Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

WATCH: Bernie Sanders Says Israel Is Run By ‘Right-Wing, Racist Government’

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders defended his stance on Israel at a CNN town hall on Monday, saying he is “100% pro-Israel” but renewed his criticisms of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that the Jewish state is “now run by a right-wing — dare I say — racist government.”

Speaking at a televised event in New Hampshire, Sanders was asked by a Harvard University student how he would maintain U.S.-Israel ties given his criticisms of Netanyahu. Sanders, an independent from Vermont, began his response by mentioning that he spent time on a kibbutz as a young man and has relatives in Israel. “I am not anti-Israel,” he said. “But the fact of the matter is that Netanyahu is a right-wing politician who, I think, is treating the Palestinian people extremely unfairly.”

“What I believe – you know, the U.S. gives billions of dollars in military aid to Israel,” he continued. “What I believe is not radical — I just believe that the U.S. should deal with the Middle East on a level-playing-field basis. In other words, 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. I am 100 percent pro-Israel. Israel has every right in the world to exist and to exist in peace and security, and not be subjected to terrorist attacks. But the United States needs to deal not just with Israel but with the Palestinian people as well.”

Sanders’s response was met with applause on multiple occasions.

Sanders, a longtime critic of Netanyahu and Israeli government policies toward the Palestinians, said on the eve of Israel’s elections last month that he hoped Netanyahu lost. “When election time comes in Israel, he always tries going even further to the right by appealing to racism within Israel, I think it’s unfortunate,” Sanders told NBC. “I’m not a great fan of his, and, frankly, I hope he loses his election.”

Sanders did not get his wish.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor for the Forward. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter, @aidenpink

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.