TEHRAN (Iran News) – US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “reactionary racist” during the party’s latest debate on Tuesday.
Sanders, who is one of the frontrunners in the contest, said that he believes “right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel through Bibi Netanyahu you have a reactionary racist who is” at the helm.
Sanders said he was “very proud” to be Jewish when he was asked about his position on Israel during the debate in Charleston, South Carolina.
He said Israel’s security should be protected, but that “you cannot ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people.”
“We have got to have a policy that reaches out to the Palestinians and the Americans. That will come within the context of bringing nations together in the Mideast,” Sanders said.
His comments came the same week that he said he wouldn’t be attending the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, saying the pro-Israel lobbying group provides a platform to “leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”
AIPAC, founded in 1963 with a mission of promoting the US-Israeli relationship, has long been seen as a power player in Washington politics. The organization garners bipartisan support, but tensions with progressive Democrats have increased in recent years.
The Vermont senator is not alone in branding Netanyahu as a racist.
Beto O’Rourke, who was then a Democratic presidential candidate, called Netanyahu as a “racist” in April last year, saying he was an obstacle to peace in the Middle East.
Shortly before the Israeli election in September 2019, Netanyahu’s Facebook page was sanctioned for hate speech after one of its post warned against a cabinet composed of “Arabs who want to destroy us all.”
On the day of the election in 2015, Netanyahu also warned that the “Arabs are voting in droves,” for which he later apologized.
Sanders also suggested on Tuesday that he would consider reversing President Donald Trump’s May 2018 decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Al-Quds.
He said it is “something that we would take into consideration.”
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is also running for the Democratic nomination, pushed back, saying that moving the embassy is not a realistic possibility.
“You can’t move the embassy back. We should not have done it without getting something” from Israel, Bloomberg said.
“But it was done and you’re going to have to leave it there.”
The embassy move was met with international criticism for recognizing the holy city as Israel’s undivided capital when Palestinians have long demanded East Al-Quds as their capital of a future independent state.
East Al-Quds was captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war and later annexed in a move not recognized by most countries but endorsed by Trump’s Middle East plan.
The Independent and The Hill contributed to this story.
- source : Iran Daily, Irannews