(July 10, 2019 / JNS) The Zionist Organization of America urges presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to fire her campaign’s new Israel-bashing “director of progressive partnerships” Max Berger. Berger co-founded the extreme Israel-hating group IfNotNow, whose stated goal is to “end support for the occupation.”
“End the occupation” is “Fatah-speak” and “Hamas-speak” for opposing the presence of Jews on lawful Jewish lands and ending Israel’s very existence.
The term “occupation” is also a fallacious Orwellian myth because it means that the “occupier” stole another state’s sovereign land. When Israel captured Judea and Samaria in a defensive war in 1967, it was no one’s sovereign land. It was illegally occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967. There was never a Palestinian state in Israel, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and/or Jerusalem. There was never a Palestinian state, no Palestinian kings and queens. In fact, Judea and Samaria and the eastern portion of Jerusalem were and are land lawfully designated for the Jewish state under the British Mandate and international law.
Further, in 2005, Israel withdrew from all of Gaza. Some 98 percent of the Palestinian Arabs now live in areas governed by the Palestinian Authority with their own parliament, schools, textbooks, media, courts and governing institutions.
Yet disgracefully and hatefully, IfNotNow calls the Jewish presence in the Jewish homeland “violent,” “deadly,” “a nightmare” and “morally indefensible.” Self-described dove Eric Yoffie, former president of the Union for Reform Judaism, noted in a Haaretz op-ed (4/24/18) that IfNotNow has no position on whether a Jewish state should exist. Yoffie asked: “If NotNow is so noisy about the occupation. Why is it so quiet about Israel’s right to exist?”
Among other stunts, IfNotNow recited Kaddish (the Jewish mourning prayer) for the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists who were killed while trying to breach the Gaza border to murder innocent Jewish civilians. On July 29, 2014, Berger tweeted about participating in such a “beautiful” sit-in and “Kaddish action” at the offices of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. Berger and other IfNotNow members were arrested for refusing to leave the building and have staged sit-ins on the premises of other Jewish organizations.
Despicably, the group also trains camp counselors to infiltrate Jewish summer camps to teach little Jewish children the lie that Israel is an evil occupier of “Palestinian” lands and to turn Jewish children against Israel.
Max Berger also reportedly was affiliated with Dream Defenders, whose long string of anti-Jewish anti-Israel activities include lauding as heroes the designated foreign terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and bringing people to meet with PFLP leaders and PFLP front group Addameer. Berger also previously worked at the hostile-to-Israel J Street. (See ZOA’s detailed report: “J Street Sides with Israel’s Enemies and Works to Destroy Support for Israel.”)
In February 2019, Max Berger published an op-ed in Think Progress titled “American Jews Must Stand With Ilhan Omar,” in which Berger absurdly claimed that “Omar is the kind of leader America—and the American Jewish community—needs,” and that “the substance of her remarks was absolutely accurate.”
Omar’s false claims that Israel is “evil” and that Jewish money buys Congress are neither “absolutely accurate” nor accurate at all. In fact, Congress supports Israel because it is the moral thing to do, and because America and Israel are democratic allies and share strategic interests. Further, as ZOA exposed in our hypocrisy alert, Omar (D-Minn.) is financially backed by virulent Hamas-supporting anti-Israel BDS groups and individuals.
Berger also supports anti-Semitic Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who wrapped herself in the Palestinian flag to celebrate her election victory, openly supports BDS and Israel’s destruction, replaced Israel with “Palestine” on her congressional map, accused pro-Israel Americans of “dual loyalty,” and associates with leading anti-Semites and terrorists.
On May 8, 2019, Berger tweeted: “As a Jew, I’m ashamed of @RepJoshG. We need Jewish leaders to fight for the freedom and dignity of all—not use their power to tear down progressive women of color like @RashidaTlaib. A new generation of leaders like @IfNotNowOrg is rising. Stand with us or get out the way.”
(“RepJoshG” is Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), who, along with Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-Va.) told Tlaib how hurtful Tlaib’s anti-Semitic “dual loyalty” comments were to American Jews.)
Similarly, in May 2019, Berger tweeted that we should have Imam Omar Suleiman’s back, and complained that “[t]he right wing is going after @omarsuleiman504.” Imam Suleiman is virulently anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-gay and anti-women: Suleiman has stated: “The Zionists are the enemies of God, His Messengers, sincere followers of all religions, and humanity as a whole”; calls Jews “apes and pigs,” “deceitful” and “people who incurred God’s wrath”; calls Christians “misguided”; and threatened “promiscuous” Muslim women that their fathers will kill them (in so-called honor killings). In 2014, Imam Omar Suleiman tweeted a call for a “Third Intifada” to destroy Israel.
Thus, by placing Max Berger in a major position in her campaign, Warren is making a clear statement of her own Israelophobic hatred towards America’s greatest ally, Israel, by associating herself with someone who supports the worst Jew-haters’ anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-women bile.
