News & Politics

Bernie Sanders' Shocking Break With his Own Party on Aid to Israel

Bernie Sanders' Shocking Break With his Own Party on Aid to Israel
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is proposing to radically alter the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. He wants to tie $3 billion in American military aid to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, especially those on the West Bank.

This is a sharp break from American policy that has been supported by both parties for decades. And his proposal was met with near-universal opposition from both Republicans and his fellow Democrats.


“If you want military aid, you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza. … I think it is fair to say that some of that $3.8 billion should go right now into humanitarian aid,” the Vermont senator added.

The proposal is among a number of Sanders’ ideas to fundamentally reshape the U.S. relationship with Israel, including taking a tougher line against the traditionally dominant pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, and demanding that Israel halt settlement construction.

But his ideas would present a substantive break with Democratic Party policy toward Israel. At the end of former President Barack Obama’s time in office, for example, Democrats regularly boasted about the massive new annual aid package they had secured for Israel.

Senator Chris Coons pretty much summed up the attitude of most in Congress. He said he would oppose “anything that would suggest conditioning aid to Israel and Israel not being able to defend itself and not being able to be secure.”

That’s the long and short of it and where Sanders’s proposal crashes and burns. Sanders would make aid to Israel contingent on what Sanders and others who agree with him think is the way Israel should behave.

What does Sanders believe?

“Gaza is experiencing a humanitarian and environmental crisis,” Sanders told me. “Conflating an effort to address that crisis with ‘support for Hamas’ is part of an effort to dehumanize Palestinians and continue the conflict.”

“As I have said many times,” he continued, “we need an even-handed policy in the Middle East which guarantees Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and which treats the Palestinian people with respect and dignity.”

It’s very difficult to treat anyone with respect and dignity when you have a knife at your throat.

And perhaps if Hamas would stop dehumanizing Jews, the peace process might actually make some progress. By the way…it’s not hard for Jews to dehumanize people who kill your babies and then boast about it.

These are mortal enemies forced by geography to live in close proximity to each other. One enemy wants to annihilate the other and wipe their country off the face of the earth. They have proven time and again their idea of peace is the destruction of the Jewish state and the genocidal murder of the people who live there.

Being “even-handed” sure sounds good until you recognize the reality of what’s been happening for the last 70 years. You cannot force a tiny nation, literally surrounded by enemies who want to destroy them, to act in accordance with some pie-in-the-sky code of conduct that bears no relationship whatsoever to the reality faced by the government and citizens every day.

Sanders is either an anti-Semite or a common fool.

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