That's the case according to a 2016 statement by Seymour Hersh. Hersh also says that therefore the US may have been able to change its policy towards Israel had Sanders been elected.

This is something, I guess, you know, a forbidden statement, but he's the first Democrat since I've been watching politics 50-[something] (I'm old, older and crankier than Bernie, but anyway) it's the first Democrat that I can remember that actually did not have to go to the Jewish community in New York to get money to run. And that's something amazing. We may able to actually change our policy and let the Israelis know that's there's gonna have to be a settlement [...]

So, given that framing, is it true with respect to US elections (I guess Democratic primaries) in the past 50 years or so?

  • 3
    Yes, perhaps we could interpret the claim as "Bernie Sanders received a smaller proportion of his campaign funding from the New York Jewish community than previous Democratic primary candidates." Also, is "primary candidates" a small enough list, or do we need to reduce to those that reached some stage of the process (I don't know enough about US election processes to say what stage that would be)?
    – IMSoP
    Mar 16 at 12:13
  • 11
    The wording is (probably deliberately) weaselly. Mar 16 at 15:33
  • 6
    Lyndon LaRouche got 5% of the nationwide Democratic presidential primary votes in 1996. LaRouche was a holocaust denier, an anti-Zionist and promulgated antisemitic conspiracy theories. I'd be quite surprised if he went "to the Jewish community in New York to get money to run". But does LaRouche qualify as a Democrat who "ran"? The point is, as DJClayworth points out, Hersch's language is vague enough that we probably can't answer the question.
    – Juhasz
    Mar 16 at 17:36
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    @IMSoP what's more, the statement is not exactly about donations from Jewish New Yorkers. It is about solicited donations from Jewish New Yorkers. Maybe Bernie Sanders didn't "go to the Jewish community in New York" -- i.e. solicit donations from that community -- because he knew that he was likely to receive strong financial support from them even without asking for it. Why? Because he grew up in it. Previous presidential candidates would have had to work a lot harder to convince people from that community that he understood their political needs and desires.
    – phoog
    Mar 17 at 14:00
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    I am trying to imagine someone being taken seriously after saying that a Democratic politician had X policy because the "White community of New York" or the "Black community of New York" or "the Christian community of New York" donated money to them and failing. Apparently it is only the Jewish community of New York that has a single unified policy goal that they infallibly achieve by donating money to politicians.
    – Obie 2.0
    Mar 17 at 20:41


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