Canary Mission collected screenshots of Berger’s long string of hateful Internet postings, which also demonstrate his unfitness to serve on any decent campaign. Berger has tweeted support for Hamas; tweeted support for Hamas operatives, armed with machetes and maps to Israeli kindergartens, who attempted to breach Israel’s border with the stated plan to eat the livers of Jews (Berger falsely claimed these were merely peaceful protestors); falsely accused Israel of perpetrating a “massacre” and “pogrom” in Gaza; and demonized Israel, Likud, and pro-Israel Jews. Among other things, Berger tweeted:
“Confession: I would totally be friends with Hamas.” (Feb. 20, 2013)
[Hamas] “protestors[’] will to resist oppression gives me hope.” (May 15, 2018)
“It’s disappointing that potential Dem Presidential contenders @CoryBooker, @SenGillibrand, @KamalaHarris, @JoeBiden have yet to condemn Israel’s massacre in Gaza. Like #MedicareForAll, @SenSanders and the movements will push the Democratic Party to take the right stance by 2020.” (May 15, 2018)
“Party Leader [Bernie] Sanders shows Democrats how to talk about the grotesque Israeli violence against peaceful protestors in Gaza. Now, let’s hear @SenSchumer do the same.” (May 14, 2018)
“What Israel is doing in Gaza should be familiar to Jews. It’s called a pogrom. You’d think Jews would be against those. #Shanda #NotInMyName.” (July 18, 2014)
“Sometimes I feel the biggest obstacle to peace in Israel-Palestine is the bigotry of American Jews.” (June 17, 2014)
ZOA thus urges Warren to immediately fire Max Berger!
We also urge the senator to re-evaluate her recent troubling positions on Israel, including her adoption yesterday of IfNotNow’s anti-Israel, anti-Semitic “end the occupation” mantra.
In New Hampshire on Monday, two IfNotNow representatives told Warren: “We’d really love it if you also pushed the Israeli government to end occupation.” Warren responded: “Yes, yes. So I’m there,” and then posed for pictures with the IfNotNow representatives. (See “Warren: I Would Push Israel to End Occupation of Palestinians: Senator tells activists ‘I’m there,’ ” Washington Free Beacon, July 8, 2019, with video.)
ZOA reminds Warren that calling to “end the occupation”: (a) endorses the discriminatory, anti-Semitic removal of hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes in the Jewish homeland, including from the Jewish quarter and Old City where the Jewish people’s holiest sites are located; (b) often refers to Israel’s extinction; and (c) violates ratified, signed U.S. treaty obligations and international law guaranteeing the Jewish people’s right to closely settle and reconstitute the Jewish homeland in the entirety of Israel, including Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria.
In May 2018, Warren signed a joint letter with Sanders and a few others demanding that U.S. taxpayers restore funding to UNRWA.
UNRWA is the bloated, corrupt U.N. agency that stores Hamas rockets in its schools, teaches children to hate Israel and perpetuates Palestinian Arabs as “refugees” generation after generation, instead of ending the endless Palestinian Arab refugee charade and resettling “Palestinian” Arabs in their host countries and countries of origin in other parts of the Middle East, where they lived for far longer than they ever lived in Israel.
Warren’s letter also demanded easing movement in and out of Gaza, which would enable Hamas to import more weapons. The letter also wrongly partially blamed Israel for a “Gazan humanitarian crisis.” The crisis is solely due to terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and their diversion, for warmongering, of the massive humanitarian aid received from Israel and others.
In April 2018, Warren demanded that “the Israel Defense Forces should exercise restraint and respect the rights of Palestinians to peacefully protest.” Warren’s statements ignored the facts that the Israel Defense Forces already exercises the utmost restraint; that, as British forces commander Col. Richard Kemp explained, the IDF is the world’s most moral army; and that the Hamas-instigated violent riots and Hamas attempts to breach the Gazan-Israel border were not “peaceful protests.”
In August 2017, Warren opposed the much-needed Israel Anti-Boycott Act, citing a spurious free-speech argument, when the bill merely addressed economic activity.
In 2015, Warren (and Sanders and then-Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke) refused to attend Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s important speech to a joint session of Congress about the dangers of the Iran deal. And Warren then supported the catastrophic Iran deal.
In September 2014, she failed to sign a letter signed by 88 senators asking then-Secretary of State John Kerry to prevent Hamas from rebuilding its military capabilities.
Notably, the above stances were an about-face from Warren’s prior positions. For instance, in August 2014, Warren strongly defended Israel’s right to defend herself. During the same year, she also co-sponsored the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act.
When she was a professor, Warren castigated those who changed their positions, to embrace stances that they know are wrong for the sake of political expediency.
In 2004, in a televised interview and also in her book The Two-Income Trap, then-professor Warren denounced Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) for voting for a “vampire” bankruptcy bill that previously, as first lady, Clinton persuaded her husband to veto, on principle. Warren blamed Clinton’s “about-face” on Sen. Clinton receiving contributions from the credit industry, and “pressures” and “worries about them as a constituency.”
We urge Warren to return to her prior principled support for Israel and the pro-Israel community, starting by firing Israelophobe Max Berger.
Morton Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Mark Levenson is chairman of the ZOA and a member of its executive committee.