Pro-Israel org says Warren campaign assured them that anti-occupation staffer wouldn’t be working on Middle East policy

The Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) was formed earlier this year by a group of well-connected Democrats and donors who were concerned about growing pro-Palestine attitudes within the party.

The group’s most consistent target has been IfNotNow, a progressive Jewish organization that has been asking the Democratic presidential candidates how they’d go about pressuring Israel to end the occupation. After IfNotNow activists asked Senator Elizabeth Warren about the issue this past July, DMFI put out a memo condemning the action and claiming that Warren had been the “victim of [a] hit-and-run.” The memo also contained sample, pro-Israel responses that it encouraged candidates to use if they happened to be confronted by IfNotNow members.

IfNotNow co-founder Max Berger is an aide to the Warren campaign, a fact that has generated predictable hysteria on right-wing blogs and pro-Israel websites. However, last week DMFI founder Mark Mellman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) that he received a call from Warren campaign manager Roger Lau, assuring him that Berger wouldn’t be working on any issue connected to “Israel policy or Jewish outreach.”

The move has drawn harsh criticism from IfNotNow members. “This is like Elizabeth Warren’s campaign calling Exxon executives to reassure them that a staffer who used to lead the effort to divest from fossil fuels on their campus is not advising their environmental policy,” tweeted IfNotNow co-founder Yonah Lieberman, “I want to believe that the Warren campaign is better than this.”

B’Tselem USA director, anti-occupation activist, and IfNotNow co-founder Simone Zimmerman tweeted, “Dang, well that hurts. Pro-tip Elizabeth Warren, if you want progressives to trust that you are a principled leader who can stand up to the corrupt establishment, I’d say caving to pressure from pro-Israel hacks & throwing grassroots activists under the bus is not the best place to start.”

In that same JTA article, Mellman attacks Bernie Sanders’ campaign for alleged anti-Israel sentiment:

It’s deeply disturbing to find a candidate who claims to be ‘100 percent pro-Israel,’ opposed to BDS and a fighter against anti-Semitism surrounding himself with a number of surrogates and endorsers who hate Israel, support BDS and have repeatedly made anti-Semitic statements We privately communicated our concern about some of his choices directly to Senator Sanders, beginning with his naming of noted anti-Semite Linda Sarsour as an official surrogate. Unfortunately, the only responses we have received from the Senator are more hostile choices on his part.

Source: Mondoweiss

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