Politico accused of anti-Semitism for depicting ‘cheap, rich’ Sanders with money tree

“In this dangerous climate of rising anti-Semitism, all media organizations have a responsibility to be careful not to perpetuate anti-Semitic tropes,” said the ADL.

By World Israel News Staff

Politico, a U.S. political news outlet, is under fire for a cover illustration this weekend of presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders standing next to a tree with dollars for leaves. The feature, entitled “The Secret of Bernie’s Millions,” was promoted with a since-removed tweet from Politico anouncing, “Bernie Sanders might still be cheap, but he’s not poor.”

The news outlet asked in a sub-headline: “How did he amass three houses and a net worth approaching at least $2 million? The surprisingly conventional middle-class climbing of a radical-sounding socialist.”

Critics charge that it smacked of anti-Semitism.

“Can Politico⁩ explain to us how photoshopping money trees next to the only Jewish candidate for president and talking about how ‘cheap’ and rich he is *isn’t* antisemitic?” asked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Twitter in a post on Saturday.

“Or are they just letting this happen because he’s a progressive politician they don’t like?” she added.

“In this dangerous climate of rising anti-Semitism, all media organizations have a responsibility to be careful not to perpetuate anti-Semitic tropes, such as those about Jews and wealth,” commented the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in a tweet.

Ocasio-Cortez compared reactions to the Politico feature to responses to a statement in February by virulently anti-Israel Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) in which she accused the pro-Israel AIPAC lobbying group of buying off politicians to ensure their support for the Jewish state.

It was the latest incident in which Omar faced anti-Semitism accusations, which date back to a 2012 tweet in which she accused “evil” Israel of “hyponotiz[ing] the world” and include other instances in which she accused people who support Israel of “push[ing] for allegiance to a foreign country.”

“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” tweeted Omar in February, implying that elected officials support Israel for the sake of “Benjamins,” a euphemism for money that refers to Benjamin Franklin’s appearance on the $100 bill.

In her tweets on Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez accused conservatives of employing a double standard in condemning Omar for what she said about pro-Israel politicians but not speaking out against the Politico illustration of Sanders.

“Notice the people willing to explain this away, yet when Ilhan’s words are taken out of context, they are the first to jump on her,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez.

In the article, Politico senior staff writer Michael Kruse cited “Bruce Seifer, a friend of Sanders, an economic aide in his administration and one of many people who know him” who described Sanders as “frugal.”

According to the senior writer, Seifer then paused and added: “That’s a nice way of saying he’s a cheap son of a bitch.”