US Elections: Sanders vs. Bloomberg Scenario Is Like a Jewish Joke turned real- Chemi Shalev | Haaretz 

Two Jewish finalists in the Democratic race is a source of pride for U.S. Jews – as well as a reason for grave concern 

Analysis: Chemi Shalev | Haaretz 

The late and great Leo Rosten recounted in his book “Hooray for Yiddish” that whenever his father would marvel at the wonders of the United States, instead of using the staple quip “Only in America”, he would exclaim “America gonef!” The saying literally means “America the thief”, but in the mouths of Jewish immigrants to the United States, it evolved to signify their unending gratitude and admiration for the country that took them in and made them prosper. 

Rosten recounts that his father, Sam Rosenberg of Lodz, would exclaim “America gonef” at least five times a day. If he were alive today to witness the Democratic primary race, Mr. Rosenberg would have surely doubled or tripled his daily output. As if it weren’t amazing enough that one Jew is leading the Democratic pack, his main challenger could very well turn out to be yet another Jew. If Mad Magazine were still breathing, it might have replaced its legendary strip “Spy vs. Spy” with “Jew vs. Jew”. America gonef!             

The fact that Bernie Sanders is now the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is a milestone in American Jewish history in and of itself. The possibility, if NOT yet probability, that in the final showdown Sanders could face Michael Bloomberg is AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORY GONE BERSERK. As the Eagles noted in “Hotel California,” “This could be heaven or this could be hell” – but the odds are in favor of the latter.

The fact that two Jewish Americans are serious contenders to be nominated as presidential candidate by a major U.S. party is testament to the prominence and acceptance of what is undoubtedly the greatest Jewish Diaspora, pardon the expression, of the modern era. It comes at a time, however, when the same Jewish community is feeling exceptionally vulnerable and anti-Semitism is on the rise – particularly in the rival political camp. IF EITHER SANDERS OR BLOOMBERG FACE OFF AGAINST DONALD TRUMP, AN ANTI-SEMITIC SURGE ON THE WHITE RIGHT – FROM THE WHITE HOUSE DOWN – IS ALMOST INEVITABLE.

Besides their shared Jewishness, which both Bloomberg and Sanders have miraculously rediscovered on the campaign trail, the two candidates have other things in common.

They were born within four months of each other: A President Sanders would celebrate his 80th in his first year in office, and Bloomberg at the start of his second.

Both are quick-witted and sharp-tongued, with long memories and short tempers: Acerbic Jews might describe them as alter kakers, for which the genteel Rosten used the initials A.K. 

But as Jewish mazel would have it, Sanders and Bloomberg aren’t merely two random contestants in a field of many: THEY ARE ANTAGONISTS ON A SURE-FIRE COLLISION COURSE.

Politically, upstart Bloomberg is already raining on what is expected to be Sanders’ victory parade after the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. The former New York mayor’s qualification for the Wednesday night debate in Las Vegas stole some of the limelight from Sanders in advance; their expected clashes generated more anticipation and excitement than any of the previous seven Democratic debates.

If Bloomberg outlasts Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar to emerge as the last man standing among the party’s centrist candidates, he could become Sanders’ potential spoiler. In the shtetls of their forefathers in Poland, Sanders’ followers would dub Bloomberg a mazik, which, as Michael Wex explains in “Born to Kvetch”, is a kind of mischievous poltergeist who comes along at night to ruin the shoes you’ve been fixing all day.

In this case, however, it is a Wall Street mega-billionaire swooping down to steal poor Sanders’ crown, just as he is finally donning it after a lifetime of effort. Even the most imaginative Hollywood screenwriter would recoil at casting their two main protagonists as literal stereotypes of class warfare, establishment baron vs. radical activist. Both profiles, of course, are favorite fares of most anti-Semites: The bloodsucking Jewish capitalist vs. the revolutionary Jewish anarchist, as if a time machine has transported us back to the early 20th century.

But the fact that Sanders and Bloomberg come from totally opposite quarters also means that theirs will be a bitter, total war. Their personal rivalry entails what can be described as a clash of civilizations. It is a fight that could tear the Democratic Party apart, between moderates accusing progressives of backing a candidate too far from the mainstream to be elected and the progressives countering with the charge that moderates are selling their souls for Bloomberg’s money and for the yet-to-be proven claim that he stands a better chance of beating Donald Trump. If left unchecked, it is a battle that could sap Democrats’ energies just as the true war begins.

