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Twitter Spaces host Daniel Sadan says anti-Zionist sentiment is ‘a major motivation’ to create a new voice within the Democratic party

Sadan organizes weekly online sessions with Middle East experts for diverse audiences to push back against biased media coverage of the Middle East

"The Squad," U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib hold a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC., July 15, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Erin Scott)

Daniel Sadan is not the only American Jew with grave concerns about a growing anti-Israel trend in parts of the Democratic party. Even though he is not a political or public figure, his recent tweet has caught the attention of many.  

He wrote further: “Yesterday, I saw a post that accurately described the conflict, and it was from @NEWSMAX, a media outlet I would never think to watch. Ever. I wanted to share it, but I felt I couldn’t, because Democrats would tune it out due to the source. I also watched @tedcruz, @RonDeSantis, and @SpeakerMcCarthy defend Israel with evidence-based arguments that were 100% correct.”

“What are Jewish Democrats like me supposed to think when our Democratic friends, some members of our family, co-workers, employers and government representatives are all aligned against us? Someone please explain to me what’s going on, because we have officially entered the @TheTwilightZone”

Sadan grew up in Israel and moved to the United States at the age of 12. He is an IT and marketing services provider who, in recent years, has made it his top priority in life to take care of his ailing father. His second mission is to serve as an independent volunteer advocate to preserve the U.S.-Israeli alliance and protect diaspora Jews from ever-growing worldwide antisemitic threats. He also defines himself as a strong supporter of the Abraham Accords for a new Middle East.

During a recent interview with ALL ISRAEL NEWS, Sadan shared his thoughts.

You say that you have never been a political person your entire life, until now. What changed?

“I just kept my head down, handled my business and lived my life to the fullest. When it was clear that my father had limited time left, I got very sick, and I haven’t recovered since. After he passed away, I had a terrible time adjusting to the loss,” he described.

“I tried everything to distract myself, and doing the simple things in life was incredibly difficult. I wound up watching YouTube videos, and when my feed started getting flooded with alt-right videos after I watched a single Joe Rogan video, I decided to try something else. I tried using an  old Twitter account to see what kind of videos I could find to take my mind off the loss of my father, and I found a lot of interesting things on Twitter.”

Sadan was a passive user of the social media platform at first, he said. Once he did begin to upload tweets, they were mainly centered on domestic issues.

“Then I looked at foreign affairs, and then other things, and eventually I stumbled across Jwitter (Jewish Twitter), where I found I could follow Jewish and Israeli issues, which made me happy,” he recalled.

“As I started getting into it, I realized just how much antisemitism and anti-Zionism existed on the platform, and I was quite surprised to see that it was almost exclusively coming from the left wing in Europe, and the United States,” Sadan said. “This was pretty shocking to me, because I wasn’t used to thinking of Republicans as my ‘defenders.’ But it seemed that apart from a handful of Democrats, like Ritchie Torres, most people had a really anti-Israel outlook, or at least did not rebuke members of the Squad when they attacked Israel on TV, on social media and in print with their anti-Israel rhetoric, and actions.”

Sadan said that the antisemitism and anti-Zionism he came across elicited in him a “strong visceral response.”

“I had just lost my father and it hurt me deeply that people were attacking his dream of Israel, and his love of Judaism. He was really idealistic, and loved Israel,” Sadan explained. "I felt that I had to defend his honor, as well as protect the United States, Israel, and Jews living in the diaspora. As I started to get more active on Jwitter, I started feeling physically better. My pain subsided, and I felt more energy. My feelings of mourning started to change into motivation, and my advocacy work gave me a feeling of excitement every day to wake up in the morning and make a difference."

As a Democrat who identifies as left-leaning in Israeli politics, why did you say that you are “shocked” when you see coverage of Israel by left-leaning media outlets?

“I had noticed for years that what I had considered to be reputable news outlets, such as the Washington Post and The New York Times were anti-Israel, but I never gave it much thought. I realized that pro-Palestinian propagandists seek to delegitimize Israel, ruin its relationship with the West, and ultimately attempt to destroy it through a form of civic and economic jihad. I realized that the mainstream media plays a big role in collaborating with these anti-Israel forces,” Sadan said.  

He dedicated time to researching the media’s anti-Israel bias. To his astonishment, Sadan realized the Associated Press has a bunch of reporters based in Israel who have an unholy relationship with terror groups, like Hamas, to coordinate filming and reporting to demonize Israel.

“They have an unofficial policy not to print any pro-Israel stories, while at the same time skewing the facts of every story and playing with words to always paint Israel as the villain. The AP was especially sinister since approximately 1,300-1,400 news outlets subscribe to their service, which propagates all their misleading reporting throughout various media channels,” he said.

Sadan started noticing how the media would use language to obfuscate factual information like referring to terrorists as “militants,” or “insurgents.” He was mostly shocked when recently he had to correct an article that referred to a terrorist as a “freedom fighter.”

