Bernie Sanders’s Bigotry of Low Expectations
On the domestic campaign trail, Bernie Sanders has talked repeatedly about economic inequality, a criminal justice system that incarcerates a disproportionate number of black people, and of the need for a political revolution. Sanders portrays the problems of black people as the problem of poor people and those entangled in the criminal justice system. When asked how he will improve race relations in the U.S., he says that better policing, criminal justice reform and jobs are the solution.
In one of the debates Sanders said: “What we will do is say, instead of giving tax breaks to billionaires, we are going to create millions of jobs for low-income kids so they’re not hanging out on street corners.” For Sanders, most blacks are poor, unemployed, in prison, and hang out on street corners. Sanders seem to have few if any expectations from the Afro-American community. His reluctance to expose and explicitly condemn the culture of violence proudly paraded during race related riots and demonstrations in recent years aided and abetted by the President Obama, is the perfect example of how liberals and socialists in general embrace views based on the bigotry of low expectations. Sanders takes pride in being perceived as a card carrying member of the secular progressive Left, and as such refuses to express moral indignation over race related violence.
Sanders has chosen to surround himself with likeminded advisors for a reason; the need to embrace and be seen as the embodiment of political correctness. Sanders reticence to criticize race related violence, riots, and even the targeted killing of police officers throughout the country, is a symptom of the bigotry of low expectation. In other words, Sanders is willing to give Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities a pass on behavior that they would otherwise find unacceptable and condemnable of Americans who do not belong to minority groups.
When Sanders shifts his attention to Israel, his bigotry becomes even more blatant. Despite his being the very first American Jew to run for the Democratic presidential nomination and possibly for the Presidency, Bernie Sanders rarely mentions his Jewish identity, and when asked about his religious beliefs, he tends to cite ideas about the shared humanity that binds all people together. Sanders has chosen advisors that belong to a group of radical left ideologues, including James Zogby of the American-Arab Institute and Cornel West, a BDS advocate often accompanying him to appearances and sharing the podium with him. Then came the appointment of Simmone Zimmerman, his outreach campaign staff member to Jewish organizations that he hired and then suspended in response to public outrage. She is an active and vocal supporter of J Street, an organization that is dedicated to actively lobbying the US government to undermine the policies of the democratically elected government of Israel. From there she graduated to openly supporting the BDS movement, arguing that its calls for the extinction of Israel were simply calls for “the liberation of all people.” Zimmerman is an avid supporter not surprisingly of Black Lives Matter, the black anti-white movement whose leaders are fierce enemies of U.S. support to Israel. Zimmerman is typical of many left-wing Jews who came to believe that in order to remain on the political left they have to adopt extreme anti-Zionist positions, even though at times they border on anti-Semitism.
When Sanders voices his position on Israel, he does so exclusively through the Pavlovian looking glass and prism of Western media, who report nothing other than the false narrative of the “Occupation” -- meaning that Israel is to be blamed for the conflict and never demand accountability from the Palestinian Arabs or of Muslims anywhere in the Middle East. The use of the legally inapplicable term “occupation” as responsible for all of the violence that is directed against Israel -- as if it began in 1967 -- has become the all-encompassing code word that justifies low expectations of moral behavior by Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. Perpetuating this myth only reinforces the continuing violence that has rocked not only Israel in recent months, but is spreading murder and mayhem in all of the Middle East.
Low intensity genocide is being conducted systematically in Syria and Iraq. Christians are persecuted, hounded, and murdered throughout the Islamic countries in the Middle East and Africa. In the past three years, hundreds of thousands of Arab civilians have lost their lives throughout the Middle East due to civil wars and the violent emergence of new political leaderships in different countries. Any objective observer searches in vain for Sanders’s outrage and indignation, but other than the occasional politically correct sympathy lip service, condemnation is reserved for Israel exclusively. Rockets can rain with impunity on Israeli men, women and children, launched by an elected terrorist organization that has obtained vast stores of lethal weaponry and vows publicly to destroy a member state of the United Nations, yet Israel is accused by Bernie Sanders of using “disproportional power” in actions of self-defense.
Sanders’s absence of moral indignation can only be explained by a morally corrupt and intellectually dishonest belief that there can be no expectations that the Palestinian people and their leadership can embrace the idea of the sanctity of life or measure up to the high expectations of international morality. It seems as if Bernie Sanders accepts the legitimacy of barbaric behavior on the part of Palestinian Arab terrorists as the necessary price Jews must pay for not forfeiting their rights to live in Israel.
Sadly, I admit that among the Jewish population here in Israel there are among us, albeit a few, misguided and confused walking time bombs waiting for the opportunity to fulfill their primal need to hurt others. They, however, are the margin and beyond the pale, enjoying no public reinforcement of their violent intents.
On the Palestinian Arab side however, our neighbors operate in an entirely different mode. Palestinian Arab baby-killers of Jews are admired, squares are dedicated in their name and study materials in the Arab schools glorify their mission. Palestinian terrorists and their extended family receive financial assistance and pension payments from the Palestine Arab leadership and related NGO’s operating in the area with American and European funding. Rockets are launched from school and hospital compounds with not a word of protest from Palestinian Arab residents at putting their children and their ill in danger of retaliatory fire. Palestinians use civilians as human defense shields as a strategic policy and its all honkey dory with the Democratic contender.
Sanders’s reluctance to expose and explicitly condemn the savagery so prevalent among Palestinian people, while zeroing in with a magnifying glass on Israel's defensive actions demanding that she maintain an unsustainable level of respecting human rights - even when it conflicts with the basic right of self- defense, only perpetuates the conflict and empowers more terrorists to kill innocent men, women , and children.
This is the true bigotry of Bernie Sanders, the racist bigotry of low expectations, whether at home or abroad. Sander’s bigotry is a black stain on the face of all that he represents as a socialist and as a democratic contender.
The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer and Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psychoeducation programs to communities in the North and South of Israel and is a strategic advisor to the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria