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Where does Bernie Sanders, the Jewish candidate for president, stand on Israel?

Sanders = Best friend is Richard Sugarman, a professor of Jewish philosophy at the University of Vermont who champions Zionism to his left-leaning students.

Sanders = Formative experience on a kibbutz

Sanders = 73 “Saturday Night Live” dubbed him the “old Jew.”

Sanders = “On Israel?” “Do you view yourself as a Zionist?”

Sanders = Other best friend and former chief of staff = Huck Gutman, a University of Vermont professor of literature who is a passionate aficionado of the poetry of Yehuda Amichai.

Silverman = Listed Sanders’ qualifications Jews favor = Same-sex marriage + Civil rights + Against Iraq war

Sanders = Favors universally available health care.

Sanders = Spent several months in the mid-1960s on a kibbutz = Brooklyn-born and accented

Sanders = Shaped by the murder of his father’s extended family in the Holocaust.

Sanders = On dual U.S.-Israel citizenship = “Well, no, I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I’m an American. I don’t know where that question came from. I am an American citizen, and I have visited Israel on a couple of occasions. No, I’m an American citizen, period.”

Sanders = On Israel = He backs Israel, but believes in spending less on defense assistance to Israel and more on economic assistance in the Middle East.

Sanders said “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 = “I think that you have volatile regions in the world, the Middle East is one of them, and the United States has got to work with other countries around the world to fight for Israel’s security and existence at the same time as we fight for a Palestinian state where the people in that country can enjoy a decent standard of living, which is certainly not the case right now. My long-term hope is that instead of pouring so much military aid into Israel, into Egypt, we can provide more economic aid to help improve the standard of living of the people in that area.”

Sanders = Defend Israel to a hostile crowd + Faults Israel + Signed a Senate resolution (all Senators signed) solely blamed Hamas for the conflict

Sanders = “Has Israel overreacted? Have they bombed U.N. facilities? The answer is yes, and that is terribly, terribly wrong.”

Sanders = “On the other hand – and there is another hand – you have a situation where Hamas is sending missiles into Israel – a fact – and you know where some of those missiles are coming from. They’re coming from populated areas; that’s a fact. Hamas is using money that came into Gaza for construction purposes – and God knows they need roads and all the things that they need – and used some of that money to build these very sophisticated tunnels into Israel for military purposes.”

Sanders = “Excuse me, shut up, you don’t have the microphone. You asked the question, I’m answering it. This is called democracy. I am answering a question and I do not want to be disturbed.”

Sanders = Mayor of Burlington, Vt (1988) backed Jesse Jackson’s support for the Palestinians during the first intifada = Called Israeli brutal + Arabs extreme. = “What is going on in the Middle East right now is obviously a tragedy, there’s no question about it. The sight of Israeli soldiers breaking the arms and legs of Arabs is reprehensible. The idea of Israel closing down towns and sealing them off is unacceptable. You have had a crisis there for 30 years, you have had people at war for 30 years, you have a situation with some Arab countries where there are still some Arab leadership calling for the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of Israeli citizens…We are pouring billions of dollars in arms into Arab countries. We have the clout to demand they and Israel, who we’re also heavily financing, to begin to sit down and work out a sensible solution to the problem which would guarantee the existence of the State of Israel and which would also protect Palestinian rights.” Said on video unearthed by Alternet writer Zaid Jilani.

Sanders = Doesn’t think the Iran nuclear deal is perfect, but he backs it. “We have to negotiate with Iran. And the alternative of not reaching an agreement, you know what it is? It’s war. Do we really want another war, a war with Iran? An asymmetrical warfare that will take place all over this world, threatening American troops? So I think we go as far as we possibly can in trying to give peace a chance, if you like. Trying to see if this agreement will work. And I will support it.”


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