Sanders: America Cannot Ignore the Needs of the Palestinian People

Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said America cannot ignore the needs of the Palestinian people.

“You can’t just be only concerned about Israel’s needs,” Sanders said. “You have to be concerned about the needs of all of the people in the region.”

Partial transcript as follows:

TAPPER: It is interesting, you will permit me to say, that the first Jew in American history to win a delegate, much less a primary, is taking this position with Israel that is usually in American politics — and I’m not criticizing you for it — but is usually in American politics, everyone just supports, whatever Israel wants to do. You are taking a more critical position.

SANDERS: I’m taking a more balanced position.

TAPPER: You — balanced would be another interpretation of it. You didn’t travel to AIPAC to give that speech.

SANDERS: Well, that was the schedule. I would have given — I did want to go to AIPAC. It was just a question of having to campaign on the West Coast. But I gave that speech. And I spoke to the fellow who was organizing the meeting for AIPAC, apologized for not being there.

TAPPER: But you take my point.

SANDERS: Yes.

TAPPER: That — that is — is it an only Nixon can go to China kind of thing, or…

SANDERS: I don’t look at it that way. Look, this is what — the way I see it, whether you’re Jewish or not Jewish. I would hope that every person in this country wants to see the misery of never-ending war and conflict ended in the Middle East. It’s a difficult issue, you know, and good people have tried to deal with it for years. All that I’m saying, as somebody who is absolutely pro-Israeli, absolutely, 100 percent supports Israel’s right to exist in peace and in security, I think that in — the only way we succeed is that if the United States plays the role which is, of course, we are going to support Israel, but you cannot ignore the needs of the Palestinian people. In Gaza right now, poverty, unemployment — their community has been decimated. You can’t ignore that fact. And you can’t just be only concerned about Israel’s needs. You have to be concerned about the needs of all of the people in the region.

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