Wouldn’t you know it? Israel, the tiny speck of a country Bernie Sanders’s biggest supporters liken to Nazi Germany, is on the verge of developing the first vaccine against the novel coronavirus. If all goes well, the vaccine could be ready within weeks and available in 90 days.

This is good news for most of the world but presents a dilemma for Sanders’s surrogates, notably Linda Sarsour and Representatives Illan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. The trio champion the so-called BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions), which wants to strangle Israel economically until the country acquiesces to a host of Palestinian demands. Yes, this is the same Ilan Omar who was outraged by U.S. sanctions against Iran because it would adversely impact that country’s citizens.

Sanders maintains he doesn’t support the BDS movement, but he opposed the passage of an anti-Israel boycott bill. He also boycotted the annual meeting of the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby, decrying the organization as a “platform for bigotry.” AIPAC’s signature cause is combating the BDS movement.

Regardless, it’s a given that Sarsour, Omar, and Tlaib, who aggressively campaign on Sanders’s behalf, would play significant roles in his administration. Columnist Karol Markowicz offered frightening speculation about the influential roles the three will play and their impact on American Jewry one year into a Sanders presidency.

Bernie Sanders

It’s reasonable to assume that a President Sanders wouldn’t oppose U.S. pharmaceutical companies from licensing Israel’s coronavirus vaccine to save American lives, though he’d likely demand they do it earning minimal or no profits. But Israeli ingenuity to develop a coronavirus vaccine underscores how the BDS boycott would be harmful to America’s economic and security interests. The boycott also raises questions whether Sanders’s supporters are more committed to promoting Palestinian interests than they are to addressing climate change.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

According to Sanders, and his climate change expert Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the planet will be doomed in about a decade if greenhouse gas emissions from human sources aren’t dramatically reduced. Israel is at the forefront of countries addressing climate change and developing technologies to address it. Unlike the U.S., reducing emissions is supported by all of Israel’s political factions.

Israel has endorsed the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. The country aims to have all public transport running on electricity within five years. By 2030, it intends to ban the import of fuel-driven vehicles. It’s reduced its coal use by 25 percent in the past three years. More than 70 percent of Israel’s water comes from gas-driven desalination and the country recycles most of its sewage water.

This lively video narrated by Israeli-Arab journalist Lucy Aharish highlights innovations the country is making in medicine, science, and agriculture.

Some of Israel’s green technology is being utilized in America. An Israeli company constructed the California desalination plant outside San Diego to address the state’s perennial water shortages.

American companies are looking to Israeli technical know-how and ingenuity to secure their green-focused futures. GM and Ford both have outposts in the country working on electric car initiatives, rather ironic given that they are the two biggest employers in Tlaib’s backyard. Pretty much every major U.S. technology company has operations in Israel, but the BDS movement wants them to pull out.

Boycotting Israel would also be harmful to America’s security interests. China, whose leader wants to use technology to achieve world domination, is a major investor in Israel. The level of investment has reached such a critical degree that the U.S. is concerned.  China’s leader is on record as saying technology will allow the country to achieve world domination; if U.S. companies avoided Israel, they would be at a significant disadvantage.

For all their talk about wanting to protect Democratic freedoms, Sanders’s supporters are an intolerant lot and want their opponents silenced. When talk show host Bill Maher dismissed the BDS movement as a “bullshit purity test” Tlaib called for a boycott of his show. Sanders’s supporters also are big believers in blacklisting people who oppose them.

The media is responsible for legitimizing Sarsour, Omar, Tlaib, and Sanders’s other anti-Semitic supporters by referring to them as “progressives” and accusing their critics as being “Islamophobic.” There is nothing progressive about promoting ancient anti-Semitic stereotypes or advocating policies inimical to U.S. interests.

As this New York Times story makes clear, Sanders’s supporters aren’t deep thinkers when it comes to public policy and analysis. They are driven by hate and motivated by the opportunity to overturn the Democratic party establishment, including the liberal media that spawned them. They don’t sweat the details.

That’s why Sanders calling Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “racist” played so well with his followers. It didn’t dawn on them that isn’t the sort of opening salvo a statesman would use if he was genuinely interested in forging a peace agreement.

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1 Comment

Sidney Caesar

Mr. Starkman, you won’t find me defending BernieBros, however I do take issue with a few things you wrote. Also, I should probably stipulate from the start that I support a one-state solution for Israel and the territories it (illegally, under international law) occupies, administers, and whose ‘borders’ it polices (of course, it polices those borders without being able to definitively draw several land borders of it’s own). For Israel to legitimately call itself a democracy, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza need to be included in that democracy- until then, Israel is as much a democracy as was the Jim Crow south in the US (a time in history the Roberts SCOTUS seems to want to return to).
It’s somewhat disingenuous to state that the “signature cause” of AIPAC (founded many decades ago, and increasingly right-wing/partisan Republican) is combating BDS (which to many of it’s supporters- including Desmond Tutu- and for it’s flaws is akin to the ultimately successful anti-apartheid campaign against South Africa). As you may (or should) know, AIPAC has been guilty of engaging in espionage against the United States, and (ironically) supports sanctions against Iran while engaging in that so-called “signature cause” you refer to.
Also, you’re being a little melodramatic likening a boycott of Bill Maher’s show to “blacklisting” (particularly given the historical connotations of that phrase in the US). I haven’t searched your writing extensively, so I apologize if you have addressed the issue, however it is more than a little inconsistent (in fact, it kind of ‘gives away the game’) that you aren’t even more troubled by a law that has been proposed in the US Senate that would infringe on the First Amendment rights of American citizens by essentially criminalizing criticism of a foreign government.

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