By Peter Hasson
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has embraced a far-left group that seeks to abolish prisons and has promoted a group the U.S. State Department designated as a Palestinian terrorist organization, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found.
Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign website touts an endorsement from the radical group, Dream Defenders, and the group’s co-director, Phillip Agnew, is a top Sanders surrogate.
The group’s political arm, Dream Defenders PAC, has been holding twice-weekly phone banking events in support of Sanders.
Dream Defenders aims to abolish the use of prisons, according to the group’s website and public statements.
“Police and prisons have no place in ‘justice.’ Police and prisons aren’t just racist but they work to enforce the separations of rich and poor,” Dream Defenders’s website states.
Dream Defenders, which first launched in Florida in 2012, has declared its support for the anti-Israel boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) movement, which has its own ties to designated terrorist organizations. It has also has repeatedly promoted the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has been a U.S.-designated terrorist organization since 1997.
An educational resource Dream Defenders created in 2016 for schools depicts the PFLP as victims of oppression and draws comparisons between the two groups.
“The PFLP is fighting against Israel, the Zionist movement, the Palestinian Authority governing
body, global imperialism, and Arab reaction,” the documents states, noting that the group’s “tactics have included hijackings, assassinations, car bombings, suicide bombings, and paramilitary operations against civilian and military targets.”
“They want to be free from global imperialism,” it adds. “They want liberation. They want equal rights. Just like the Dream Defenders.”
“We believe that this should inform the Free Campaign in the way that we educate our communities on issues relating to oppression in all areas of the world,” it continues.
Israel is a “settler colonialist project” that “was declared on top of stolen Palestinian land,” Dream Defenders’s website asserts.
Dream Defenders in 2016 organized a West Bank trip that was led by former PFLP member Mahmoud Jiddeh, according to reports by Fox News and the Washington Free Beacon. Jiddeh spent 17 years in prison for planting explosives in Israel that wounded nine civilians, the reports noted.
Dream Defenders did return inquiries from the Daily Caller News Foundation about the group’s position on prison abolition, the PFLP and Sanders. The Sanders campaign also did not return an email seeking comment.
Democrat Andrew Gillum was criticized during his 2018 campaign for Florida governor over his ties to Dream Defenders, but the Sanders campaign has fully embraced the radical group.
Agnew appeared on behalf of the Sanders campaign Saturday in a heated MSNBC segment, where he tangled with Tom Steyer adviser Jimmy Williams.
“You know what doesn’t fly? The notion that a billionaire can earn a billion dollars,” Agnew said. “You cannot earn a billion dollars. You can make it and we can take it,” he added.
“That’s Stalin,” Williams fired back.
Steyer's advisor defends billionaires existing in the United States.
Sanders surrogate Phillip Agnew: "You know what doesn't fly? The notion that a billionaire can earn a billion dollars…. You cannot earn a billion dollars. You make it. We take it." pic.twitter.com/yV2W2HNjGS
— Cameron Cawthorne (@Cam_Cawthorne) February 29, 2020
Agnew has led Sanders campaign events all over the country, including a “GOTV” (get out the vote) party for Sanders ahead of Saturday’s South Carolina primary, according to Sanders’ campaign website.
He previously co-led a rally with Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore, and was scheduled to lead another Sanders event on Sunday, this time in North Carolina, according to Sanders’s campaign website.
Former Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, another Sanders surrogate, is also on Dream Defenders’s advisory board.
Sarsour and two other Women’s March board members stepped down in September 2019 following repeated anti-Semitism scandals that hurt the group’s political standing.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email email@example.com.