A Jewish socialist philosopher and political activist who met with the leader of Hamas is running for president.
On Wednesday, Aug. 28, Dr. Jerome M. Segal announced at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that he will run as the nominee of the Bread and Roses Party. The party, which Segal founded last year, supports wealth redistribution, as well as guaranteed employment and income.
“We see ourselves as a party of roses,” Segal said. “What we’re putting forward is an alternative vision of what America could be. We sometimes talk about it as a new American Dream.”
A Silver Spring resident and retired instructor of the University of Maryland, Segal, 75, is cleared to appear on the 2020 ballot in Maryland and is hoping to qualify in other states.
“In many ways, our pitch to Maryland voters is basically, look, Maryland’s a done deal as far as the electoral votes are concerned; don’t waste your vote, vote your values,” Segal said.
He told the Washington Post that he does not “have any fantasies about actually being president,” but wants to add “something to the current political discourse that is lacking. …
“The role of third parties [is] to raise new questions, to put forward new ideas and to make a contribution to a much larger discourse, and that’s the role that Bread and Roses has right now,” Segal said. “This is different, we know in advance that there’s no possibility of winning and we know in advance that the number of votes we’re going to get is very small.”
A native of the Bronx, N.Y., who received his doctorate from the University of Michigan, Segal is an outspoken critic of Israel’s right-wing government and has met with leaders of various Palestinian groups, including the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas.
The PLO even took a significant portion of its 1988 declaration of independence from an op-ed he penned in the eastern Jerusalem daily Al-Kuds.
In 1989, Segal founded the Jewish Peace Lobby as a dovish alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
In 2006, he met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and said he transmitted a letter from Haniyeh to President George W. Bush. The United States, the European Union and Israel classify Hamas as a terror organization.
In a statement on Wednesday, Segal said he had been talking with Iran’s government, including its foreign minister, and that he “believes it is possible to achieve a re-set in US/Iran relations and US/Israeli relations.”
Last year, he challenged Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) in the Democratic primary and spent more than $1 million of his own money in the campaign, but lost the race.
Josefin Dolsten writes for the JTA global news agency and wire service.