I’ve been following the presidential candidate announcements for the last month and looking at both Republicans and Democrats quite seriously. As most friends know, I have some left leaning tendencies and strong thoughts regarding the Middle East. Up until recently, I did not feel the Democrats had a candidate that would be effective in the Middle East. I also did not feel quite comfortable with any of the Republican candidates either. I’m not interested in seeing another dynasty politician in the White House. If I had to chose between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, let’s just say it would be the lesser of two evils.
So, I was happy to hear about Bernie Sanders (Senator from Vermont) announce his candidacy. He’s an Independent who is quite left leaning, strong critical thought, common sense and seasoned experience. He is going up against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and in just a weekend has made some great in roads. His messaging is simple and I feel will resonate well with the vast majority of Americans:
- Income and wealth equality
- Getting big money out of politics
- Climate change and the environment
In terms of the Middle East, I like some of his views. He’s quite critical of what/ how we are doing things. He wants regional countries to step up to the plate, see his comments about Daesh/ ISIL on the Ed Show:
As to his position on Israel, it is less clear. In my opinion, he’s not part of the Peace Now/ J-Street camp. Nor is he aligned with AIPAC. He’s what he has always been, an independent thinker. Check out a recent Forward article by Josh Nathan-Kazis:
My feeling is if he lived in Israel, he would be considered left of the center. For progressives in the US, they might consider him right of the center. Nevertheless, he seems like a person who speaks with a clear conscience and common sense.
I hope his momentum continues and he unseats Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination.
Whether Bernie Sanders supports ‘Israel’s right to defend itself/ exist’ should not be a relevant complaining point for the left. Who are they going to vote for? Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker or Marco Rubio. The fact that lefties are getting their panties in a wad about whether Bernie supports Israel or the Palestinians more is such a non-starter.