No, Simone Zimmerman Wasn't Suspended Over Bibi, but for BDS

For those who haven't been following this story, let me quickly recap.

The Sanders campaign brought in Simone Zimmerman, a radical anti-Israel activist, as the Director of Jewish Outreach. The Point was the first to break the story about her.

Simone Zimmerman was involved in If Not Now, another anti-Israel group that protested Jewish charities using stealth BDS. Her timeline was full of attacks on Israel and retweets of Hamas apologists.

In response to Hamas attacks on Israel, Simone Zimmerman said, “We think it’s important to understand the context of occupation". And declared that she opposed the campaign against Hamas that began after the brutal murder of three Jewish teens by Hamas terrorists.

And the results were a train wreck.

Meanwhile, across the room, an activist exchanged vitriol with the campaign’s newly hired national Jewish outreach coordinator, Simone Zimmerman, after demanding accountability for the campaign’s failures on the Jewish front.

So problem.

Two days later, Uriel Heilman of the JTA wrote up a defensive puff piece about Simone Zimmerman. Despite his pro-Zimmerman tone, Heilman quoted the original Front Page piece about Zimmerman.

Some anti-Sanders groups already have seized upon Zimmerman’s hire, first disclosed in a JTA story published Monday, as fodder for their argument that a Sanders presidency would be bad for the Jews.

“Yes, this is what the Bernie Sanders version of Jewish outreach looks like,” Daniel Greenfield wrote inFrontPageMag, a right-wing website associated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which describes the political left as an enemy of America. “Stone throwing and BDS papered over with random Yiddish and Jewish words to make anti-Semitism and hatred of Jew seem socially acceptable.”

Heilman also added a few facts about her background and agenda, including most explosively, BDS. His article quickly went viral across a variety of media outlets, Haaretz, Times of Israel, etc... It was commented on by media personalities like Jeffrey Goldberg.

Around the same time Noah Pollak at the Free Beacon pointed out some other issues with Simone Zimmerman. The most notable of which was a Facebook post by Zimmerman ranting about Netanyahu and accusing Israel of the murder of "2,000 people". While the ugly tone of Zimmerman's rant caught some people's attention, it was far from the worst thing about her.

On Twitter, Jews for Bernie and assorted anti-Israel leftists assailed Front Page Magazine.

On the next day, the Sanders campaign, in response to mounting outrage, decided to suspend her while they "investigated". This is a fairly typical stalling tactic.

The media has responded to it by spinning a narrative. The narrative is that Simone Zimmerman was suspended for insulting Netanyahu.

The New York Times completely ignores Front Page and the JTA piece and mentions only the Free Beacon. Why? Because it feeds its narrative Simone Zimmerman was suspended for attacking Netanyahu.

Gawker went with the same narrative "Bernie Sanders Suspends Staffer for Criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu".

The rest of the media will stick to the same narrative. Except the narrative is a lie.

Bernie Sanders has frequently attacked Netanyahu and did so at a debate right after the suspension. Obama staffers used obscenities when referring to the Israeli Prime Minister. If all Simone Zimmerman had done was attack Netanyahu, the backlash would have been extremely limited. It certainly would not have extended to Sanders voters.

Noah Pollak does fine work, but it was Heilman's JTA piece that was widely seen by Jewish leaders and that generated the outrage. The JTA piece never even mentioned Netanyahu. Zimmerman's Netanyahu rant added fuel to the fire.

But it was not the issue.

The media will insist on spinning the story as a ban on criticizing Netanyahu to make Simone Zimmerman look like a victim. And to make critics appear to be obsessed with protecting the Israeli government.

And again. This is a lie.

There was actually a far more important line in Pollak's Free Beacon piece. One that the media won't talk about.

While a student at Berkeley in 2012, she signed a letter criticizing the University of California system for issuing a report about anti-Semitism on UC campuses

That letter was generated by JVP, a radical anti-Israel hate group that defends terrorists, describes the Jewish community as the enemy and pushes BDS.

And you can see why the media wouldn't walk to talk about that. Because this wasn't about Bibi. It was about BDS.

Share