Biden’s first Democratic challenger is a Jewish peace activist

The first person to challenge President Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024 is Jerome Segal, a 78-year-old retired Jewish philosopher from the Bronx whose decision to run was sparked by what he called the trip “ashamed” of Biden in the Middle East. this summer.

“He explicitly turned his back on any serious pursuit of peace,” Segal said in an interview. In the West Bank in July, Biden said “the ground is not ripe right now to restart negotiations” between Israelis and Palestinians. Segal also denounced Biden for his decision to “punch a psychopathic killer,” referring to the president’s greetings to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the CIA has held responsible for the murder of a Saudi journalist.

Although Segal – who announced his candidacy earlier this month and filed with the IRS so he can start raising campaign money – ranks low on the voters list, he is not new to politics. The 2024 presidential race is his fourth bid for public office, and he has worked for decades to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 1987, according to his website, he was part of the first Jewish-American delegation to Tunis to open dialogue with Arafat and the PLO. He then founded in 1989 the Jewish Lobby for Peace.

This summer, he came ninth in the 10-candidate Democratic primary for governor of Maryland, with 0.67% of the vote. He challenged Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland in the 2018 Democratic primary and ran in the 2020 U.S. presidential election as the candidate for the Bread and Roses Festivalwhich he founded.

Segal considers it a “utopian” party. He claims “a socio-economic framework that facilitates the pursuit of a new American dream, one of modest consumption, strong economic security, and abundant leisure, sufficient to do the things in life that matter most.

He said that despite his decades-long focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he discussed a host of national challenges during the 45 debates he took part in during his recently wrapped campaign for the post of Governor of Maryland.

The trip

But it was Biden’s recent trip to the Middle East that prompted Segal to challenge him for the Democratic nomination in 2024.

Biden visited Saudi Arabia, where leaders pledged not to make peace with Israel until Israel negotiated a fair peace with the Palestinians, Segal said, but the president “tried to get them to betray the Palestinians” by promoting a Saudi-Israeli deal first.

Biden’s trip also prompted Segal to resurrect a peace proposal he first announced in 2012. It would ask the UN Special Commission on Palestine to develop a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. – and present it to voters in the form of a referendum – without consulting Israeli or Palestinian government leaders.

“If the plan said that the Palestinians would recognize Israel as a Jewish state and that all the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea would be the common homeland of Jews and Palestinians, I think that would be an acceptable referendum,” Segal said. said, adding that it would also garner Palestinian support as it would give the Palestinians Gaza, the West Bank and part of Jerusalem.

He also envisions Israel returning to its pre-1967 borders.

“A 78-year-old”

Segal’s academic career began at the University of Michigan, where he earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree. A resident of Silver Spring, a Washington, D.C. suburb known for its progressive politics, Segal spent more than two decades as a professor at the University of Maryland’s Institute of Philosophy and Public Policy.

He described a Jewish upbringing in New York. When asked if he spoke Hebrew, he replied: “Not since my bar mitzvah at my grandfather’s shul in Brooklyn.” He added that he spoke Yiddish at Circle of Workers and taught Torah in a reconstructive havurah for a decade.

Segal is also the author of the 2007 book “Joseph’s boneswhich its publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, called “a fresh and vigorous re-examination of the oldest part of the Bible.

Asked about his age — a year younger than Biden — and a recent poll that showed a third of Americans think the president is too old to run for re-election, Segal described different types of longevity, and he- even as “a 78-year-old”.

“A lot of people think Joe Biden is too old. It’s not a comment on his physical age, it’s about the world he lives in,” Segal said. and different. I’m one of the few people with forward-thinking ideas.

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