Bernie Sanders Hires Outspoken Critic of Israel for Jewish Outreach Position
JNS.org – The presidential campaign of Democratic primary candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) has hired an outspoken critic of Israeli government policies as its Jewish outreach coordinator.
Simone Zimmerman is active in the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby J Street and the “Open Hillel” movement — both of which have been criticized in the Jewish community for ignoring Israeli grievances in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and whitewashing Palestinian terrorism. Open Hillel rejects the Hillel campus umbrella organization’s guidelines on shunning partnerships with anti-Israel groups, while J Street has also been scrutinized for co-sponsoring events with anti-Israel organizations. Zimmerman has also been involved with IfNotNow, a new movement of young American Jews who oppose Israeli control in the disputed territories.
In a February op-ed forHaaretz, Zimmerman outlined her views on Israel, including her perceptions on what she called “grave injustices committed by the Jewish state” and the “disastrous reality of holding millions of Palestinians under military occupation.”
“Tell the UC Regents: anti-Zionism is not racism, it’s a political belief,” Zimmerman retweeted from the Twitter account of the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace in March, reacting to the University of California Board of Regents’ adoption of a report that condemned both anti-Semitism and forms of anti-Zionism that are anti-Semitic.
The decision to hire Zimmerman comes after Sanders recently inflated the number of Palestinian civilian deaths in the 2014 Israel-Hamas war at least sevenfold — to 10,000 — in an interview with the New York Daily News.