update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

A sad day, Bernie Sanders says of Congress inviting Netanyahu

AIPAC slams the senator for saying he will not attend the address and for calling the Israeli prime minister a war criminal.

Bernie Sanders in Boston on Feb. 29, 2020. Credit: Lauryn Allen/Shutterstock.
Bernie Sanders in Boston on Feb. 29, 2020. Credit: Lauryn Allen/Shutterstock.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is Jewish and who has a long history of attacking Israel, stated on Saturday that it was “a very sad day for our country” when the four top leaders of the U.S. Congress invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session.

“Israel, of course, had the right to defend itself against the horrific Hamas terrorist attack of October 7, but it did not, and does not, have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people,” the senator stated.

“Israel does not have the right to kill more than 34,000 civilians and wound over 80,000—5% of the population of Gaza,” he continued, accepting as fact figures published by Hamas.

Sanders accused the Jewish state of orphaning 19,000 children, displacing 75% of Gazans and damaging or destroying 60% of Gazan homes. He also said that Israel had opted to “obliterate” infrastructure in the Strip, “annihilate” Gaza’s health system, block Gazan children from receiving an education and obstruct humanitarian aid.

“It does not have the right to condemn hundreds of thousands of children to death by starvation. This is a clear violation of American and international law,” Sanders stated. He expressed approval of the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, a United Nations judicial body in The Hague, seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar.

“The ICC is right. Both of these people are engaged in clear and outrageous violations of international law,” the senator stated. “Benjamin Netanyahu is a war criminal. He should not be invited to address a joint meeting of Congress. I certainly will not attend.”

AIPAC slammed the senator in two posts on social media.

“Why did J Street drop [anti-Israel New York Democratic congressman] Jamaal Bowman but keeps fundraising for Bernie Sanders?” it wrote. “What’s the difference?”

Sharing Sanders’s comment in another X post headlined “J Street champion,” AIPAC wrote, “Embracing Israel’s most hostile critics in Congress, J Street is many things, but it’s not pro-Israel.”

David Bernstein, university professor of law and executive director of the Liberty and Law Center at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Virginia, wrote that Sanders is “a guy who for much of his adult life was a fanboy of the leaders of every Communist dictatorship in the world, and even spend his honeymoon in the USSR.

“Castro, Brezhnev et al. weren’t too much for him, but Bibi is,” Bernstein wrote. “Says all you need to know about Bernie.

“People say, ‘Oh, I like Bernie because at least on a scale for politicians, he’s principled,’” the professor added. “The real problem, though, is that his principles are terrible.

“It’s also true that Bernie isn’t all that principled,” Bernstein wrote. “He was never in his Senate or House career the anti-Israel rabble-rouser he is today. But he wants his legacy to be as the leader of/inspiration for a growing leftist movement, and to stay in good graces with that movement, he’s had to become increasingly hostile to Israel.”

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates