A critic of Islam says anti-Semitism against Israel would be normalized if someone like Bernie Sanders is elected president in 2020.
The 77-year-old self-described "democratic socialist" launched his 2020 campaign this week, entering an already crowded field of Democrats who embrace many of his policy ideas and are newer to the national political stage. That's far different from 2016, when he was Hillary Clinton's lone progressive adversary.
Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, says the lawmaker from Vermont epitomizes the increasing hostility to Israel on the left. He cites Sanders' complete support for Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), despite her anti-Semitic remarks and tweets, as a sign of that. (Omar and Cong. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both Muslim, are pictured above.)
"It's not limited to him, of course. It's all across the Democratic Party that you have this same kind of attitude toward Israel," says Spencer, "which is what makes for somebody like Ilhan Omar – who should be condemned – to be accepted within the party and considered to be within the mainstream.
"It's just another sign that anti-Semitism is becoming normalized within the Democratic Party establishment."
Candidate Donald Trump promised – and fulfilled his promise as president – to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something previous presidents had vowed to do but never did. Regardless, says Spencer, many American Jews are likely to support Sanders should he end up running against Trump in 2020.
"Jews in America voted overwhelmingly for [Barack] Obama, for Hillary Clinton – and they don't seem to get the idea at all that they're not voting in favor of their own interests," says the Jihad Watch director. "... [When they do that] they are increasingly supporting a party that is actively opposed to the right of Israel to exist and ... is aiding and abetting the jihad against Israel."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described President Trump as "a true friend of the State of Israel." Yet many Democratic voters, says Spencer, will buy into claims that Trump is anti-Semitic.