Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (D – Vt.) suspended his national Jewish outreach coordinator following the revelation that she had posted vulgar remarks about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on social media, The New York Times reported on Friday.
The suspension of Simone Zimmerman pending an investigation, just two days after her appointment, came after disparaging references she made about Netanyahu last year were reported in the Washington Free Beacon. The suspension was characterized as an “embarrassing misstep” by the Times.
In a Facebook post last year, Zimmerman called Netanyahu an “arrogant, deceptive, cynical, manipulative asshole” and wrote, “Fuck you, Bibi.” She also charged that he had “sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people this summer,” a reference to Operation Protective Edge two years ago, which was launched in response to continual Hamas rocket fire against Israeli towns and helped uncover the terrorist group’s extensive attack tunnel network. Zimmerman edited the post at a later date, replacing “asshole” with “politician” and “Fuck you” with “shame on you.”
“The fact that [Sanders] acted shows that obviously he didn’t think it was acceptable,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Other Jewish American leaders, including Abe Foxman, the former national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called for Zimmerman’s replacement. “No amount of word changes can cure her ugly characterization of the Prime Minister of Israel and the Israeli army and people defending themselves,” Foxman told Jewish Insider in a correspondence.
Zimmerman’s suspension comes as the Sanders campaign is confronted with a more than 30-point deficit among Jewish Democrats in New York, according to a recent NBC New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist survey cited by the Times.
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