The discord could be even harsher among Jewish Democrats, who comprise the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community as a whole, and not just because Bloomberg and Sanders are their “landsman” – the term used to greet new Jewish immigrants from the same region. In addition to the expected clashes between younger Sanders supporters and older Bloomberg backers, between left and center, rich and less-rich, champions of status quo vs. agents of change and so forth, there is the specifically Jewish matter of Israel, on which the two candidates are also, at least on the face of it, oceans apart.

Sanders has never wavered in his fundamental support for Israel’s security and well-being, but he is the most vociferous critic among senior U.S. politicians of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians in general and of its right-wing prime minister in particular. Sanders, however, is identified with the growing radical wing of the party, which includes a sizable anti-Zionist contingent. Even Israeli leftists don’t believe that Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have their country’s best interests at heart.

Bloomberg, on the other hand, is more of a classic AIPAC Democrat type, critical of Netanyahu to a degree but generally warm and supportive of Israel on most issues, especially those related to security. Traditional supporters of Israel undoubtedly feel more comfortable with Bloomberg than with Sanders. 

Bloomberg’s appearance on the Democratic scene makes Netanyahu’s life easier and more complicated at the same time. Sanders’ surge had placed both Netanyahu and AIPAC in the historically shameful position of plotting to undermine the first potential Jewish candidate of a major party. With Bloomberg in play, AIPAC, at least, can now legitimately claim that it simply prefers one Jewish candidate over the other; Netanyahu could do the same, were it not for the danger that he might incur Trump’s wrath by daring to even gaze at any other potential suitor. 

This is a veritable minefield for Israel, for Democrats and for the American Jewish community.

“Two Jews enter a presidential race” may sound like the start of a good Jewish joke, but it has morphed into a surreal and potentially hazardous reality. On the other hand, two Jews is the basis of any solid dialogue in Yiddish literature and to paraphrase Tevye the Milkman’s familiar remedy to bad news in his talks with his creator Shalom Aleichem:

“Enough with the tzures (troubles). Let’s talk about happier news. Have you heard the one about the coronavirus?” 

Also check this:

Mike Bloomberg is roasting Donald Trump in billboards in two Western cities — see photos of the ads

https://www.businessinsider.com/mike-bloomberg-billboards-roast-donald-trump-las-vegas-phoenix-photos-2020-2

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Comments

  • kamtanblog  On February 23, 2020 at 3:17 am

    In my opinion….
    Hitler had right idea …just went about it
    the wrong way !
    Extermination V Taxation ?

    Tax is today the method of mass distribution
    of wealth. Creating a level playing field.
    Tax and regulation way forward for a fairer
    and freer society.
    Opportunities for the many not the few !

    Kamtan 🇬🇧🇬🇾🇪🇸🇬🇧👽

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 23, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    Is the U.S. Headed Towards Tyranny? Timothy Snyder Discusses | Amanpour and Company

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 23, 2020 at 11:07 pm

    Chemi Shalev wrote, above:

    Politically, upstart Bloomberg is already raining on what is expected to be Sanders’ victory parade after the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. ……

    He could become Sanders’ potential spoiler. …….. the Jewish people would dub Bloomberg a mazik, which, as Michael Wex explains in “Born to Kvetch”, is a kind of mischievous poltergeist who comes along at night to ruin the shoes you’ve been fixing all day.

    The foregoing written by the author, Chemi Shalev about Sanders, reminds me of another giant – now deceased, Uri Avnery – who wrote on a few occasions about Shimon Peres …… one of his essays was posted here in Guyanese Online after Peres’ funeral:

    The Triumph of Sisyphus by Uri Avnery ….. On the life of Shimon Peres
    October 9, 2016 – 12:28 am

    ** In Greek mythology, Sisyphus (/ˈsɪsᵻfəs/; Greek: Σίσυφος, Sísuphos) was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth).

    He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it come back down to hit him, repeating this action for eternity.

    I have this eerie feeling Sanders’ political life may be patterned after the script written for Sisyphus – you may check it out on this blog [written after Peres’ funeral].

    Avnery’s joke: “If an election can be lost, Peres will lose it. If an election cannot be lost, Peres will lose it anyway.” – I NEVER hated Peres, Avnery wrote, it was strictly about politics.

    I – at this point – would like to transpose the Peres name with “Sanders”. But, it ain’t over ….!!

    • Emanuel  On February 24, 2020 at 12:52 am

      President Bernie Sanders. It has a ring to it.

      Get used to it, Trump supporters.

      Emanuel

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 25, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Bernie Sanders Cannot Be Bought – His Campaign is Making Me Hopeful

    Confidence in democracy has been taking a hammering, so how refreshing to see a politician with big ideas win hearts and minds

    Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian UK

    DEMOCRACY DID NOT DIE IN 2003, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE’S FAITH IN IT DID. Just over 17 years ago, I was one of the millions of people around the world who marched against the Iraq war. The energy on the streets in London was electrifying; it was the biggest protest in British history. The government, I naively thought at the time, would have to listen. The government, of course, did not listen.

    A FEW WEEKS LATER, IRAQ WAS ILLEGALLY INVADED. This great betrayal galvanised a few of my friends into activism. But it left me, and many others, disillusioned at best and apathetic at worst. MY STUDENT IDEALISM WITHERED AND I LOST CONFIDENCE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS.

    IN THE PAST FEW DAYS, HOWEVER, SOMETHING STRANGE HAS STARTED TO HAPPEN: I have begun to feel hopeful about politics again. In the US, the growing success of Bernie Sanders’ grassroots movement in the Democratic presidential nominations has restored my faith in people power.

    IT HAS MADE ME DARE TO HOPE that a second Donald Trump term may NOT be as inevitable as I previously thought it was.

    IT HAS MADE ME DARE TO HOPE that a more equitable America – and, by extension, a more equitable world – really might be around the corner.

    ‘WHOA, WOMAN!’ YOU MIGHT SAY. SLOW DOWN!

    Sanders has only won three primaries so far. Yes, he may have won Nevada by a landslide. Yes, he may have emerged as the clear Democratic frontrunner but there is still a long way to go before he wins the nomination, let alone the general election.

    Even if we do see a President Sanders, it is not as if he would be able to enact ambitious policies, such as Medicare for All, overnight. He may not be able to enact his policies at all.

    THIS MAY BE TRUE. But do not underestimate the magnitude of what is unfolding in the US. Politicians love to throw around the word “MOVEMENT”; precious few have actually built one.

    SANDERS, HOWEVER, HAS BROUGHT TOGETHER A MULTIRACIAL, MULTIFAITH, MULTIGENERATIONAL COALITION OF PEOPLE WHO ARE FIGHTING FOR THE COLLECTIVE GOOD IN A COUNTRY LONG OBSESSED WITH INDIVIDUAL GAIN.

    One of the most heartening things to come out of the Nevada caucuses was the overwhelming support Sanders got from members of the Culinary Workers Union.

    This support was a big deal because the union’s leadership has been vocal in its criticism of Sanders, warning that his healthcare proposal would “end” the exceptional healthcare coverage it had worked so hard to negotiate.

    However, as many union members told the press, Sanders’ plan to replace private insurance with universal health care was a major reason they were behind him. They wanted their friends and family to have access to the same great healthcare they had. Their support was the very embodiment of the Sanders campaign slogan: “NOT ME. US.”

    Sanders’ detractors frequently complain about how “STUBBORN” he is.

    They don’t seem to understand that this is precisely why people like him. Trust in traditional institutions is at a record low; but Sanders is that rare politician: ONE YOU FEEL YOU CAN TRUST.

    He has been true to his values his entire life, even when it has NOT been in his political interest to stand up and speak up.

    He has spoken out about US imperialism. He opposed the Iraq war. And he has been one of the very few American politicians to acknowledge the humanity of the Palestinian people. As a half-Palestinian, I cannot tell you how important and unprecedented it is to hear a mainstream American politician stand up for Palestinian rights.

    AT A TIME WHEN EVERYTHING IS FOR SALE, SANDERS IS A POWERFUL SYMBOL OF SOMEONE WHO CANNOT BE BOUGHT.

    Sanders has refused to take billionaires’ money, relying on grassroots support.

