Bernie Sanders asks Biden to ‘take a hard look’ at Israeli aid as 28 Democratic senators call for ceasefire
Progressive US Senator Bernie Sanders has once again condemned Israel’s violent actions in Gaza – and called on the Biden administration to reconsider the extent of US support for one of its closest allies.
He stuck with that sentiment last week in a try for the New York Times, writing that while “no one claims that Israel, or any government, has the right to defend itself or its people,” Benjamin Netanyahu “has cultivated an increasingly intolerant and authoritarian type of racist nationalism” and that “We can no longer be apologists for the right-wing Netanyahu government and its undemocratic and racist behavior.”
“The devastation in Gaza is unacceptable,” he said wrote in a Sunday tweet. “We must urge an immediate ceasefire. The killing of Palestinians and Israelis must stop. We also need to take a close look at the nearly $ 4 billion a year in military aid to Israel. It is illegal for US aid to support human rights violations. “
On another front, one of Mr Sanders’ colleagues, Jon Ossoff of Georgia, brought together 27 Democratic senators in a joint statement on the conflict: “To prevent further loss of civilian life and to prevent further escalation of the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories. “He said,” we urge an immediate ceasefire. Mr. Sanders was one of the signatories.
The Vermont senator has criticized the behavior of Mr. Netanyahu’s government and aspects of the US-Israel relationship on several occasions before, and not just during escalations of violence in the Palestinian territories or Israeli military airstrikes . During his 2016 presidential campaign, Mr Sanders was questioned at a debate with Hillary Clinton influence the position of the United States vis-à-vis the Israeli government.
“There comes a time,” he said, “when if we seek justice and peace, we will have to say that Netanyahu is not right all the time….
“It’s a complicated question and God knows for decades presidents including President Clinton and others, Jimmy Carter and others have tried to do the right thing. All I am saying is that we cannot continue to be one-sided. There are two sides to the problem. “
While the Biden administration has sent an envoy to the region to try to speed up mediation efforts, President Biden’s statements about the conflict so far have hailed many on the left, who see Mr. Biden leaving to miss the opportunity to condemn Israel’s behavior at a time when its impact could not be clearer.
Among those who spoke was US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most important national figures on the left. Last week, after Mr Biden insisted that Israel had the right to defend itself against attacks – referring to rockets directed at Israeli territory by Hamas militants – the congresswoman did so. called to go further.
“By intervening only to name the actions of Hamas – which are reprehensible – and by refusing to recognize the rights of the Palestinians,” she tweeted, “Biden reinforces the misconception that the Palestinians are at the root of this cycle of violence. It is not a neutral language. It takes one side – the occupation side. “
She went even further this weekend, describing Israel as a “apartheid stateAnd not a democracy.
Pressure from the left has so far produced no publicly detectable change in the Biden administration’s approach to the conflict. The United States has blocked the UN Security Council from issuing a joint public statement condemning the violence, citing the risk to behind-the-scenes diplomacy.
In a statement on Sunday, UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that “the United States has worked tirelessly through diplomatic channels to try to end this conflict because we believe that Israelis and Palestinians also have the right to live in Safety and Security. “