Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) last week labeled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “racist” and said U.S. policy must be “pro-Palestinian.“

Speaking at the Democratic debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles on Thursday night, Sanders said, “We must understand that right now in Israel we have leadership who has been indicted for bribery, who, in my view, is a racist.”

While Israel has a right to exist in peace and security, said Sanders, the United States must formulate “pro-Palestinian” policy that would create a “level playing field in terms of the Middle East.”

The Vermont senator, 77, noted that he was speaking as someone who had “lived in Israel” and was “proudly Jewish.”

He often touts how he spent several months in the 1960s, during his early 20s, on an Israeli kibbutz.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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