The US political activist Simone Zimmerman co-founded the organization IfNotNow – one of the most vocal groups leading the fight against Israel and devoted to convincing American Jewish institutions to end support for Israel’s presence in the disputed territories.
Zimmerman gained notoriety in 2016 for being hired as former US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s national Jewish outreach coordinator. Profanity-laced Facebook posts from Zimmerman prompted her summary dismissal. She wrote of Israel’s prime minister, “F– you, Bibi” and equated him with a murderer.
She is currently living in Tel Aviv for a year.
While Zimmerman claims she does not support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, she did say, “BDS is a legitimate, non-violent tactic. And I personally support economic and diplomatic action and pressure against the occupation.”
Zimmerman told The Jerusalem Post she would answer questions for this article, however, she then declined to respond to a detailed press query about whether she supports BDS and if she believe BDS is antisemitic.
Sen. Sanders has said that BDS contains antisemitism.
Zimmerman has praised the pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for Peace in the US, which has ties to convicted PFLP terrorist Rasmea Odeh. Zimmerman also declined to answer questions asking if she considers Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP to be terrorist entities.
As one of the heads of IfNotNow, though, she is one of the greatest instigators of criticism against Israel in the US today. Her organization regularly holds protests outside pro-Israel events including the AIPAC Policy conference. While some people are on this list due to the positive impact they are having on Israel, Zimmerman is not. Nevertheless, she is here since IfNotNow is the catalyst for a large part of the anti-Israel activity on campuses today and its influence on young Jews.
Most recently, IfNotNow launched a campaign against Birthright, which Zimmerman said was a program “meant to whitewash the occupation.”
In August, Zimmerman said that she was detained at Israel’s border and questioned by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). She wrote on her Twitter feed: “Well, here we go... I’m at the border after a weekend in Sinai and Israeli authorities have detained me and my friend Abby for the last three hours. We are being questioned solely about our political opinions and activities vis a vis Palestinians esp. in the occupied territories.”