Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has suspended his campaign's Jewish outreach coordinator on Thursday, after it was revealed that she previously posted an expletive-ridden Facebook diatribe against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the New York Times reported.
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The Washington Free Beacon reported on Wednesday that Simone Zimmerman wrote last year on Facebook that “Bibi Netanyahu is an arrogant, deceptive, cynical, manipulative a**hole."
“F**k you, Bibi you sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people this summer,” wrote Zimmerman, a former J Street student activist, in the March 3, 2015 post.
At a later date, Zimmerman edited the post, replacing “a**hole” with “politician” and “F**k you” with “shame on you.” The Free Beacon obtained screenshots of the original and edited posts.
“She has been suspended while we investigate the matter,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs wrote in an email, the Times reported. Sanders, who is lagging some 30 points behind Hillary Clinton among Jewish Democrats, was set to debate his rival in Brooklyn hours after the suspension was announced.
Zimmerman's comments, along with other comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, caused an uproar in the Jewish community, just a week before the April 19 New York presidential primary.
Earlier on Thursday, former Anti-Defamation League director Abe Foxman called on Sanders to fire Zimmerman, saying that “No amount of word changes can cure her ugly characterization of the Prime Minister of Israel and the Israeli army and people defending themselves.” He was joined by Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, who called the choice of Zimmerman for the position a cause of "profound concern."
During the Gaza war in the summer of 2014, which she was referring to in the Facebook post, Zimmerman was one of the leaders of a group of young Jews that held regular protest vigils outside the offices of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, reading the names of Palestinians and Israelis killed in the conflict.
Zimmerman opposes Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, wants Hillel to allow participation by groups that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, is against Jewish federation funding for Israeli projects in the West Bank and wrote favorably of the efforts of Jewish Voice for Peace, a pro-BDS group, to get “international corporations to stop profiting off human rights abuses.”
Zimmerman noted that she herself is not a supporter of BDS. “I am not a bds supporter. Never have been,” she said on Twitter in response to David Greenfield, a New York City councillor, who called her “pro-BDS.”
In a Haaretz op-ed in February, Zimmerman wrote of the importance of “bringing American Jews to do civil resistance work in solidarity with West Bank Palestinians.”
“What we need is for the community to stop willfully blinding itself to the disastrous reality of holding millions of Palestinians under military occupation,” Zimmerman wrote. “Moreover, we need the community to stop policing and demonizing those of us who say these truths in public and are fighting for change."