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Zioness Statement on Bernie Sanders and Linda Sarsour

Our statement on Bernie Sanders and Linda Sarsour:

Progressive values demand a commitment to working, tirelessly, to build a more equitable America. Progressives, by definition, seek to make progress in the fight against bigotry, no matter what community is being targeted. As progressives, we know that when any community is attacked, we are all attacked. We know that in America today, there is an incredible amount of work to do on this front, and so many others.

And as progressives, we are disheartened, to say the least, to see progressive Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders bringing Linda Sarsour, one of the most divisive individuals on the American political scene—and that says a lot in today’s environment—into his campaign in an official capacity. Our country is broken, and the Jewish community is one of many that is constantly attacked and exploited as a political weapon. Instead of recognizing the pervasiveness of this problem, Sanders has elevated an individual who has done so much to alienate American Jews from our natural ideological home, demonized the very vast majority of us who believe in our own liberation in the form of Zionism, and proudly celebrated one of America’s most notorious antisemitic figures, Reverend Louis Farrakhan.

There are extraordinary activists from every corner of this great country who represent the full diversity of the progressive community. There are leaders who work to unite—to bridge the seemingly chasmic but nevertheless artificial divides between all of our marginalized groups. There are endless options for campaign surrogates who will make American Jews proud of our roots and our historic leadership in the progressive movement. Linda Sarsour is not one of them. Bernie Sanders should know better and must do better.

Zioness exists because our community needs real leaders who will not demand that we, American Jews, abandon our identities as Zionists in order to be safe and welcome in domestic movements for social, racial, economic, and gender justice. We will not submit to a pernicious false choice applied only to our community: We will continue to be both unabashedly progressive and unapologetically Zionist, with full conviction in our commitment to all parts of our authentic selves. And we will not stand silently in the face of antisemitism or anti-Zionism. Neither should anyone seeking to hold the office of the President of the United States.

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