“I’m proud to be Jewish,” the Independent from Vermont – and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination – responded Thursday at a press breakfast hosted by the [Christian Science] Monitor. Though, he added, “I’m not particularly religious.”
In November, he opened up more about his Jewish upbringing in an interview with JTA.
The only time I can find that Sanders mentioned his religion on the campaign trail was to respond to a Muslim woman who complained about anti-Muslim rhetoric. Sanders answered:
“This is what I think. Let me be very personal here if I might. I’m Jewish. My father’s family died in concentration camps. I will do everything that I can to rid this country of the ugly stain of racism which has existed for far too many years.In all three cases, Sanders used his religion to gain political points. But how does he really think about his Jewish roots?
His longtime friend Richard Sugarman, a religious Jew, says “It’s not like he’s embarrassed or ashamed of [his faith].” But I'm not so sure.
The impression I get is that Sanders is ashamed of his Jewishness but he has to claim some sort of connection because he knows Americans prefer a president to show a spiritual side.
In his autobiography/polemic written in 1998, he describes his father as having "dropped out of high school in Poland." The only time he even implies he might be Jewish was in saying that he lived in a Jewish neighborhood.
Isn't that a strange thing for a "proud Jew" to not mention in his autobiography? He is not only distancing himself from the religion but also from his ethnic Jewishness.
In his victory speech in New Hampshire, Sanders said something else that was peculiar. He again described his father as a Polish immigrant who spoke little English and never made much money.
I am certain that his father would have identified himself as a Jew way before calling himself Polish.
Sanders essentially never spoke about his religion before the presidential campaign. How proud could he really be?
His concept of Judaism is essentially the same as Barack Obama's - it is a word that is devoid of any religious meaning but instead it is a synonym for "progressive" politics, when it must be invoked at all.
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