A top Israeli diplomat has denounced Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as “a liar, an ignorant fool or both” after the Vermont senator recently accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being a “racist.”
Speaking at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington on Sunday, Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, responded to recent comments by Sanders about Netanyahu.
At the Democratic debate in South Carolina on Feb. 25, Sanders was asked by CBS moderator Major Garrett about his criticism of AIPAC, which Sanders has described as a platform for “bigotry.”
“I actually lived in Israel for some months, but what I happen to believe is that right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel, through Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country,” Sanders said at the debate.
“I happen to believe that what our foreign policy in the Mideast should be about is absolutely protecting the independence and security of Israel,” he added. “But you cannot ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people. We have got to have a policy that reaches out to the Palestinians.”
There is no love lost between the pro-Israel lobbying group and Sanders.
He announced on Twitter last month that he would boycott the conference, saying it “provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”
As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region. 2/2
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 23, 2020
AIPAC quickly released a statement condemning the senator.
“Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment,” the statement read. “By engaging in such an odious attack on this mainstream, bipartisan American political event, Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel. Truly shameful.”
Senator Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) February 24, 2020
Sanders — who has courted endorsements from two accused anti-Semites in “the squad,” House Democrats Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar — has boycotted the conference for two years in a row, according to The New York Post.
Sanders’ feuding with Israeli leadership and AIPAC is peculiar, particularly when considering that, if elected, he would become the country’s first Jewish president.
Sanders has embraced his Jewish roots since announcing his 2020 candidacy last year. But the candidate appeared reluctant to talk about faith-based issues or his own relationship with his heritage during his 2016 presidential campaign.
In a slight change of tone, Sanders said at a CNN town hall event in Manchester, New Hampshire, last month that his Jewish heritage impacts him “very profoundly.”
At a prior CNN town hall in Derry, New Hampshire, in 2016, Sanders dodged a question about his relationship with Judaism, and instead spoke at length about social and racial inequality.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Sanders at that time to explain how he reconciles being Jewish with the fact he is not actively involved in any “organized religion.”
“Everybody practices religion in a different way,” Sanders said, adding, “My spirituality is that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me. That’s my very strong spiritual feelings.”
Unlike quiet Vermont, Israel is under the constant threat of attack from its many belligerent neighbors in the region and the various proxies and terrorist groups they fund.
Then again, Sanders does not share a faith or common culture with the people of Israel. Despite living there for “some months,” he does not fully grasp, at least outwardly, the plight of the Israeli people.
Aside from secular Judaism, his only religion seems to be in worshiping big government.
Sanders joins Tlaib and Omar in not being welcome in Israel.
Both representatives were barred from entering the country last August.
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