Bernie Sanders calls Israeli government a ‘strong right’, demands US respect Palestinian rights
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said the current leaders of the Israeli government have evolved into a “strong right-wing” coalition that includes genuine “racists”.
Sanders and MSNBC host Ali Velshi discussed on Monday why critics of the Israeli government, especially those who disagree with the nationalist policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, should not be slandered as “anti-Semites.” Velshi quoted Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz, who said Thursday that some Democratic members of Congress were “shillings for terrorists” for their disagreement with Netanyahu’s right-wing policies. Velshi noted that US conservatives frequently accuse Sanders, who is Jewish, of being “anti-Semitic” only because he disagrees with Israel’s policy towards Palestinian independence.
Sanders, a longtime opponent of Netanyahu’s aggressive pro-military stance on Palestine, said the Israeli government is happy to accept $ 4 billion in US aid each year – and should accept human rights just as well. Palestinians.
“The Israeli government has evolved over the years to be a fairly strong right-wing government,” Sanders said Monday, addressing last week’s growing Israeli-Palestinian violence in Gaza.
“And [the Israeli leadership’s] The coalition now includes people who are blatantly racist. When the United States of America invests nearly $ 4 billion a year in Israel, we have the right to demand that they respect the human rights of everyone, including the Palestinians. What we need now is an impartial policy, which protects the security of Israel. They have the right to live in peace and security without terrorist attacks. But the inhabitants of the Palestinian territories also have the right to live in peace and dignity, ”Sanders continued.
Sanders wrote an editorial last Thursday that reiterated his desire to see a more “even-handed” and morally consistent approach to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Sanders extended his criticism to Democratic President Joe Biden, writing that members of both sides consistently reject serious two-state solutions by simply stating, as Biden did last week, “Israel has the right to defend itself.”
“Why do we seem to only take note of the violence in Israel and Palestine when rockets fall on Israel?” Sanders wrote in a Friday editorial for The New York Times. “Israel has the absolute right to live in peace and security, but so do the Palestinians. I firmly believe that the United States has a major role to play in helping the Israelis and the Palestinians build that future.”
“Why is the question almost never asked:” What are the rights of the Palestinian people? Sanders continued in the opinion piece.
Monday’s discussion was sparked by Cruz’s visit to Israel this week as well as numerous accusations that Democratic lawmakers “are undermining Israel” by offering serious support to the two-state peace talks.
“And it’s a shame that you have members of the United States Congress who basically act like shills for terrorists and undermine Israel – and they undermine Israel so often that after a while you start to say, ‘OK, we understand, you don’t like Jews. “Cruz told Fox News Thursday.
Sanders rejected Cruz’s remarks and instead focused his criticism on Netanyahu, who, despite accusations of ongoing corruption in the country, has been re-elected five times. Some Israeli political critics say Netanyahu is “stoking nationalist passions” in order to stop numerous investigations into his alleged criminal activities.
Sanders lambasted Netanyahu during an August 2019 appearance on Velshi’s MSNBC program, following the Israeli prime minister’s ban on two female Democrats in the U.S. Congress from surrendering.
“If Prime Minister Netanyahu doesn’t want members of Congress to visit Israel, then maybe he can respectfully deny $ 3.8 billion in annual funding – the largest amount of US aid to any country . I believe in an impartial approach to end the Israeli. – Palestinian conflict, “said Sanders, defending Minnesota MP Ilhan Omar and Michigan MP Rashida Tlaib.
Newsweek contacted Sanders Senate offices on Monday afternoon with any additional comments.