Best Of The Web
“THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income inequality, and the moral outrage of a system in which the wealthiest one percent control an ever-increasing share of society’s resources. Compared to many other politicians, who foreground their personal narratives in their campaigns, he seemed to think his biography was beside the point.
This did not pass without notice—or criticism. The New York Times, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Tablet, and Commentary all ran articles either implying or outright arguing that Sanders was somehow secretive or embarrassed about his heritage. Sanders himself only directly addressed the issue once, when he was asked about it during a March 2016 debate with Hillary Clinton. CNN’s Anderson Cooper cited an article in the Detroit News accusing Sanders of keeping his Judaism in the background, and asked whether that was intentional. Sanders said it was not, adding, “Look, my father’s family was wiped out by Hitler in the Holocaust. I know about what crazy and radical and extremist politics mean.” He then declared: “I’m very proud of being Jewish. And that’s an essential part of who I am as a human being.”
Despite his distinctively Jewish accent and mannerisms, and despite the fact that no Jew has ever won more support in a presidential primary in either party, Sanders has never been as publicly associated with Jewish pride as, for instance, Joe Lieberman was when he was selected as Al Gore’s running mate in 2000 (“Chutzpah!” read TIME’s cover). The differences between the two are instructive: Lieberman is an observant Jew, while Sanders does not regularly attend synagogue or participate in organized religious life; Lieberman’s wife is Jewish, while Sanders’s is Catholic; Lieberman is a centrist with strong ties to corporate donors, while Sanders is a democratic socialist who only accepts small donations; and Lieberman is a staunch supporter of Israel, while Sanders has been outspoken in his criticism of the occupation and his support for Palestinian rights. Lieberman, in short, is representative of mainstream Jewish institutions in the country, while Sanders is representative of a different strain of Jewish life—one that is likely familiar to Jewish Currents readers, but marginalized in national politics.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"There is nothing like the threat of nuclear Armageddon for focusing minds. That, at least, was true for Nato over the decades from its foundation in 1949. During the Cold War the alliance had a common purpose (collective defence), a common space..."
"Democrats are too “woke” for their own good, or so goes the argument. “Today’s progressivism is more or less a secular form of religion with its own high standards,” Matt Lewis, a conservative columnist, wrote this spring. “Eventually,” he..."
"To secure a stable climate for future generations, humanity will need to permanently bury gigatons of carbon dioxide. There is already too much in the atmosphere — 415 parts per million, when scientists say 350 ppm is the upper bound of safety..."
"Romantic love – seeking it, glorifying it, dishing it – is a human obsession. My English barmaid mother called it a ‘funny five minutes’ never to be trusted and basically dangerous for women. The feminist author Marilyn Yalom saw a mysterious..."
"Friday’s jobs report must have been adapted from a comic book — because everyone’s calling it a “blockbuster” (and Martin Scorsese hasn’t shown any interest in it). In November, America’s unemployment rate hit a half-century low, as U.S...."
"I know I won’t be the first to say it, seeing as how Barbra Streisand already sent you a star of David necklace, but on behalf of the Jews who weren’t famous enough to be invited to your recent bat mitzvah, take it from me: Welcome to the tribe..."
"Many countries would dissolve into chaos and disarray if dealt the same cards Israel has in 2019. The United States, for all its well-deserved democratic admiration, is being torn at the seams ever since President Donald Trump’s election in 2016..."
"Recent national surveys project that 53% of children will own a smartphone by age 11. While the reality of a child being able to utilize the features of a smartphone has provided many new benefits to both them and their parents, the harm of..."