A new campaign video by Senator Bernie Sanders, titled “Bernie Would Be the First Jewish President,” frames the possibility of his election as striking a blow against the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States. The video marks a milestone in the candidate’s decision to put his Jewishness front and center in his 2020 presidential campaign, after he was accused of downplaying his background during his run in 2016.
Jamie Margolin, a Jewish climate change activist, opens the video with a declaration that a Sanders presidency would represent “blowback” in the battle against bigotry. Recalling that in 2017's "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, white nationalists had chanted “Jews will not replace us,” Margolin comments with a flourish that “having a Jew literally replace them … would be so satisfying!”
Margolin's statement ties the Charlottesville white nationalists to President Donald Trump, and the Sanders video features Trump’s comment that in Charlottesville there were “very fine people on both sides,” and that Jews who vote Democrat have “great disloyalty” to Israel.
“It is a difficult time to be Jewish right now considering the Trump administration’s anti-Semitism,” says Margolin, as the video shows multiple news reports of anti-Semitic hate crimes that happened over the past year.
The video also features visuals from the Holocaust, as Sanders reminds an audience that his father’s family was wiped out by the Nazis and “if there is a people who understands the danger of racism and white nationalism, it is certainly the Jewish people.”
“I am very proud of being Jewish and that is an essential part of who I am as a human being,” he declares.
The Sanders video went online as the leaders of two Democratic Israel advocacy organizations spent the weekend engaged in an intramural slugfest over efforts to sabotage Sanders’ frontrunner status.