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Election 2020

Warren presidential campaign staffer comes under fire for past anti-Israel activism

By Jackson Richman

(JNS) Max Berger, a staffer for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) 2020 presidential campaign, has come under fire for his past anti-Israel activism, including posting a now-deleted tweet from 2013 that he “would totally be friends with Hamas,” a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

The tweet re-emerged on Twitter by David Frank, who identifies himself from Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel:

Curious @ewarren is this your official position? Max Berger works for you now …. if president you will embrace Hamas? Maybe you should issue an official statement condemning Max Berger, IfNotNow and hatred of Jews and Israel. Fire Max Berger!! #Antisemitism pic.twitter.com/tY7UauStTB

– David Frank

Warren campaign spokesperson Chris Hayden told JNS that the tweets by Berger were taken out of context. Hayden referred JNS to tweets by Washington Post politics reporter Dave Weigel, who tweeted that “Berger tweeted that the day that [Mother Jones reporter Dan Friedman] exposed a false claim that [former Nebraska senator and U.S. Secretary of Defense] Chuck Hagel spoke to ‘Friends of Hamas.’”

Hagel, who was a Republican senator from Nebraska, faced opposition by some in the pro-Israel community when he was nominated as secretary of defense under President Barack Obama in 2013 and confirmed by the Senate following a filibuster by Republicans.

Weigel added that “Berger was obviously getting in on a Twitter joke; it’s ridiculous to claim he just was revealing his pro-terror sympathies.”

Oppo is oppo, sure. But @FreeBeacon regularly publishes satire (like the jokey “winners” on their Men of the Year list). Berger was obviously getting in on a Twitter joke; it’s ridiculous to claim he just was revealing his pro-terror sympathies.

– Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) July 8, 2019

Nevertheless, Berger’s anti-Israel history includes supporting violent demonstrations, as demonstrated by now-deleted Twitter posts, according to Canary Mission.

Berger, who serves as director for progressive partnerships for Sen. Warren, co-founded the anti-Israel group IfNotNow (INN), where, in July 2014, he “was arrested with eight other INN activists at a protest against the Conference of Presidents, after refusing to leave the lobby of the organization’s building in New York City,” according to Canary Mission, a blacklist of anti-Israel activists.

IfNotNow has a policy to “officially lobby political leaders to speak out against the occupation and the policies of the Israeli government, focusing on Democratic candidates in the 2020 elections.”

Berger has also expressed support for Palestinian rioters along the Israel-Gaza border.

“The violence of the past few weeks at the Gaza border is truly sickening. But, the protestors will to resist the oppression they face gives me hope. The young Americans–Muslims, Jews, Christians, secular Americans – rising up to oppose the US response gives me hope,” he tweeted on May 15, 2018, when there were riots along the Israel-Gaza border instigated by Hamas in response to the United States opening its embassy in Jerusalem.

That same day, Berger also tweeted, “It’s disappointing that potential Dem Presidential contenders @CoryBooker,
@SenGillibrand, @KamalaHarris,
@JoeBiden have yet to condemn Israel’s massacre in Gaza. Like #MedicareForAll, @SenSanders and the movements will push the Democratic Party to take the right stance by 2020.”

The previous day, in response to an MSNBC tweet about “six Palestinians killed, hundreds hurt in protests on Israel-Gaza border,” Berger posted: “Killed by whom? Hurt how? The Israeli state can’t tolerate nonviolent resistance to their brutal subjugation and military occupation of millions of Palestinians …. ”

Finally, Berger tweeted in July 2014, “What Israel is doing in Gaza should be familiar to Jews. It’s called a pogrom. You’d think Jews would be against those. #Shanda #NotInMyName.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper told The Washington Free Beacon, “Anyone who wants to be friendly with Hamas has no business being in a presidential campaign. It’s very straightforward.”

“If that’s the message that Elizabeth Warren wants to send to Jewish progressives and the rest of the American Jewish community, that the person she put in charge of outreach wants to be friends with Hamas, no way,” he continued. “She’s going to have to deal with this right now.”

