Bernie Sanders' suspension of his campaign's Jewish outreach coordinator has aroused social media passions on both sides of the Israel divide.
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Simone Zimmerman was suspended only two days after her appointment as national Jewish outreach coordinator by the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. The reason for her suspension was apparently an expletive-ridden Facebook diatribe against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which she posted last year.
"Open Hillel is saddened to hear that the Sanders campaign has bowed to pressure from organizations that suppress discourse on lsrael and has suspended Simone Zimmerman from her position as Jewish Outreach Coordinator," Open Hillel wrote on Facebook on Friday.
Open Hillel is a progressive Jewish campus organization that was established in 2012 to counter the "exclusionary" policies of the veteran Hillel organization toward those opposing the policies of the Israeli government.
The Facebook post accused the Sanders campaign of "caving in to pressure from Abe Foxman, former head of the Anti-Defamation League; the World Jewish Congress and relentless badgering from the right-wing press."
An online petition using the hashtag #IStandWithSimone! called on the campaign to reinstate Zimmerman, saying her suspension "contradicts Sanders' message of political transformation and is unacceptable to the vast majority of his supporters."
The petition had 478 signatures within 11 hours of its going online late Thursday.
Not all the sentiment on social media was in Zimmerman's favor, however. "Do you really expect a mainstream candidate to employ someone who has been outspokenly hostile towards the Prime Minister of an important ally?" asked one commentator in response to the Open Hillel post.
"I'm no fan of Bibi either, but you're asking for Bernie to act self-destructively when he is already in damage control mode with regards to his previous comments on Palestinian casualties."
"Her hate got her fired," posted another commentator. "Good riddance!"
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 during the summer 2014 war in Gaza.
“Bibi Netanyahu is an arrogant, deceptive, cynical, manipulative asshole," Zimmerman wrote in a March 3, 2015 Facebook post. The post was republished this week by the Washington Free Beacon, a right-wing website.
“F**k you, Bibi you sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people this summer.”
“She has been suspended while we investigate the matter,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs wrote in an email to the New York Times.