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February 26, 2020 10:54 am

Top Israeli Official Castigates Bernie Sanders for ‘Horrifying’ Democratic Debate Comment on Jerusalem

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Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at the debate at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, Feb. 25, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Jonathan Ernst.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz denounced US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Wednesday for what he described as a “horrifying” comment made by the Vermont senator at the Democratic debate in South Carolina the previous night.

Asked by a moderator whether, as president, he would move the US Embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, Sanders replied noncommittally, but noted it would “be under consideration.”

“I’m very proud of being Jewish,” Sanders went on to say. “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.”

Sanders statement came only two days after he announced he would not attend the upcoming annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, DC, accusing the lobby group of providing a platform for “leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”

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In an Army Radio interview on Wednesday, Katz said, “The remark by Sanders, who is of Jewish background, is his second against the State of Israel on topics that are at the core of Jewish belief, Jewish history and Israel’s security” — a reference to a declaration by Sanders at a J Street conference last fall that he would condition US military aid to Israel.

“The last time he talked about Gaza — without understanding at all the reality and the threat and the rockets and everything we face as those who are being attacked by radical Islam and defending ourselves,” Katz recalled. “He in effect wanted to deny us the right to self-defense.”

“And now, Jerusalem,” the Israeli foreign minister — a veteran member of the ruling Likud party — continued. “There is no Jew who hasn’t dreamed of Jerusalem for thousands of years, to return, and we returned and I think President [Donald] Trump did an important thing, without connection to internal disagreements within the US. He recognized the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the State of Israel.”

“Now, in the new peace plan, the deal of the century, he recognizes Jerusalem in its entirety as Israel’s capital,” Katz added. “And we will stick to that and insist on that, and, of course, act to persuade [people] in the US regarding those things. And whoever comes out against that — naturally, people who very much support Israel will not tend to support him.”

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