(July 9, 2019 / JNS) Max Berger, a staffer for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) 2020 presidential campaign, has come under fire for his past anti-Israel activism, including posting a now-deleted tweet from 2013 that he “would totally be friends with Hamas,” a U.S.-designated terrorist group.
The tweet re-emerged on Twitter by David Frank, who identifies himself from Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel.
Curious @ewarren is this your official position? Max Berger works for you now …. if president you will embrace Hamas? Maybe you should issue an official statement condemning Max Berger, IfNotNow and hatred of Jews and Israel. Fire Max Berger!! #Antisemitism pic.twitter.com/tY7UauStTB
— David Frank ????????דוד פרנק (@DavidFrank35) July 5, 2019
Warren campaign spokesperson Chris Hayden told JNS that the tweets by Berger were taken out of context. Hayden referred JNS to tweets by Washington Post politics reporter Dave Weigel, who tweeted that “Berger tweeted that the day that [Mother Jones reporter Dan Friedman] exposed a false claim that [former Nebraska senator and U.S. Secretary of Defense] Chuck Hagel spoke to ‘Friends of Hamas.’”
Hagel, who was a Republican senator from Nebraska, faced opposition by some in the pro-Israel community when he was nominated as secretary of defense under President Barack Obama in 2013 and confirmed by the Senate following a filibuster by Republicans.
Weigel added that “Berger was obviously getting in on a Twitter joke; it’s ridiculous to claim he just was revealing his pro-terror sympathies.”
Oppo is oppo, sure. But @FreeBeacon regularly publishes satire (like the jokey “winners” on their Men of the Year list). Berger was obviously getting in on a Twitter joke; it’s ridiculous to claim he just was revealing his pro-terror sympathies.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) July 8, 2019
Nevertheless, Berger’s anti-Israel history includes supporting violent demonstrations, as demonstrated by now-deleted Twitter posts, according to Canary Mission.
Berger, who serves as director for progressive partnerships for Sen. Warren, co-founded the anti-Israel group IfNotNow (INN), where, in July 2014, he “was arrested with eight other INN activists at a protest against the Conference of Presidents, after refusing to leave the lobby of the organization’s building in New York City,” according to Canary Mission, a blacklist of anti-Israel activists.
IfNotNow has a policy to “officially lobby political leaders to speak out against the occupation and the policies of the Israeli government, focusing on Democratic candidates in the 2020 elections.”
Berger has also expressed support for Palestinian rioters along the Israel-Gaza border.
“The violence of the past few weeks at the Gaza border is truly sickening. But, the protestors will to resist the oppression they face gives me hope. The young Americans—Muslims, Jews, Christians, secular Americans—rising up to oppose the US response gives me hope,” he tweeted on May 15, 2018, when there were riots along the Israel-Gaza border instigated by Hamas in response to the United States opening its embassy in Jerusalem.
That same day, Berger also tweeted, “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.”
The previous day, in response to an MSNBC tweet about 6 Palestinians killed, hundreds hurt in protests on Israel-Gaza border,” Berger posted: “Killed by whom? Hurt how? The Israeli state can’t tolerate nonviolent resistance to their brutal subjugation and military occupation of millions of Palestinians …. ”
Finally, Berger tweeted in July 2014, “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.”
Simon Wiesenthal Center associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper told The Washington Free Beacon, “Anyone who wants to be friendly with Hamas has no business being in a presidential campaign. It’s very straightforward.”
“If that’s the message that Elizabeth Warren wants to send to Jewish progressives and the rest of the American Jewish community, that the person she put in charge of outreach wants to be friends with Hamas, no way,” he continued. “She’s going to have to deal with this right now.”