our President.

Two things can be true at once. Sanders can tolerate and celebrate endorsements from anti-Semites and President Trump’s record on anti-Semitism can be checkered. Those parallel truths conflict nowhere.

It is undoubtedly true that Trump has engaged in anti-Semitic tropes on a number of occasions, and to ignore that would be to use anti-Semitism solely as a political sword.

At the same time, it is also true that there are real questions and real concerns about anti-Semitism coming from those on the hard left, and to ignore or dismiss them would also be to use anti-Semitism as a similarly egregious political tool.

Letter | Sorry: Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Has An Anti-Semitism Problem

Mr. Beinart seems to have disdain for people when they ignore Trump’s anti-Semitism in order to attack the left — and I do too. What Mr. Beinart seems to be completely okay with, however, is for those on his own side to engage in that same behavior.

In other words, for Mr. Beinart, you must call out anti-Semitism on both sides — but only if you are on the right. If you are on the left, then solely focusing on Trump’s anti-Semitism while dismissing it on your own side is not only okay, but necessary, according to Mr. Beinart.

At the end of the day, we all have a choice to make. Are we going to actually call out anti-Semitism on both sides or are we going to make excuses and dismiss it when calling it out would cost us politically? Mr. Beinart and those who agree with him have made their stance clear, and it seems like they have chosen the latter.

Sincerely,

Jack Elbaum

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Letter | Sorry: Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Has An Anti-Semitism Problem

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