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Bernie Sanders slams Israel's Netanyahu as 'reactionary racist' in heated Democratic debate Open in fullscreen

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Bernie Sanders slams Israel's Netanyahu as 'reactionary racist' in heated Democratic debate

Sanders stood apart from the other candidates on the Middle East. [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 February, 2020

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US Democratic presidential frontrunner Bernie Sanders stood apart from the other candidates on the Middle East, lambasting Netanyahu and saying he would consider relocating the US embassy to Tel Aviv.
US Democratic presidential frontrunner Bernie Sanders slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday during a fiery primary presidential debate in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday.

Talking over one another, in often contentious exchanges, the seven candidates aggressively vied for attention, locking horns on everything from housing to China policy, and whether or not to move the US embassy from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv.

Sanders stood apart from the other candidates on the Middle East, lambasting Netanyahu and saying he would consider relocating the US embassy to Tel Aviv after US President Donald Trump's contentious decision to break with decades of US foreign policy and move it to Jerusalem.

"I'm very proud of being Jewish. 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 said at the debate.

When asked whether he would move the US embassy back to Tel Aviv, Sanders said, "the answer is it's something we would take into consideration".

Read more: Sanders to boycott pro-Israel lobby AIPAC conference

The comments by Sanders on the Middle East come just days after he pledged to boycott an annual conference hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobby.

"The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference," he tweeted on Sunday.

The Jewish senator has been critical of Israel during his campaign for the Democratic nomination, signifying a potential break from previous US foreign policy.

He's also called for cutting back American foreign aid to Israel and redirecting it to Palestinians instead.

Israel's foreign minister on Wednesday denounced Sanders for what he called his "horrifying comment" about Jerusalem, saying that those who support Israel would not back his presidential candidacy after such remarks.


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