Bernie Sanders becomes first Jewish candidate to win a presidential primary

Sen. Bernie Sanders. Credit: Paul Morigi Photography/Brookings Institution via

( Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday convincingly won the Democratic presidential race’s New Hampshire’s primary over opponent Hillary Clinton, 60-38.3 percent, becoming the first Jewish candidate to ever win a presidential primary. Clinton, the former secretary of state and first lady, had narrowly defeated Sanders in the Iowa caucus earlier this month.

Business magnate Donald Trump won New Hampshire’s Republican primary with 35.2 percent of the vote, with Ohio Governor John Kasich placing second at 15.9 percent and Iowa caucus winner Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) coming in third at 11.6 percent. 

It was recently revealed that Sanders volunteered on the Shaar Haamakim kibbutz in northern Israel in 1963, possibly influencing the senator’s socialist political beliefs. While it was previously known that Sanders spent time on a kibbutz, the identity of that kibbutz was a mystery. 

While Sanders’s approach to Israel and the Middle East was also somewhat of a mystery in the early stages of his candidacy, given his heavy focus on domestic issues like income inequality, he has provided some clues in recent weeks. On Sunday, Sanders cited the liberal Jewish lobby group J Street and the Arab American Institute as Middle East foreign policy advisers. 

“We’ve talked to people like Jim Zogby, talked to the people on J Street to get a broad perspective of the Middle East,” Sanders said on NBC program “Meet the Press.”

J Street and the Arab American Institute, which is headed by James Zogby, have frequently criticized Israel and mainstream pro-Israel groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for their stances on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While J Street says it has a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” mission, it has been accused of collaborating with anti-Israel groups, such as through event co-sponsorships on college campuses.

Sanders also recently called for the swift normalization of U.S. relations with Iran, a position that Clinton has opposed and that the Obama administration, despite brokering last summer’s nuclear deal with Iran, has not adopted.

Posted on February 10, 2016 .