Sanders calls Netanyahu ‘racist’, says U.S. should be ‘pro-Palestinian’

“What we need is a level playing field in terms of the Middle East,” Sanders said.

By World Israel News Staff

During Thursday’s Democratic presidential primary debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders continued his ongoing criticism of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.

“Israel has — and I say this as somebody who lived in Israel as a kid, [I’m] proudly Jewish –Israel has the right to exist, not only to exist, but to exist in peace and security. But what U.S. foreign policy must be about is not just being pro-Israel. We must be pro-Palestinian as well,”  Sanders said.

Sanders, 77, lived on a kibbutz for a few months in the 1960s.

He also called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “racist” and blamed him for the poor economic situation in Gaza.

“In my view, we must understand that right now in Israel we have leadership under Netanyahu, who has recently, as you know, been indicted for bribery, who, in my view, is a racist. What we need is a level playing field in terms of the Middle East, which addresses the terrible crisis in Gaza, where 60% or 70% of the young people are unemployed,” he said.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Sanders has criticized Israel’s “racist” policies towards the Palestinians.

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“It is not anti-Semitism to say that the Netanyahu government has been racist. That’s a fact,” he said at this year’s J Street conference in Washington.

Sanders also suggested at the conference that the U.S. should use its military assistance to Israel as leverage.

“I would use the leverage of $3.8 billion,” Sanders said at the time. “It is a lot of money, and we cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government or, for that matter, to any government at all. We have a right to demand respect for human rights and democracy.”

The Gaza Strip is ruled by Hamas, which is classified as a terror organization by the U.S. and other countries.

Hamas overthrew the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Gaza in 2007, two years after Israel withdrew from the Strip and handed over full control to the PA.

Hamas terrorists, who vow to destroy the Jewish State, continue to shoot deadly rockets at Israel.