Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called newly re-elected Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “racist” during a CNN town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday night — and Republicans are pointing on the claim.
Netanyahu, who won Israel’s elections April 9, has not actually formed a new government yet.
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), issued a statement declaring Sanders’s attack on Netanyahu the latest evidence that Democrats are becoming an anti-Israel party, controlled by “radicals” like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
RJC executive director Matt Brooks said:
Democrats are at it again. They don’t like the results of a free and democratic election; therefore, they call the victors racist and, by extension, call their supporters racist. It’s an absurd and offensive claim. When the Democratic party’s presidential frontrunner, Bernie Sanders, calls the Israeli government racist, he ignores that the nearly 2 million Arab Israeli citizens enjoy the same exact rights that every other Israeli citizen does: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to vote in free and democratic elections.
However, Bernie Sanders and the Democratic leadership don’t care about these facts. They care about appealing to the apparent, new voting base that has been energized by Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Linda Sarsour. These Left-wing radicals preach intersectionality as a way to rally disparate groups, even if that means attacking a close ally that happens to be the only country in the Middle East that protects the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, and religious minorities. Bernie Sanders and his Democratic Party are calling Israel racist in hopes that the American people will buy their lies. The RJC won’t let this happen. We won’t let Israel become a punching bag for Democrats to score points with their radical base.
Sanders said earlier this month he hoped Netanyahu would lose — but Netanyahu won a fifth term April 9 when his Likud Party secured the most seats in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. He has yet to finalize his governing coalition.
The socialist Sanders is not the only Democrat calling Netanyahu “racist.” Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) did so earlier this month, citing a warning Netanyahu issued in his last election about Arab voters being brought to the polls by foreign organizations (which were attempting to interfere in Israel’s elections, as President Barack Obama also was), and Netanyahu’s role in brokering an election agreement earlier this year between two far-right parties.
Neither Sanders nor O’Rourke offered any evidence of actual racism by the Netanyahu government, nor did Sanders acknowledge the will of the Israeli electorate as expressed two weeks ago. Moreover, Sanders accused Netanyahu of “treating the Palestinian people extremely unfairly.”
Sanders’s accusation comes after every Democratic presidential candidate declined to attend the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel group, last month, while appearing at the conference of the National Action Network, run by racist and antisemite Al Sharpton, earlier this month.
Netanyahu is expected to serve into 2023, well into the next presidential term.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.