One of the many things that makes Bernie Sanders stand out from the crowd of all other presidential candidates is his unbiased stance on the Israel-Palestine issue.
Throughout the course of his campaign, the Vermont senator has maintained while Israel has the right to defend itself from its regional enemies, it certainly doesn’t have the authority to deprive Palestinians of their land and basic rights.
However, Sanders’ recent move to suspend a recently appointed staffer over comments about the Israeli prime minister — that were more or less similar to his own — raises many questions.
Sanders’ campaign has reportedly suspended Simone Zimmerman, who was recently hired as the candidate’s Jewish outreach coordinator, for criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu in a strongly worded Facebook post written over a year ago.
In the post, Zimmerman wrote “F*** you Bibi,” referring to Netanyahu’s nickname, and described the Israeli leader as “arrogant, deceptive, cynical” and “manipulative.” She called out the Israeli leader for trying to “derail” the Iranian nuclear negotiations and for carrying out the 2014 military operation in the Gaza Strip.
Now, while the 25-year-old’s choice of words was indeed inappropriate, she was, nevertheless, right about everything she wrote. For instance, Netanyahu is indeed a notorious right-winger often criticized over his unpredictable and often false, racist statements.
He indeed tried to derail the Iran nuclear negotiations and in his quest to do so, upstaged President Barack Obama to address the Congress about the issue last March — a controversy that prompted exasperation from Obama himself.
As far as the Israeli 2014 military operation is concerned, it was OK'd by Netanyahu and was undoubtedly a disproportionate response to Hamas’ rocket attacks. Operation Protective Edge claimed the lives of 2,251 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 551 children, and 66 Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
Again, while one can argue over Zimmerman’s choice of words to describe Netanyahu on social media, her position over Israel cannot and should not be criticized.
“She has been suspended while we investigate the matter,” Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Sanders told The New York Times.
Meanwhile, a Change.org petition for Zimmerman’s reinstatement has been set up.