Bernie Sanders would use foreign aid as leverage on Israel

"I think what has happened is in recent years under Netanyahu you have an extreme right-wing government with many racist tendencies."

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July 29, 2019 05:23
1 minute read.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks after the senate voted on a resolution ending U.S. military sup

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks after the senate voted on a resolution ending U.S. military support for the war in Yemen on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 13, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS/JOSHUA ROBERTS)

WASHINGTON - US Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) said on Friday that he would “absolutely” consider using foreign aid as leverage to get the Israeli government to act differently.

“We are giving large sums of money,” Sanders said in an interview with the liberal podcast “Pod Save America,” but then asked to take a step back to clarify his point of view: “Let me back it up before the tweets start flowing,” said the Democratic hopeful. “I lived in Israel. I worked in a Kibbutz for a number of months. I have family in Israel. I am Jewish. I am not anti-Israel. I believe that the people of Israel absolutely have the right to live in peace, independence and security – end of discussion.

“But I think what has happened is, in recent years under [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu you have an extreme right-wing government with many racist tendencies. The role of the United States – and this is not easy – is to try to finally bring peace to the Middle East and to treat the Palestinian people with the kind of respect and dignity they deserve.”

Known as a fierce critic of Netanyahu, Sanders said that “Our policy cannot just be pro-Israel, pro-Israel, pro-Israel. It is got to be pro-region working with all of the people, all of the countries in that area. What we need to do is not say we’re 100% pro-Israel or 100% pro-Saudi Arabia. We hate Iran; we hate the Palestinians. That is not the role that the United States of America should play.

“You got to bring people together and say, you don’t want to spend a whole lot of money, not only in aid to Israel, to Egypt. We have spent trillions of dollars on the war on terror, and I, as president, would like to sit down in a room with the leadership of Saudi Arabia, with the leadership of Iran, with the leadership of the Palestinians, with the leadership of Israel, and hammer out some damn agreements, which will try to end the conflicts that exist there forever.”


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