Bernie Sanders cites J Street, Arab American Institute as Mideast advisers

In February 2015, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution. Credit: Paul Morigi Photography/Brookings Institution via

( Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) cited the liberal Jewish lobby group J Street and the Arab American Institute as Middle East foreign policy advisers. 

“We’ve talked to people like Jim Zogby, talked to the people on J Street to get a broad perspective of the Middle East,” Sanders said Sunday on the NBC program “Meet the Press.”

J Street and the Arab American Institute, which is headed by James Zogby, have frequently criticized Israel and mainstream pro-Israel groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for their stances on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While J Street says it has a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” mission, it has been accused of collaborating with anti-Israel groups, such as through event co-sponsorships on college campuses.

Sanders has come under fire from his Democratic opponent, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, for his lack of foreign policy experience. Sanders also recently sparked a controversy by calling for the normalization of U.S. relations with Iran, a position that Clinton has opposed and that the Obama administration, despite brokering last summer’s nuclear deal with Iran, has not adopted.

Posted on February 8, 2016 .