I recently attended the Bernie Sanders rally here in Tucson at Reid Park. Although I am a strong Hillary Clinton supporter, I wanted to see in person why a 74-year-old Jewish Socialist candidate is inspiring so much passion nationally among progressives and independents. As I was finding a space with my son in the crowd of 10,000 to watch the speech, I came across a group of anti-Israel protesters holding a BDS (Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions) banner. So I asked one of the protesters if they are aware that Bernie is a Jewish supporter of Israel. He responded that they are hoping to “change his mind.” I asked if he agreed that Israel has a right to exist, and he would not give me an answer.
It has become common to see anti-Israel protesters at progressive events and on college campuses. Somehow, for a majority of young people, being anti-Israel has become what being against South Africa was in the 1980s — a cause with a divestment movement, and celebrity protesters. However, there is not an organized movement to counter this anti-Israel sentiment. I believe it is time for progressives and all Americans to stop being silent and start speaking out for Israel before a whole generation of support is lost. We need to follow the example of Howard Stern (whom I am not normally a fan of) who recently publicly criticized Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd) after Waters attempted to bully rocker Bon Jovi out of playing a concert in Israel. (Other popular celebrities that young people follow, like singers Rihanna and Selena Gomez, also have expressed similar anti-Israel sentiments).
I am going to do my part next week at our local All Souls Procession. I had previously written about the anti-Israel protesters marching in that parade. This year I will have my pro-Israel sign ready when they come by.
— Tony Zinman