“These were all bona fide terrorists belonging to terrorist groups on the U.S. State Department FTO List,” he noted. “Their titles and articles were always misleading. For instance, I saw a title that said, ‘10 Palestinians were killed,’ but failed to indicate that almost every single one of them was a member of a recognized terrorist group. They made it sound like Israel was killing civilians for no reason.”

Sadan harshly criticized the media for putting too much of a spotlight on antisemitic figures like Roger Waters and Jeremy Corbyn. He believes the attention “legitimizes their outlandish claims.”

He recently came across a Jeremy Corbyn tweet that claimed Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was “murdered by Israeli forces,” because she was “giving voice to Palestinian voices in pursuit of the truth.” Moreover, Corbyn said, “We cannot — and will not — stop until we have justice.”

“This made me chuckle,” Sadan said. “Who is ‘we’ exactly Jeremy Corbyn?”

“Reporters Without Borders wrote that 58 journalists died around the time Shireen died,” he noted. “Where is the outrage from pro-Palestinian ‘human rights’ activists about that? Why isn’t Representative André Carson, who introduced the ‘Justice for Shireen Act,’ creating Congressional bills for all the other dead journalists?”

Why do you feel that some members of the Democratic party “continually attack Jews” and the Jewish state, as you stated?

“It is plain to see on TV, in the news, on college campuses, in conversation with friends and family, as well as on social media that there is a false narrative being spread among liberals – not just Democrats – who seem to have little knowledge or an incomplete understanding of the conflict, the history of the Jewish people, the Middle East and the Arab world... Many Democrats simply state slogans or repeat platitudes that they’ve heard or seen pro-Palestinian activists declare in the media, in protests or in documentaries made by anti-Israel organizations without questioning the information that they are consuming.”

As for people in power, Sadan provided two examples of how much power progressive anti-Israel forces have in the U.S. government.

“First, there’s Rashida Tlaib, who decided to host a ‘Nakba Day’ event to commemorate Israel’s 75th Independence Day. When she was rightfully turned down by Speaker McCarthy from hosting it in the House of Representatives, a certain gentleman who describes himself as a ‘democratic socialist’ who as of 3 1/2 years ago had a reported net worth of $2 million decided to help Tlaib host her event in the Senate, instead,” Sadan said, referring to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

“So much of this pro-Palestinian mania by some in the Democratic party is puzzling to me because, in the Palestinian territories, there is true apartheid. They have a death sentence for any Palestinian who sells land to a Jew — not an Israeli, a Jew.

Jews are not permitted to enter the Palestinian territories. The territories rank as the 8th most racist place in the world, while Israel is not even in the top 100. Israel was recently ranked higher than the USA, Italy and Spain in terms of democracy, so are all those countries apartheid as well?” he asked.

Sadan said he is also disheartened with “the Democratic party’s lack of condemnation of anti-Israel, and antisemitic behavior in their party like the Squad, pro-Palestinian Democratic constituents throughout the U.S., as well as the administration itself, which recently rejected the idea of using the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of Antisemitism — a definition designed to stop anti-Zionist hate speech.”

To what extent do you sense that this approach toward Israel is alienating you from the party? Do you vote based on attitudes toward Israel?

“The anti-Zionist movement within the Democratic party is a huge motivation for me to discontinue my affiliation with them. I perceive this behavior as hateful, offensive and very alarming, and I’m not alone in this regard. More and more Jews are angry that their party is not standing up to antisemitism within their ranks."

“I am a liberal at the end of the day, so I am concerned about some of the initiatives that the Republican party wants to pursue, so I am not sure what to do with my vote at this point. I never used to vote based on attitudes towards Israel, but now it is an extremely important issue for me because it is not only tied to Israel but also to antisemitism directed at American Jews. So, I have a major problem with what’s happening right now.”

Are you taking an active role to address these concerns?

“I think it’s very important that we begin to change the narrative about Israel. My project involves building an informative Twitter Spaces series that I plan to grow over time. I hope to reach hundreds of thousands of listeners eventually. My goal is to create newsworthy events that will attract diverse audiences from the Middle East and the West, from different religious and ethnic backgrounds to come listen and engage with the topics that we talk about.”

Sadan’s Twitter Spaces initiative kicked off a few weeks ago and has so far managed to attract notable figures from all across the Middle East to discuss geopolitical challenges. Among them are Middle East experts, professors, journalists, former intelligence officers, prominent business people and former politicians.

Sadan hopes to continue facilitating productive conversations that “build trust and healthy communication among citizens of vastly different cultures in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.”

Readers are invited to join these conversations, which take place on Twitter on Sundays. The sessions are open to “anyone who wants to talk about peace,” Sadan said and added that participants are welcome to join the open mic Twitter Spaces session at the end of each event.

Click here to join this week’s session featuring the topic: “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Peace Initiative,” on Sunday, June 25 at 1 p.m. EST.

Read more: PRO ISRAEL

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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