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March 21, 2019 9:28 am

Bernie Sanders Posts Facebook Video of Supporter Praising Him for Accusing Israel of Apartheid

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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US presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally at Brooklyn College in New York, March 2, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Andrew Kelly.

A prominent social justice activist and Bernie Sanders supporter recently praised the Democratic presidential candidate for accusing Israel of apartheid.

Shaun King, a promoter of the Black Lives Matter movement, social media activist and writer-in-residence at Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project, told a group of Sanders supporters that the senator had always spoken out for unpopular causes. He pointed to Sanders’ criticism of Disney and Amazon’s business practices, and then said, “Even today, he speaks out against apartheid-like conditions in Palestine even though it’s not popular.”

A video of King’s speech was posted to Sanders’ official Facebook page, in effect endorsing his comments.

Sanders has sparked controversy in the past with Israel-related comments.

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Earlier this year, Sanders slammed an anti-BDS bill in Congress, saying, “It’s absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation which punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional right to engage in political activity.”

Last year, Sanders criticized the IDF’s attempts to contain Hamas-orchestrated riots on the Israel-Gaza Strip border, saying, “Those are terrible actions. Instead of applauding Israel for its actions, Israel should be condemned. Israel has a right to security, but shooting unarmed protesters is not what it is about.”

A large number of the rioters killed by IDF fire have been identified as Hamas terrorists.

“Over 50 killed in Gaza today and 2,000 wounded, on top of the 41 killed and more than 9,000 wounded over the past weeks,” Sanders tweeted at another point. “This is a staggering toll. Hamas violence does not justify Israel firing on unarmed protesters.”

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders attacked his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for being too supportive of the Jewish state, saying, “I read Secretary Clinton’s speech before AIPAC, I heard virtually no discussion at all about the needs of the Palestinian people. … There will never be peace in that region, unless the United States plays … an even-handed role in trying to bring people together and recognizing the serious problems that exist among the Palestinian people.”

“There comes a time when if we pursue justice and peace we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time,” he added.

In an interview during the campaign, Sanders wildly exaggerated the number of dead in the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, saying, “I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right?”

When told this was likely too high, Sanders replied, “I don’t have it in my number … but I think it’s over 10,000. My understanding is that a whole lot of apartment houses were leveled. Hospitals, I think, were bombed. So yeah, I do believe and I don’t think I’m alone in believing that Israel’s force was more indiscriminate than it should have been.”

Sanders also appointed two anti-Israel figures to the Democratic party platform committee during the 2016 presidential race — Cornel West and James Zogby.

West, a supporter of BDS, had stated that Hamas terrorist activities “pale in the face of the US-supported Israeli slaughter of innocent civilians.”

West then accused former President Barack Obama of being “most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy, and very effective in getting what they want.”

Zogby, a longtime advocate of the Palestinian cause, has called support for Netanyahu “shameful,” and said, “Israeli society is on a slippery slope — becoming increasingly tolerant of racist violence.”

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