Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, didn’t pull any punches when speaking at a conference sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He called Sanders an “ignorant fool” for referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “reactionary racist.”
Dannon made the comment just two days before Sanders and other Democratic candidates face off in the 14 Super Tuesday primaries.
“Whoever calls the prime minister of Israel a ‘racist’ is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both,” Danon said. “We don’t want Sanders at AIPAC. We don’t want him in Israel.”
Out of all the Democratic candidates running for president, Sanders has been the most outspoken on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, calling for an “evenhanded” US approach more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.
Sanders is, indeed, an ignorant fool and he deserves everything that Dannon can throw at him.
Last Sunday, Sanders said on Twitter that he would not attend the powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC’s annual conference, emphasizing that he was “concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”
In a debate last week, Sanders said that “right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel, through Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country.”
Sanders also said that if elected president, he would consider moving the US embassy from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv.
I suppose that’s one point of view — if you’re a Palestinian and have been exposed to propaganda all your life. Or you sympathize with the poor, put-upon Palestinians for being forced by Israel to use children as suicide bombers and don’t think Israel has a right to defend itself.
Netanyahu gave a restrained response a day later, telling Army Radio simply: “What I think about this issue is that he is of course wrong, no question.”
But, he added: “I am not intervening in the US elections.”
Asked how he would handle a Sanders presidency, Netanyahu said he’d stood up to US leaders in the past and could do so again.
Sanders is in trouble if he’s elected president. Bibi is a lot tougher than he is and smarter. I don’t think he wants to get in a fight with the Israeli prime minister — if he’s re-elected. Even if Netanyahu would not be named prime minister, whoever would be leading Israel is not going to agree with Sanders about anything related to the Jewish state.
Danon may have overstepped the bounds of diplomacy with this cutting remarks about Sanders. I’m sure a lot of Americans would think that. But a Bernie Sanders presidency would be a monumental departure from the norm of U.S.-Israeli relations and may even threaten the security of the Jewish state.
That’s reason enough for Danon to speak out.