New York - Hoping To Attract Support In NY’s Jewish Community Sanders Suspends Controversial Aide
New York - Two days after being named as the national Jewish outreach coordinator for the Sanders campaign, a left wing Jewish political activist was suspended yesterday pending an investigation into vulgarity laden remarks about both Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Simone Zimmerman, a well known liberal anti-activist and BDS supporter, was the national president of the student branch of J Street during her time at the University of California. She began a grass roots movement of her own that sought to prevent American Jewish groups from supporting Israeli activities in the occupied territories, attracting the support of thousands of young Jewish adults as well as the attention of Bernie Sanders who hired her as a Jewish liaison on Tuesday, an appointment that lasted just hours after the Washington Free Beacon released screenshots of Ms. Zimmerman’s Facebook page.
An expletive-laden March 2015 post by Zimmerman about Netanyahu described him as “arrogant, deceptive, cynical, manipulative,” according to The New York Times. The same post continued in a more aggressive tone, sharply criticizing Netanyahu for sanctioning “the murder of over 2,000 people this summer.” Another post written after Sanders clinched the New Hampshire primary offered both criticism and a vulgarity when referring to Mrs. Clinton.
Zimmerman’s dismissal came shortly before Sanders and Clinton faced off on Thursday night in Brooklyn, in a move that was seen as a mechanism for appealing to Jewish voters in Tuesday’s New York primary. While Sanders may be the most successful Jewish candidate to have ever launched a presidential campaign, Mrs. Clinton is still believed to have a commanding lead in the Jewish community.
Among those who called for Sanders to drop Ms. Zimmerman were Abe Foxman, president emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. Hoenlein’s office was just one of the locations targeted by Ms. Zimmerman for anti-Israel demonstrations.
Ms. Zimmerman’s firing for her controversial remarks was a step in the right direction for Sanders, according to Hoenlein.
“The fact that he acted shows that he obviously didn’t think it was acceptable,” said Hoenlein.
Whether or not Ms. Zimmerman’s suspension is permanent remains to be seen. Michael Briggs, a spokesperson for the Sanders campaign left the door open for a possible return saying, “she has been suspended while we investigate the matter.”
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