Bernie Sanders’ curious little manifesto on anti-Semitism in Jewish Currents on Nov. 11 reminds me why I could not possibly support the man—and why I sometimes feel a stab of regret about it. There is an impulsively decent quality in him that erupts now and then in rebellious outbursts of unexpected political principle, typically in ways that might offend his ideologically more cartoonish followers, but that render him pleasing, in my own eyes. And the mini-manifesto in Jewish Currents—the piece that Yair Rosenberg discussed in Tablet some days ago—offers an example.
It comes halfway through when Bernie recalls that, back in 1963, he lived the kibbutznik life in Israel. He was able to see and experience what he describes as “many of the progressive values upon which Israel was founded.” And he says: “I think it is very important for everyone, but particularly for progressives, to acknowledge the enormous achievement of establishing a democratic homeland for the Jewish people after centuries of displacement and persecution.”