Prominent far-left senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren called on the U.S. to restrict aid to Israel, sparking outrage from the Republican Jewish Coalition, who slammed Warren’s comments as “disgusting.”
Speaking at a virtual conference hosted by the leftwing J Street, Warren said: “We should talk about the elephant in the room: America’s military assistance to Israel. I said earlier that I am committed to Israel’s security and I am; I support military assistance to Israel. But if we’re serious about arresting settlement expansion and helping move the parties toward a two-state solution, then it would be irresponsible not to consider all of the tools we have at our disposal.”
“One of those is restricting military aid from being used in the occupied territories. By continuing to provide military aid without restriction, we provide no incentive for Israel to adjust course,” she added.
Joe Biden expressed his opposition to Israel’s plans to extend Israeli law over parts of the West Bank, saying that will “choke off any hope for peace.” https://t.co/D2MKtqwfUT
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 21, 2020
In response, RJC executive director Matt Brooks said in a statement: “In Senator Warren’s view, the decades-long strategic alliance between the U.S. and Israel is only useful as leverage to advance the anti-Israel agenda of the progressive Democrats she leads.”
“To advocate, as Sen. Warren does, that the U.S. pressure Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians while the Palestinian Authority condemns Israel’s existence, incites violence against Israel and Jews everywhere, and continues its “Pay for Slay” salaries to terrorists and their families, is disgusting,” said Brooks.
Sanders also advocated the notion of using U.S. aid as leverage.
“I strongly believe that we must also be willing to bring real pressure to bear, including restricting U.S. aid, in response to moves by either side that undermine the chances for peace,” he said.
“The truth is that the United States gives an enormous amount of military aid to Israel. It also provides some humanitarian and economic aid to the Palestinians. It is totally appropriate for the United States to say what that aid may and may not be used for,” Sanders argued.
“In terms of aid to Israel, in my view, the American people do not want to see that money being used to support policies that violate human rights and treat the Palestinian people as second-class human beings,” he added.
Sanders said the idea was not about “singling out any one country” but rather “acting in an even-handed way and making sure that American aid works to advance American values, not undermine them.”
Warren lashed out at both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“If Netanyahu fails in this task [of forming a government], the majority [of the Knesset] that opposes him must decide what to do next. Will they continue to fight among themselves and, in the process, prop up a corrupt leader who puts his own interests ahead of those of his country? Or will they join together to begin the difficult task of rooting out corruption and reinstating the rule of law?” she asked.
Joe Biden has appointed former anti-Israel activist Maher Bitar to the role of senior director for intelligence programs at the NSC. https://t.co/nuzop7xGxG
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 27, 2021
With regards to the Palestinians, Warren said that “the West Bank is ruled by a corrupt and increasingly authoritarian leadership under President Abbas” while “Hamas –a terrorist organization that has yet to renounce violence” rules the Gaza Strip.
Sanders also criticized Netanyahu for failing to find a solution to the conflict.
“For the last four years, they had a partner in the Trump administration working with them to entrench a permanent one-state reality, in which Israel controls the entire territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River in perpetuity, and in which the Palestinians are provided limited ‘autonomy’ within a disconnected series of districts,” Sanders said, according to Haaretz.
“I am here to say that that is not an acceptable outcome,” he said.
Sanders sparked outrage in 2019 when he suggested that the US should give aid to Gaza instead of Israel.
Sanders, who is Jewish and spent several months in an Israeli Kibbutz in the 1960s, claims that he is looking out for both Israeli and Palestinian interests.
RJC CEO Brooks has called Bernie an “enemy of Israel.”