Where does Bernie Sanders stand on Palestine?
At times, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has led the Republican candidates and occasionally Hillary Clinton in the polls thanks to his “democratic socialist” methods.
He has brought economic issues to the forefront by using income and wealth equality, a higher minimum wage, universal healthcare, and free college paid by Wall Street, which has allowed him to gain millions of supporters.
However, his stance on Palestine – or rather Israel – is at odds with those beliefs. In an interview with Vox, Sanders was asked if he was a Zionist, and although he attempted to indirectly respond, his answer was clear:
“A Zionist? What does that mean? Want to define what the word is? Do I think Israel has the right to exist, yeah, I do. Do I believe that the United States should be playing an even-handed role in terms of its dealings with the Palestinian community in Israel? Absolutely I do.”
Sanders can at times be critical of Israel and its actions, but he does so while advancing the rhetoric that the two sides are equal; equal in fault and must equally compromise to reach a solution, according to FeelTheBern.org. Yet he won’t listen to those who tell him otherwise, as one incident at a town hall in Vermont proved, where he told a woman to “shut up.”
Besides his rhetoric, Sanders’ actions typically align with Israel. Last July, he supported Israel’s attack on Gaza and allowed a resolution in full agreement with Israel’s actions to pass in the Senate with unanimous consent. He may have called Israel’s actions during that summer an overreaction, but generally excused and supported them.
Furthermore, he rejects the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement and has expressed support in continuing aid to Israel. In a recent campaign rally in Boston, pro-Palestinian students with a banner reading “Will ya #FeelTheBern 4 Palestine?” were told to leave and threatened with arrest. Sander’s campaign manager later apologized for the incident and stated they should have been allowed to stay.
Sanders may be considered a progressive when it comes to his economic positions and stances on equality in the United States, however his words and actions regarding Palestine and Israel prove he’s not as progressive as he wants you to believe.