Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

AIPAC Pushes Back After Bernie Sanders Calls Netanyahu Government ‘Racist’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee pushed back against Bernie Sanders for calling Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “racist.”

The pro-Israel lobby, in a tweet that did not mention the Democratic presidential hopeful by name, said it was counterproductive when American leaders used “name-calling” against their Israeli counterparts.

“The U.S.-Israel alliance serves America’s interests,” AIPAC said Tuesday on Twitter. “We benefit from the close bonds between the governments and peoples. Name-calling by political leaders against the democratically elected government of Israel is counterproductive to maintaining close ties and advancing peace.”

An AIPAC official confirmed that the tweet was aimed at Sen. Sanders, I-Vt., currently the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders defended his outspoken criticism of Israel in a CNN town hall on Monday, broadcast from Manchester, New Hampshire, the first primary state.

“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,” he said to applause.

Netanyahu earlier this month won reelection as prime minister. A number of Democratic candidates before the election blasted Netanyahu for brokering a vote-sharing agreement with Jewish Power, a party whose extremist views were inspired by a rabbi, the late Meir Kahane, who was expelled from Israel’s parliament for “racist incitement.”

AIPAC at the time of the vote-sharing deal also blasted Jewish Power as “racist,” although it did not explicitly fault Netanyahu for making the deal.

“AIPAC has a longstanding policy not to meet with members of this racist and reprehensible party,” it said in a February tweet, referring to the far-right party.

Sanders at the town hall also called himself “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,” he said. “But the United States needs to deal not just with Israel, but with the Palestinian people as well.”

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

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.