RJC Responds to Sanders on Israel
Washington, D.C. -- The Republican Jewish Coalition responded today to remarks by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) last night during a CNN town hall in Las Vegas.
Asked how US-Israel relations would look under his administration, Sanders replied, "To be for the Israeli people and to be for peace in the Middle East does not mean that we have to support right-wing, racist governments that currently exist in Israel."
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:
Sanders says he supports the Israeli people, just not their democratic government. As it happens, the policies that Sanders calls racist are supported by all the major contenders to be the next Israeli prime minister and by the vast majority of Israeli voters, because they defend the basic national security needs of the Jewish state.
It is outrageous that a mainstream US political party candidate for president would call the Israeli government racist. It’s especially ironic to hear that from Sanders, who has chosen virulently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic individuals to represent him as surrogates in his campaign and who has been endorsed by a Who’s Who of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic personalities.
Start with surrogates Linda Sarsour (who described herself as "an unapologetic pro-BDS, one-state solution supporting resistance supporter") and Amer Zahr (who tweeted: "Describing defenders of Israel as 'scumbags,' 'pigs,' and 'bastards' is not necessary. 'Zionist' is sufficently insulting"). Then there are the endorsements from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), whose anti-Semitic comments are well documented.
This is not the first time that Sanders has called Israel’s government "racist." In an April 2019 CNN town hall event, Sanders said of the peace process: "[The] goal must be to try to bring people together and not just support one country, which is now run by a right wing, dare I say, racist government."
Last year he "dared" to say it. This year, he said it and received applause from the CNN town hall audience.
This is just another example of the deepening and deeply troubling alienation between the Democratic Party and Israel.
Statement by Sanders on February 19 (video at the link):
Sanders town hall comment on April 22, 2019: