Sanders Wants Voters To Elect The First Jewish Pres., Says He’s ‘Not…Involved In Organized Religion’

In a video released Tuesday by the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, Joel Rubin, Sanders’ Jewish Outreach Director, made the case for electing Bernie Sanders as the country’s first Jewish president. In a recent interview with The New York Times, however, Sanders said he’s “not actively involved in organized religion.”

“I believe that Bernie is the right person to be our president right now, at this time, because his values are intrinsically Jewish values,” Rubin said. Further, Rubin said Sanders promotes the Jewish teaching of “Tikkun Olam”, which means to repair the world.

Sen. Sanders (D-VT) was raised in a Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York, was Bar Mitzvahed at the Kings Highway Jewish Center, and, even, once lived on a Kibbutz, an agricultural commune, in Israel for several months.

“I believe in God. I believe in the universality of people. That what happens to you impacts me. And I certainly believe in the constitutional right of freedom of religion. And I will strongly defend that,” Sanders told The New York Times, “And by the way, what that means is that we will end the Muslim ban in this country imposed by Donald Trump, because I think people in this country have the right to freely enjoy their religions and participate in religious life that interests them.”

Sanders has been a prominent voice for the progressive Jewish community. Last year, Sanders spoke at the J Street annual conference, a self-described pro-Israel advocacy group that often criticizes Israel’s right to self-defense. During his speech, Sanders called Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‘racist’ and defended that comment by saying it’s not ‘anti-semitic.’

U.S. aid to Israel was the next point of contention for Sanders, who offered a conditional plan for the $3.8 billion given annually to Jewish State. He said that if the aid were to continue, the Jewish State would need to ‘change it’s relationship’ with Gaza by offering a portion of that aid to them.

“My solution is to say to Israel, you get $3.8 billion every single year. If you want military aid, you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza.” said Sanders, “In fact, I think it is fair to say that some of that $3.8 billion should go right now into humanitarian aid in Gaza.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, an ardent defender of the US-Israel alliance, denounced his conditional demands at the time on Twitter. Haley wrote, “Just when you thought Bernie Sanders couldn’t get any more radical, he outdid himself. He wants to take money we give to Israel to defend itself from terrorists, and give it to Gaza, which is run by terrorists?? Unreal. Why isn’t every other Dem pres candidate saying he’s wrong? That sentiment was echoed by many mainstream Israel supporters.

The Democrat Socialist also posed in a picture holding a sign that read “Jews Against the Occupation” with representatives of the group IfNotNow, a progressive group that advertises as the “Jewish resistance.”

The organization applauded the endorsement on Twitter saying, “Our member in NH just asked Bernie Sanders if he’s also on anti-Occupation Jew and looks like the answer is YES!”

In Sanders’ campaign video, Rubin argued that Sanders is the candidate to promote a progressive agenda that will drive out hatred towards the Jewish community and cited the atrocities of the holocaust that led to the genocidal extermination of 6 million Jews.

“We need someone equipped in the White House who understands how to fight against this, not just because it makes good politics, but because he actually understands what it means to stand up to hate speech and bigotry,” Rubin explained.

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