Unlike Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders has a far more rational approach toward the Israel-Palestine conflict.
During the second day of a national conference by nonprofit liberal advocacy group J Street in Washington, D.C., the Vermont senator said Israel should end its decades-long occupation.
"There is no question that we should be and will be Israel's very strong friend and partner in years to come," he told an audience of over 3,500 people. "But we also need to recognize that the Israeli occupation runs contrary to American values and I believe, Israeli values as well."
However, apart from acknowledging the fact that what Israel is doing on Palestinian land is, in fact, a military occupation, Sanders also emphasized how the conflict can be resolved without undermining the state of Israel.
To explain this point, he used the example of the United States of America.
“Like our own country, the founding of Israel involved the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people already living there, the Palestinian people,” Sanders added. “Over 700,000 people were made refugees. To acknowledge this painful historical fact does not 'delegitimize' Israel, any more than acknowledging the Trail of Tears delegitimizes the United States of America.”
His statement on the Middle East conflict stands in stark contrast to that of the president of the United States who, far from acknowledging the oppression of the Palestinian people, praised the divisive policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he came to the U.S. earlier this month.
Sanders made sure to mention this absurdity in his speech.
“Earlier this month, at a White House press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump was asked whether he supported a two-state solution,” the Democratic senator continued. “His answer was, 'I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.' As if someone asked him whether he preferred Coke to Pepsi.”
Sanders didn’t just take a jab at Trump, though. He also stated what the U.S. president should’ve said instead — as the leader of the free world.
“We should be clear: The two-state solution, which involves the establishment of a Palestinian state in the territories occupied in 1967, has been bipartisan U.S. policy for many years. It is also supported by an overwhelming international consensus, which was reaffirmed in December by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334. “
All in all, his speech was remarkable because, unlike what Trump was too timid to tell Netanyahu, Sanders pointed how Israel is essentially holding Palestinians under siege for nearly five decades. It is a blatant human rights violation, and the U.S. is currently friends with Israel.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz.com reported Sanders’ speech was read so much, it crashed their servers:
This speech is crashing our servers right now https://t.co/IzUvVw6lDb— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) February 28, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Lucy Nicholson