Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders said on Tuesday that, if elected president, he would consider moving the US embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem.
"The answer is it's something we would take into consideration," said Sanders at a Democratic primary presidential debate in South Carolina, when asked to comment on concern among American Jews that he’s not supportive enough of Israel. He then proceeded to once again criticize Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
"But here's the point, I am very proud of being Jewish. 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," he added.
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg also weighed in on the issue and said, “You can’t move the embassy back.” Instead, he said, “The answer is to obviously split it up.”
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said moving the embassy is not a decision for the US to make and added, “We should let the parties determine the capitals themselves.”
US President Donald Trump relocated the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, months after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – a decision which angered the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Democratic presidential contenders also criticized Trump’s move, but most have said they would not reverse his decision.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said in July that as president, she would keep the American embassy in Israel in Jerusalem rather than move it back to Tel Aviv.
She acknowledged that “I think it would have been better if that was done as part of a negotiation for a two-state solution. I think it’s unfortunate it was done the way it was done but I wouldn’t reverse it.”
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg has also indicated he would not move the embassy back to Tel Aviv if elected.