August 20, 2019

Progressive Zionists ‘Very Concerned’ Warren Campaign Hired IfNotNow Co-founder

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The Progressive Zionists of California (PZC) said in a July 15 open letter they were “very concerned” that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign hired IfNotNow co-founder Max Berger in June.

PZC founding members Susan George and Paul Kujawsky argued that Berger, who was hired as the Warren campaign’s Director of Progressive Partnerships, is “unworthy of any position in [Warren’s] campaign,” citing a tweet from July 2014 when he called Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip a “pogrom.”

“This year included, Hamas has launched tens of thousands of rockets at Israel, causing deaths and injuries, extensive property damage and widespread terror,” George and Kujawsky wrote. “Israel, when it is forced to take military action to stop the rockets, takes considerable care not to harm civilians. It is not always successful, because Hamas stores its weaponry in apartments, schools and hospitals.”

They added that “calling Israeli self-defense a ‘pogrom’ is false and deeply offensive.”

George and Kujawsky also highlighted a 2017 tweet where Berger said he agreed with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and acknowledged that it’s a “largely anti-Zionist” movement and that “it’s an existential question” for Zionists.

“The BDS movement, directed from Ramallah, is the latest iteration of the Arab Boycott and its attempt to strangle the Jewish state economically,” George and Kujawsky wrote. “But the BDS movement goes further: It seeks, in addition to economic sanctions, to isolate Israel academically and culturally; to fundamentally delegitimize Israel—to make it a pariah, ‘the Jew of nations.’”

Berger’s tweet suggests that he understands this about BDS, they argued.

“If your staff includes someone who openly wishes Israel to disappear, you will lose the trust of many of your supporters and your pro-Israel bona fides will disappear,” George and Kujawsky wrote.

The Warren campaign did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

On July 8, a group of IfNotNow activists told Warren during a campaign event in New Hampshire that they want her to “push the Israeli government to end the occupation,” prompting Warren to respond, “Yes, yes. So I’m there.”

IfNotNow released a statement afterwards saying, “In the past, Warren has regularly spoken of Israel as a strong ally in a tough neighborhood and has appeared at AIPAC events and used right-wing talking points. But as her career has gone on, her views on the issue have grown to be farther in line with her progressive values: She was one of the 60 Democrats to boycott [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s [2015] speech in Congress, she supported the Iran Deal, spoke out against the [Jerusalem] embassy move, and opposes efforts to criminalize the BDS movement.”