Bernie Sanders is going to lose, but the movement he started will cause long-term damage to America.
My South Korean physician colleague asked me “What’s up with Bernie Sanders?” He could not understand how a Jew could sound worse than Israel’s enemies. How is it possible, he wanted to know? Other nationalities don’t seem to have such a problem. I had to explain to him the concept which the Jews have had to live with through the millennia of the “self-hating Jew.” It is not an idea that I or any proud Jew is comfortable with, but it has been part of the reality of our existence since Moses and the “Spies.” Although there are many ways to define it, a self-hating Jew is essentially a Jew by birth who would rather be everything and anything but Jewish. He is ashamed of his Jewishness. He has no pride in his heritage or tradition. He would rather side with the enemies of the Jewish people rather than follow the majority of the Jewish nation. Bernie Sanders is a self-hating Jew. He does not represent the Jewish people and never will.
In my former stomping grounds of Jamaica Estates, the Reform temple led by Bernie Sanders-type people sold their synagogue to Muslims rather than sell to the Orthodox, who offered more money. It was done purely in spite, the same way Bernie Sanders supports Ilhan Omar and bashes Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Unfortunately, Bernie Sanders has had a profound and lasting impact on the Democratic Party. Joe Biden’s comeback is due to Bernie Sander’s radicalism and extremism, but make no mistake about it: Joe Biden will do everything he can to win over the Bernie Sanders’ followers and adherents. Bernie Sander’s anti-Israel sentiments will be incorporated into the Democratic platform. Even when Joe Biden wins the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders will be allowed to whisper in his ear and make demands.
Vice President Mike Pence got into the act and point blank said at AIPAC, “We must ensure that the most pro-Israel president in history must not be replaced by one who would be the most anti-Israel president in the history of this nation.” He blasted Sanders for calling Israel a “racist state” and defaming AIPAC as a “platform for bigotry.”
Besides Bernie Sanders’ anti-Israel stance, his attempt at turning the Democratic Party into a Socialist Party has actually made the party a lot more like the Labor Party in Great Britain, led by the anti-Semite Jeremy Corbyn. The similarities are striking. The British majority rejected Corbyn and the American majority has rejected Bernie Sanders.
Unfortunately, clones of Bernie Sanders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have sprung up and are carrying out and continuing his wacko ideas.
Unless America votes them out, the Sanders effect will linger and fester for years to come. America may have gotten a reprieve now, but don’t hold your breath - they are not yet finished. The long-term damage of Bernie Sanders will be felt for years to come.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.