Sanders Continues Israel Criticism, Claims ‘Disproportionate’ Response During Gaza War

/Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) arrives at a campaign rally April 4, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders kept up his criticism of the Jewish state, this time accusing Israel of a “disproportionate” response during the 2014 Israel-Gaza War.

“Was Israel’s response disproportionate? I think it was,” Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a pre-taped interview that aired on the network’s “State of the Union” program.

Sanders continued:

Israel has a 100% — and no one will fight for that principle more strongly than I will — has the right to live in freedom, independently and in security without having to be subjected to terrorist attacks.  But I think that we will not succeed to ever bring peace into that region unless we also treat the Palestinians with dignity and respect, and that is my view.

Tapper noted that “it is interesting … that the first Jew in American history to win a delegate, much less a primary, is taking this position with Israel.”

“Usually in American politics, everyone just supports Israel whatever Israel wants to do, but you are taking a more critical position,” Tapper added.

“I’m taking a more balanced position,” Sanders retorted.

The politician stated:

“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 and good people have tried to deal with it for years.”

In his line of questioning, Tapper was referring to an interview given by the far-left contender to the New York Daily News last week ahead of the New York primaries scheduled for April 19 in which Sanders vastly inflated the number of Palestinians killed by Israel in during the 2014 Gaza War.

“I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza,” Sanders told the paper’s editorial board.

Israel and the Palestinians published different figures for the death toll of Operation Protective Edge, as Israel dubbed it, but both put the number of dead well below 2,500, including both civilians and militants. Israel says 1,408 of 2,203 Palestinians killed in the war were militants. Hamas claimed more than half were civilians.

During his Daily News interview, Sanders stated that Israel bombed “hospitals.”

“My understanding is that a whole lot of apartment houses were leveled. Hospitals, I think, were bombed. So yeah, I do believe and I don’t think I’m alone in believing that Israel’s force was more indiscriminate than it should have been,” Sanders said.

Sanders left out that the IDF bombed Gaza’s empty Al-Wafa Hospital, with the Israeli army saying the building was being used as a Hamas terrorist command center.  No casualties were reported in the bombing, and Israel first fired numerous warning shots and ensured that the building was evacuated.

Israel takes great care to minimize civilian casualties, a difficult task since Palestinian militants use civilians as human shields and house their terrorist infrastructures in densely populated civilian areas.

Israel goes beyond what many other countries do to protect civilians. The IDF regularly warns civilians of incoming attacks with phone calls and text messages. It further employs “roof knocking” – or firing warning shots before any aerial bombing. If civilians still don’t evacuate, the Israeli army many times makes announcements on loudspeakers. The IDF has called off scores of military raids because civilians were in the way.

Meanwhile, in his interview on Sunday with Tapper, Sanders evidenced ignorance of Israeli-Palestinian affairs.

Sanders was not aware that Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., criticized him last week over his views of the Gaza war as expressed in the Daily News interview. Sanders did not even know who Oren was.

CNN reported on the exchange:

Who is Mr. Oren?” Sanders asked, apparently unaware of Israel’s top diplomat to the U.S. during President Barack Obama’s first term.

“Michael Oren, the former ambassador of Israel to the United States. And now he’s a politician in Israel,” Tapper said.
“I see. And he’s attacking me for a statement I did not make,” Sanders said.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.