Does he believe in a God’? — DNC leaders wanted to undermine Sanders
Phil Weiss, MondoWess, Jul 23 2016

This is nuts. Wikileaks has published a hack of 20,000 emails from DNC staffers that show the party leadership worked against the anti-establishment candidate, Bernie Sanders, including the notion by a DNC executive to challenge Sanders’s religious belief on the grounds he’s an “atheist”:

Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage.

Just as bad, party chair says Debbie Wasserman Schultz says of Sanders’s effort to water down the party platform’s commitment to Israel to maybe include reference to the “occupation,” now in its 50th year:

The Israel stuff is disturbing.

While the party communications director observes that the Hillary Clinton campaign regards the Israel issue as an “ideal” one to “marginalize” Sanders. Donald Trump has seized on the emails to try and recruit Sanders voters, calling the emails vicious evidence that the system is rigged, and noting the attack on Sanders’s faith.

CNN reports that the emails, obtained from the accounts of seven DNC staffers, threaten to upend the modus-vivendi between Clinton and Sanders forces ahead of the coming Democrat convention:

The revelation threatened to shatter the uneasy peace between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders camps and supporters days before the Democrat convention kicks off next week.

Here’s the atheism email, on May 5, from “Marshall” at the DNC, identified as Brad Marshall, the chief financial officer of the organization, and titled “No shit”:

It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.

Amy Dacey, chief executive officer of the DNC, chimed in “Amen“. The Israel lobby stuff came up later in May in the context of a Washington Post story about the Sanders push to change the Democratic party platform. Wasserman Schultz commented to staff on the story:

The Israel stuff is disturbing.

While communications director Luis Miranda told Wasserman Schultz that the Hillary Clinton campaign was pushing the Israel difference to the Washington Post reporter in order to marginalize Sanders:

HFA [Hillary for America] specifically pushed that part of it. The Israel plank, that they see it as an ideal issue to marginalize Bernie on.

Here is the “Israel stuff” in that WaPo article that Wasserman Schultz found “disturbing”:

But the issue of Pindosi policy toward Israel, which a Sanders adviser said “absolutely, legitimately will be a point of conversation,” has made some of Clinton’s backers nervous. Sanders is seeking a more “even-handed” Pindo approach to Israeli occupation of land Palestinians claim for a future state. The current platform does not address the nearly five-decade occupation directly, but it endorses “a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples.” Speaking last month during a contentious debate with Clinton, Sanders declared himself “100 percent pro-Israel” but said that Israel’s 2014 military assault on the Gaza Strip was “disproportionate” to the threat posed by Hamas rockets launched from the Palestinian territory into Israel. Behind his words is a long debate among Pindosi and international policy-makers, one that divides the Democrat base and could pose a challenge for Clinton when she must bring her party together: how to weigh Palestinian interests when dealing with Israel, and whether resolute backing for Israel diminishes leverage to promote peace and fair treatment of Palestinians. One long-time Clinton supporter said: “On one hand there is not an enormous amount of difference between them. They are both pro-Israel, they are both pro-peace, but in the context of the campaign terms like ‘even-handed’ can come to mean that Pindostan is signaling a shift.” Clinton would oppose that.

Sanders has since folded on the Israel/Palestine issue in the platform, although the platform will come up for a vote on the convention floor this coming week; and then who knows what Sanders delegates will do. Meantime, these emails are clear evidence of the role of the Israel lobby inside the Democrat Party. The base doesn’t love Israel. Increasingly, poll numbers show that young Democrats, and women and Latinos and blacks, are turning against Israel. But the party relies on big pro-Israel money to a “shocking” “gigantic” degree and also relies on mainstream media that is dedicated to Israel. That’s why Clinton forces felt that they could “marginalize” Sanders by pushing this issue. And you wonder why Hillary Clinton pandered in her speech to AIPAC has promised Haim Saban that she will fight the BDS movement along with the Thugs, and has shown she will run to Trump’s right on this question, just as her husband ran to Bush 41’s right in 1992 on settlements, and won. No, Bernie Sanders didn’t take her on on these issues, really. But his followers might.

Amid tensions with Bernie, Wasserman Schultz reportedly cut from convention
JTA, Jul 24 2016

PHILADELPHIA — DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will not speak at the convention this week, reportedly because of the revelation of emails revealing tensions between the party and the Bernie Sanders campaign. In a related issue, a top DNC official apologized for an email in which he suggests depicting Sanders, who is Jewish, as an atheist as a means of undercutting him during the primary season. CNN reported Sunday, a day before the convention launch, that Wasserman Schultz would be “quarantined” during the convention, gavelling it in on Monday but not delivering a speech. Citing an anonymous Democrat, CNN said Wasserman Schultz’s planned speech was removed in order not to stoke anger in the Sanders camp. Sanders’ campaign spox Michael Briggs said in a statement:

Bernie will make it clear that Hillary is far superior to the Donald on every major issue from economics and health care to education and the environment.

The emails, leaked Friday by Wikileaks, show frustration at the DNC with repeated claims by the Sanders campaign that the DNC is not neutral. Brad Marshall, the DNC’s chief financial officer, in one email to communications director Luis Miranda and deputy community director Mark Paustenbach suggested getting someone to press Sanders on his beliefs during the campaign. Marshall asks in the May 5 email:

Does he believe in a God? He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.

There’s no evidence that the DNC arranged for such an action. Politico reported that Marshall apologized in a Facebook post over the weekend, writing:

I deeply regret that my insensitive, emotional emails would cause embarrassment to the DNC, the Chairwoman, and all of the staffers who worked hard to make the primary a fair and open process. The comments expressed do not reflect my beliefs, nor do they reflect the beliefs of the DNC and its employees. I apologize to those I offended.

Sanders has said he believes in God and has been shaped by his Jewish upbringing. He has identified Pope Francis’ social action as a model for religious practice. A chief surrogate for Trump, Pastor Mark Burns, came under fire for calling Sanders an atheist and for suggesting the candidate convert to Christianity. Trump tweeted:

Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more.

Watch a German MP beat queer protestors over the head with a blue & white flag:

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