Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders Reuters

Vermont Senator and self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders has tapped retired US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson as a foreign policy adviser for the dark horse candidate’s presidential campaign.

Wilkerson, who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, emerged in the years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq as an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and the war on terror.

In 2013, Wilkerson also criticized the assumption that embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a deadly chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians.

In an interview with Cenk Uygur on Current TV, Wilkerson suggested that Israel was in fact responsible for the attack, part of what he suggested may have been a false-flag operation to force American intervention in Syria.

This is not his first controversial statement regarding Israel. In 2007, Wilkerson appeared in a Dutch documentary produced by VPRO investigating the influence of “the Israel lobby”, suggesting that American foreign policy was dominated by American Jews.

“The connections between America and Israel are so great and so strong that geostrategy, political strategy, grand strategy is of no consequence here,” he said. “America simply cannot say, ‘Israel you’re on your own’. It just wouldn’t work. And one of the reasons it wouldn’t work is because we have a very powerful Jewish lobby in America.”

Wilkerson went on to cite an example of the powerful grip of the “Jewish lobby”, noting he had once “received an e-mail from Dershowitz” over comments he had made regarding Israel. Wilkerson condemned Dershowitz as a “Harvard professor who protects the Jewish lobby in America like an attack dog.”

In 2015, Wilkerson gave an interview to MintPress News, where he blasted Israel as “the most predatory capitalist state in the eastern Mediterranean, and that’s saying something because we [the US], China, and Russia have exemplified predatory capitalism in the last 20 years, but Israel outstrips us all.”

Wilkerson went on to accuse Israel of betraying the US to Russia and China.

The Sanders campaign has refused to comment.