 

As president, Klobuchar won’t ‘move U.S. embassy back to Tel Aviv’

(JNS) Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar became the second Democratic candidate for president in 2020 to pledge that, if elected, the U.S. embassy in Israel would remain in Jerusalem, where it was relocated from Tel Aviv in May 2018.

When asked by Jewish Insider whether she would move the embassy back to Tel Aviv, she replied, “No, I wouldn’t.”

“I think it would have been better if that was done as part of a negotiation for a two-state solution,” added Klobuchar. “I think it’s unfortunate it was done the way it was done, but I wouldn’t reverse it.”

Ivanka Trump at the official opening ceremony of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Klobuchar joined Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who said last month that he too, if elected, wouldn’t undo President Trump’s embassy decision.

“What’s done is done,” he told Axios in an interview aired by HBO.

“I don’t know that we’d gain much by moving it to Tel Aviv,” he said, adding that he felt that Trump made the wrong move in relocating it.

“Here’s the problem with what he did,” said the 37-year-old candidate. “[I]f you’re going to make a concession like that, if you’re going to give somebody something that they’ve wanted for a long time in the context of a push-pull, even with a strong ally like Israel, right? We have a push-pull relationship. And you don’t do that without getting some kind of concession. Instead, we’ve seen the Israeli government continue to act in ways that are detrimental to peace. And I believe, therefore, also detrimental to U.S. interests.”

Klobuchar declined to answer when asked by Jewish Insider if she would undo Trump’s decision to officially recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

“I think it should be part of the negotiations,” she said, adding that “I think again while that isn’t about two-state solution, it’s better to have global discussion with America having a leading role.”

In his interview with Axios, Buttigieg echoed Klobuchar’s sentiment.

“Look, the Israeli claims in the Golan are not something to be ignored,” he said. “They have a lot to do with legitimate security interests, but when we did that, we were doing something that could have been part of a negotiated package, and instead we just gave it away.”

“Worse, we gave it away probably for the specific purpose of having an impact in Israeli domestic politics, which should be the last reason that we would be conducting U.S. foreign policy,” he continued. “It should be designed around American values, American interests and American international relationships.”

 

Tom Steyer launches presidential bid noting Jewish father’s career as Nuremberg prosecutor

By Ron Kampeas

Tom Steyer speaking in Washington, D.C., May 22, 2019. Credit: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

(JTA) – Tom Steyer, the billionaire liberal who has excoriated Republicans for what he has said are antisemitic attacks on his advocacy, is running for president.

Steyer, who has led calls for Donald Trump’s impeachment, announced Tuesday, July 9 that he would be the 25th candidate running for the Democratic presidential nomination. (A 26th, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., dropped out this week.)

In a four-minute video posted on social media, the hedge fund billionaire emphasized what he said was a tendency in both parties to heed corporations and not voters.

“What people believe is that the system has left them,” he said, and lauded the dedication to service of previous generations, citing his Jewish father’s service in the U.S. Navy in World War II and then afterward as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials.

“My father graduated from Yale law school, at 21 started being a lawyer and then he went into the Navy because of Pearl Harbor, and then at the end of the war they sent him over to be the assistant to the chief prosecutor at Nuremberg,” he said of Roy Henry Steyer. “I think my father looked at being in the service or being at Nuremberg as like you have your duty, you do it.”

Steyer, whose mother is an Episcopalian and who now attends an Episcopalian church, has identified as Jewish in the past; a rabbi helped officiate his wedding.

He has described Republican attacks on him and other liberal Jewish billionaires who back Democrats as antisemitic, singling out a tweet last year by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the minority leader. McCarthy tweeted, “We cannot allow [George] Soros, Steyer, and [Michael] Bloomberg to BUY this election! Get out and vote Republican November 6th.”

“In terms of interpreting what he said, that seems, to me, like a straight-up antisemitic move,” Steyer told CNN at the time. McCarthy later deleted the tweet.

Another senior Republican, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), has spelled Steyer’s name with a dollar sign.

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