Sanders Says U.S. Cannot Ignore Suffering of Palestinians
When asked at last night’s Democratic debate about his decision to skip the AIPAC Israeli Lobby conference this week, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said, “I am very proud of being Jewish, I actually lived in Israel for some months, but what I happen to believe is that right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel, through Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country.”
He went on to say, “and I happen to believe that what our foreign policy in the Mideast should be about is absolutely protecting the independence and security of Israel. But you cannot ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people. We have got to have a policy that reaches out to the Palestinians.”
He added, if elected, his policy would “come in the context of bringing nations together in the Mideast.” Regarding whether he would move the US Embassy in Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv, he said it is “something that we would take into consideration.”
Earlier this week, AIPAC criticized Sanders saying he “has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment. By engaging in such an odious attack on this mainstream, bipartisan American political event, Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel”
The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference. 1/2
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 23, 2020
AIPAC, once a powerbroker in DC who boasted unequivocal bipartisan support in Congress, has been criticized recently by progressive Democrats.
The only Democratic candidate who will attend AIPAC this week, Michael Bloomberg, said last night: “you can’t move the Embassy back, we should not have done it without getting something from the Israeli government. But it was done and you’re going to have to leave it there.”
Bloomberg stated that he supports a two-state solution but said, “The real problem here is you have two groups of people, both of whom think God gave them the same piece of land and the answer is to obviously split it up.”
He also said the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank should have never been built referring to them as “new communities” at which time Sanders corrected him shouting “Settlements.”
Last month, Bloomberg addressed an audience at the Jewish Center in Miami stating that he would “always have Israel’s back” and would “never impose conditions on our military aid, including missile defense—no matter who is the prime minister.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren said last night that President Trump favors Israel by “putting a thumb on the scale on just one side.” Israelis “have a right to security,” just like Palestinians “have a right to be treated with dignity and have self-determination” she went on to say, “but it’s not up to us to determine what the terms of a two-state solution are. We want to be a good ally to everyone in the region.” When asked if she would move the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv, she answered in a confusing manner: “it’s not ours to do.”
With Sander’s success as the Democratic front runner, the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has further intensified a divide between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party.
Complied by Arab America
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