Julián Castro joins democratic hopefuls in bashing Netanyahu

Julián Castro was responding to the PM's promise to annex the West Bank if re-elected.

April 9, 2019 03:50
2 minute read.
U.S. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro speaks during a campaign stop at The Liver

U.S. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro speaks during a campaign stop at The Livery Deli, in Boone, Iowa, U.S., . (photo credit: REUTERS/SCOTT MORGAN)


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Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro criticized the Trump administration for "enabling" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night.

"In abandoning our position as a good faith partner in the Middle East peace process, the Trump admin has enabled reckless actions like this from Netanyahu," Castro tweeted. "US support for a two-state solution is on the line in November 2020."

Castro was responding to Netanyahu's promise to annex the West Bank if re-elected as prime minister.

Castro is not alone in his harsh words for Netanyahu in recent weeks. Several Democratic candidates have expressed their concerns with Netanyahu’s actions during the Israeli election cycle, which ends Tuesday when six million Israelis go to vote.

Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, a three-time representative of Texas’s 16th congressional district and Democratic Party presidential hopeful, said on Sunday afternoon that Netanyahu is racist in a talk in which he discussed the importance of the US-Israel relationship.

“The US-Israel relationship is one of the most important relationships that we have on the planet,” O’Rourke said. “And that relationship, if it is to be successful, must transcend partisanship in the United States, and it must be able to transcend a prime minister who is racist.”

“I think that Benjamin Netanyahu is an extreme right-wing leader in Israel,” Bernie Sanders said.  “I do not support his policies." According to NBC news, Sanders also said he "hopes he [Netanyahu] loses his election."

Another US Democratic presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg,called Netanyahu's pledge a harmful "provocation" to Israeli, Palestinian and American interests.

“This provocation is harmful to Israeli, Palestinian, and American interests,” Buttigieg said Saturday on Twitter, attaching a Haaretz news article reporting Netanyahu’s pledge, made in a TV interview.

In the past, pro-Israel rhetoric was bipartisan, but as of the late, some Democrats have more openly critiqued the country.

Sanders, however, does not think the criticism is bad for Israel, but what is necessary to solve the crisis in the Middle East.

"I think that to speak out against Netanyahu is not to be anti-Israel," Sanders said. "And what I believe is that we, in fact, need a two-state solution to the Middle East ongoing crisis and that the United States needs to have an even-handed policy.”

Tamar Beeri, Tzvi Joffre, and JTA, contributed to this report.

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