    His snowballing success is a much-needed reminder that big money can buy you a lot of ads, but big ideas are what win you people’s hearts.

    SANDERS MAY NOT WIN THE PRESIDENCY, BUT HE HAS BUILT A MOVEMENT THAT THE ESTABLISHMENT WILL FIND VERY HARD TO STOP.

    • kamtanblog  On February 25, 2020 at 2:43 pm

      Sorry…a case of too little too late !
      Wishful thinking !
      USA deserves their present Potus.
      Allow donkies the vote
      They elect jackasses

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 25, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Kamtan: What do you mean TOO LATE??

    This is February 2020 – National Presidential Elections is November 2020

    This is how healthy competition works: – Don’t Make Your Move Too Soon!!

  • wally n  On February 25, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    AT A TIME WHEN EVERYTHING IS FOR SALE, SANDERS IS A POWERFUL SYMBOL OF SOMEONE WHO CANNOT BE BOUGHT.?????????????????????????
    for someone “cannot be bought” he certainly knows HOW TO BUY?? maybe
    Three mansions….two sport cars????
    Any one believing that socialism (or whatever the name is today) has any chance in the US, got to be nutsss
    PRESIDENT TRUMP has only to ask HOW ARE WE GOING TO PAY FOR THAT?????

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 25, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    Wally: If Traitor Trump asked me that question — I would tell him stop stealing!!

    STOP being a Damn Scamp and pay your bills.

    • Emanuel  On February 25, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      Clyde, that fella ain’t playing with a full deck. It’s best to ignore a fool whenever possible- though not always possible.

      Emanuel.

  • wally n  On February 25, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    you know I love you so……… I will allow time to……….TELL

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On February 26, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Add Tulsi Gabbard as running mate and there is the winning Sanders/Gabbard ticket. Why Gabbard? She is a woman, of mixed origin and has the most cross over appeal. In fact, Republicans and independents love her. She is also anti-war, repatriating the billions to help domestic policies.

    VNM

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 26, 2020 at 11:14 am

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On February 27, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Just yesterday I again floated the idea of Tulsi Gabbard as running mate for a potential Bernie Sanders. Later in the day Fox News has this:

    “Fox News Anchor Floats Tulsi Gabbard as Bernie’s Running Mate: You Would ‘Moderate an Extreme Ticket’”

    No 2020 Presidential candidate has made more stops on Fox News than Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). And while the Hawaii congressman’s congresswoman’s chances of capturing the nomination are just about nil, one Fox News anchor is floating the prospect of Gabbard earning a spot on the bottom of the ticket.

    During a Wednesday afternoon interview on Your World with Neil Cavuto, the eponymous anchor questioned Gabbard on the possibility of Democratic frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) naming her as Vice Presidential nominee.

    “You know, some people look at Bernie Sanders; he’s too old, too extreme,” Cavuto said. “And that if he ran and got the nomination, he’d need to seek out somebody young. Maybe a woman. Someone whose views are quite to that extreme.”

    Cavuto paused, and told Gabbard, “That’s you.”

    The congresswoman laughed.

    “I know you’re trying to break news right now here, Neil,” she said.

    “No, you kidding?” Cavuto said, tongue-in-cheek. “I just look at stocks.”

    Gabbard demurred.

    “Bernie is a friend,” she said. “But I’m very focused on doing exactly what we’re doing. Carrying this message that I’m sharing with you and your viewers here today.”

    Cavuto pressed.

    “Well that would moderate what seems an extreme ticket, right?”

    “Potentially so,” Gabbard replied, coyly.

    Watch above, via Fox News.
    https://www.mediaite.com/election-2020/fox-news-anchor-floats-tulsi-gabbard-as-bernies-running-mate-you-would-moderate-an-extreme-ticket/

    VNM

  • wally n  On February 27, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    She is actually one of the better candidates, not only because she has a very realistic platform, but she maintains her views even though it is not in line with the extreme positions of the other candidates. She would never accept the VP offer (saw the show) because she will have to reverse her platform position to coincide with bernie’s craziness, plus, she is aware that Americans will never accept bernie or his extreme socialist vision.
    Maybe PRESIDENT TRUMP should had offered her a cabinet position when she had asked?

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