Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Sunday called Israel’s government “racist” and suggested that there should be strings attached to US aid to Israel.
Speaking to CBS’ “Face the Nation”, Sanders was asked by interview Margaret Brennan if he thinks democracy is in peril in Israel.
“I do. I am very worried about what Netanyahu is doing and some of his allies in government and what may happen to the Palestinian people,” replied the Senator, who is Jewish.
“And let me tell you something, I mean, I haven't said this publicly. But I think the United States gives billions of dollars in aid to Israel. And I think we've got to put some strings attached to that and say you cannot run a racist government. You cannot turn your back on a two-state solution. You cannot demean the Palestinian people there. You just can't do it and then come to America and ask for money,” he added.
When Brennan noted that the Biden administration has "been very careful in criticism of the Netanyahu government", Sanders replied, “Well, I am not careful about it. I'm embarrassed that- that in Israel, you have a government of that nature right now.”
“You cannot give- if you have a, you know, whether it's Saudi Arabia or other authoritarian societies, if a government is acting in a racist way, and they want billions of dollars from the taxpayers of the United States, I think you say, 'Sorry, but it's not acceptable. You want our money? Fine. This is what you got to do to get it,'" he continued.
Sanders also had criticism for AIPAC and said it “is not even just a pro-Israel group. This is a corporate PAC, sometimes getting money from Republicans, sometimes supporting extreme right-wing Republicans. So what really upset me very much is that in many of these primaries, we had great candidates, young people, often people of color, and yet AIPAC and other super PACs spending millions of dollars trying to defeat them. And as you may know, I tried to get the Democratic Party to pass a resolution that in Democratic primaries, super PAC money should not be allowed to be used.”
Sanders, who ran against Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, but eventually dropped out of the race, has repeatedly criticized the Israeli government and has asserted that it is racist.
In 2019, Sanders caused an uproar when he told the J Street conference that the US should redirect its aid to Israel and give it to Gaza instead.