Sanders supported the Israeli attack on Gaza last summer but thought the Israeli army was a little heavy-handed and ‘over-reacted’ with some of its actions like bombing schools being used as civilian shelters. (There were no weapons at these schools). Sanders excused Israeli actions against Gaza civilian populations on the grounds that missiles were being fired from Gaza into Israel from populated centers. The Israeli campaign killed around 2000 Palestinians, most of them non-combatants. Another 1400 or so were killed in 2008-2009, and there have been many other Israeli bombings and other military actions against Palestinians in Gaza. Gaza rockets, most of them tiny high school science projects, mostly land uselessly in the desert, so that totaling them up into the thousands is a mere propaganda point. Over the past decade, they have killed 44 Israelis. The launching of the rockets by Hamas is a war crime, and the majority of those killed have been innocent non-combatants. But the disproportionate use of force is also a violation of international law, and a thousand to one kill ratio suggests disproportion. Sanders’ Israel policy seems likely to tilt more toward Tel Aviv than that of Obama, though Sanders did boycott the address of PM Binyamin Netanyahu to Congress in March.
On Israel, meanwhile, Sanders’s record is a mixed bag. In particular, last summer’s conflict in Gaza brought to light his complex feelings on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Sanders was one of 21 of 100 U.S. senators not to sign on as a co-sponsor to Senate Resolution 498, which expressed support for Israel “as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attack from Hamas.”
Read more at http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/...
But during a town hall meeting last August in Cabot, Vt., when Sanders was verbally attacked by pro-Palestinian activists who yelled expletives at him for condemning Hamas for firing rockets at Israeli civilians, Sanders responded to the hecklers with pro-Israel comments.
“You have a situation where Hamas is sending missiles into Israel… and you know where some of those missiles are coming from? They’re coming from populated areas,” Sanders said. “Hamas is very clear. Their view is that Israel should not have a right to exist.”
And when pressed about Israel’s conduct at that meeting, he brings ISIS out of nowhere into the discussion, suggesting that Israel is a defense against 7th century religious fundamentalism. He also said that he’s been working on the Israel/Palestine conflict for 50 years.
Here are some excerpts of the exchange:
[Constituent] Are you going to go further… [and end] $30 billion going to Israel over the next ten years?
[Sanders:] You have a situation where Hamas is sending missiles into Israel… and you know where some of those missiles are coming from? They’re coming from populated areas… Hamas has very sophisticated tunnels into Israel for military purposes.
[Constituent:] Gazans have a right to resist.
[Sanders:] Excuse me, shut up! You don’t have the microphone.
[Constituent:] You’re going to arrest people?
[Constituent:] Occupied populations have the right to resist.
[Sanders:] You have a right to your view… Hamas is very clear: their view is that Israel should not have a right to exist.
[Constituent:] Bullshit! .. Fuck Israel!
[Sanders:] Furthermore, the issue of Gaza is not the only issue right now in that region As some of you may have noticed… There’s a group called ISIS. Do you know what ISIS is?
[Constituent, sarcastic:] Yeah!
[Sanders:] Excuse me ISIS is a group receiving money from around the world that wants to convert parts of Iraq and Syria into a 7th century caliphate. You know what women’s rights are in that area? They are below– [tumult] Nobody wants to listen, they can leave… So you have a situation right now where we are figuring out in that region how you deal with people who have tens of thousands of very armed and aggressive people who may be making significant gains in that area. The point you make, I agree, I share your concerns about Israeli overreaction… I believe in a two-state solution. I would hope that the U.S. in a very very difficult situation, where the leadership on both sides is not particularly good, can finally work out a situation where Israel has a right to exist in security, and at the same time the Palestinians have a state of their own.
[Constituent:] It’s not going to happen.
[Sanders:] I have been working on it for the last 50 years. I’m sorry, I don’t have the magic answer. This is a very depressing and difficult issue. This has gone on for 60 bloody years, year after year… If you’re asking me if I have the magical solution, I don’t, and you know what, I doubt very much that you do
- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/...
Sanders scores +2 by AAI on Arab-Israeli issues
The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.
1. S. Res. 44: (+) calls on former President Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin a peaceful transition to a democratic political system
2. S. Res. 109: (+) honoring and supporting women in North Africa and the Middle East
3. S. Res. 138: (-) calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report, formally known as the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which accused the Israeli government of targeting Palestinian civilians.
4. S. Res. 185: (-) reaffirming the commitment of the US to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling for a US veto of any UN resolution on Palestinian statehood without a settlement.
5. S. Con. Res. 23: (-) supporting Israel in maintaining defensible borders, and against Israel returning to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967
6. S. 558: (+) the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, to limit the use of cluster munitions in areas normally inhabited by civilians.
7. S. 1125: (+) greater judicial review of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and greater protections to individuals being monitored or gag-ordered by the FBI.
8. S.1038, the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act, in opposition of PATRIOT Act extension.
9. S. 723: (-) The Birthright Citizenship Act, limiting citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants born in the US.
10. S. 952: (+) the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented minors to become US citizens, provided they meet certain conditions, including good moral character
So where does Bernie Sanders stand on Israel? Here’s a review.
He backs Israel, but he believes in spending less on defense assistance to Israel and more on economic assistance in the Middle East.
Is Sanders a Zionist? Here’s what he told Vox’s Ezra Klein:
“A Zionist? What does that mean? Want to define what the word is? Do I think Israel has the right to exist? Yeah, I do. Do I believe that the United States should be playing an even-handed role in terms of its dealings with the Palestinian community in Israel? Absolutely I do.
“Again, I think that you have volatile regions in the world, the Middle East is one of them, and the United States has got to work with other countries around the world to fight for Israel’s security and existence at the same time as we fight for a Palestinian state where the people in that country can enjoy a decent standard of living, which is certainly not the case right now. My long-term hope is that instead of pouring so much military aid into Israel, into Egypt, we can provide more economic aid to help improve the standard of living of the people in that area.”