Other front-runner Democratic presidential candidates support Israel’s right to self-defense.
By JNS and World Israel News Staff
Two leading hopefuls for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination who have been especially critical of Israeli policy, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have yet to speak out on the barrage of hundreds of rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip over the past few days by Palestinian terrorists.
Sanders has repeatedly referred to the Netanyahu government as “racist.” He has warned that if elected president, he would use U.S. aid to Israel as “leverage” to change the Jewish State’s policy.
He has also expressed support for cutting U.S. military aid to Israel for humanitarian relief in Gaza instead.
Warren recently stated that “if Israel’s government continues with steps to formally annex the West Bank, the United States should make it clear that none of our aid should be used to support annexation.”
Unlike Sanders and Warren, however, other presidential candidates have expressed solidarity with Israel over the latest Gazan barrage.
Former vice president and Democratic front-runner Joe Biden touted his support for the Iron Dome air-defense system, which has been exhibiting a 90 percent effective rate against rockets in the latest escalation.
“Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorist threats. It is intolerable that Israeli civilians live their lives under the constant fear of rocket attacks. That’s why our administration was such a strong supporter of Israel’s life-saving Iron Dome,” tweeted Biden.
Similarly, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) told JNS that she is also proud to have supported Iron Dome.
“The latest barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza on innocent Israelis cannot be tolerated – Israel has the right to defend itself from these horrific attacks. I join others in urging against further escalation,” said Harris. “I strongly support funding of the Iron Dome missile-defense system, which is, once again, saving countless Israeli lives.”
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, also criticized the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip and said he supported Israel’s right to self-defense.
“I strongly condemn the rocket attacks on the citizens of southern and central Israel. Israel has a right to defend itself against acts of terror that set back any progress towards peace and will only serve to inflame the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” tweeted Buttigieg.
‘Pox on both your houses’
Among other candidates, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said: “I stand with Israel as terrorists backed by Iran fire rockets targeting innocent civilians. I support Israel’s right to defend its citizens from these heinous and cowardly attacks.”
However, author and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson told JNS that blame lies on both sides.
“As is the case so often in Israeli and Palestinian politics, it is reasonable to say ‘Pox on both your houses.’ On one hand, it is absolutely a violation of international law for Gaza to fire rockets into civilian territory within Israel. I condemn it in no uncertain terms,” said Williamson. “On the other hand, until Israel ends the blockade and paves the way to a better life for people living within the Gaza Strip, societal violence of this kind should be considered inevitable.”
“For any country, large groups of desperate people should be considered a national security risk,” she continued. “As president, I would push for a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, with an understanding that until conditions for people living in Gaza are improved then such a ceasefire is not likely to occur.”
“Rocket attacks against innocent civilians are unacceptable. Israel has the right to self-defense against attacks by terror groups inside Gaza. De-escalation is the only path forward to peace and stability,” tweeted Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).
Finally, former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) told JNS, “I condemn this latest violence while recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense. This highlights the profound need to get back to the negotiating table.”
He continued, “Until there is a final peace settlement, there will continue to be violence. It is incumbent on the United States and allies to convene the responsible parties together to negotiate a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Israel may be safe, but it will not be secure until there is a final settlement.”