Politics & Policy

Former Bernie Sanders Surrogate: ‘Stop Condemning Anti-Semitism’

Amer Zahr (Screengrab via Twitter)

A former campaign surrogate for Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.,) urged people to “stop condemning anti-Semitism” in a recent tweet.

“Stop it. We have been doing it for generations. So stop it. You’re not helping. If they didn’t believe us by now, that’s not our problem. Stay focused. #FreePalestine @bellahadid @GiGiHadid,” wrote Amer Zahr, a comedian and activist. 

He tagged models GiGi and Bella Hadid and referred to a recent full-page advertisement in the New York Times that called on the models to condemn Hamas. While the ad said, “Hamas calls for a second Holocaust” and included excerpts from the terrorist group’s charter that says the “Day of Judgment will not come about until [Muslims] fight Jews and kill them,” Zahr claimed that the ad was actually saying the Hadids were “in favor for a second Holocaust.

“Stop it! They’re playing games,” Zahr said in the video posted online. “Don’t condemn s***.”

“We have a cross-sectional, intersectional movement that is winning, and they are scared, and they are freaking out, and they’re trying to distract you all,” he added.

Zahr is a former surrogate for Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign and an ally to “Squad” member Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.).

Zahr, the president of the advocacy group New Generation for Palestine, once introduced Sanders at a campaign event in Dearborn, Mich., and recently posted a picture on Facebook with Tlaib at one of the group’s events. He included the hashtag “Free Palestine” in the caption for the photo.

He also previously visited Tlaib’s office during her swearing-in. At the time, he shared a video of himself putting a sticky note with “Palestine” written on it and pointing to Israel on a map.

Zahr defended his comments in a statement to Fox News, saying that the people involved in the pro-Palestinian movement “have been condemning anti-Semitism and all forms of racism” for decades.

“We have been very clear at making this distinction between Zionism and Judaism — Zionism as a political movement, and Judaism as a people and a religion, many of whom are a part of the Arab culture and have lived in Palestine for centuries,” he said. “And so we have condemned anti-Semitism for decades.”

“The question I ask when people keep asking us to condemn it is: What is it about us that makes you think that we wouldn’t?” Zahr added.

He would not say whether he believes his video would spark more anti-Semitic violence in America amid a rise in hate crimes against Jews across the country as hostilities between Israel and Hamas worsened last week. Both sides agreed to a cease-fire late last week after eleven days of Hamas rocket attacks and Israeli reprisals.

Last week, pro-Palestinian rioters paraded through Manhattan’s Diamond District, a historically Jewish neighborhood, shouting anti-Semitic chants, disrupting traffic, and harassing patrons of local businesses.

The rioters threw a firework at bystanders, sending one woman and two police officers to the hospital with injuries. 

Also on Thursday, Palestinian protesters were caught on camera beating a Jewish man with an object. The NYPD is investigating multiple incidents.

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