Sanders: Netanyahu ‘beholden to extreme racists in Israel’

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being “beholden” to extreme racists in Israel after the leader pressed the U.S. on withholding of weapons in the Israel-Hamas war.

Sanders said “virtually everyone” recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Hamas, but criticized Netanyahu’s continued bombardment and killing of approximately 37,000 Palestinians, in a statement released Tuesday.

The Vermont senator slammed the Netanyahu government for “displacing nearly 1.8 million people” and for devastating the civilian infrastructure, health care system and education system.

“Given all of this, it is easy to understand why Netanyahu is credibly accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court and the United Nations,” Sanders said. “He is beholden to extreme racists in Israel and has devoted his career to undermining the prospects for a two-state solution and lasting peace.”

Sanders’s statement comes in response to a video Netanyahu released Tuesday, in which the Israeli prime minister said he told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken “it’s inconceivable” that the Biden administration has been “withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel.”

Sanders also slammed Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress in the statement, arguing the U.S. government should instead be withholding military aid to Israel and using its power to end the war.

The Vermont senator took aim at Netanyahu’s video message during a Tuesday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, saying it’s “inconceivable” that the U.S. continues to support Israel as a famine strikes Gaza.

“So, to me, what is inconceivable is for the United Stats to give another nickel to the right-wing extremist Netanyahu government who is going to war against the, not just Hamas, but the entire Palestinian people,” he said. “That’s inconceivable.”

He argued that there are “relatively few” people on Capitol Hill who believe the starvation should not be part of war but said that’s a belief “that most Americans support.”

White House officials have pushed back against Netanyahu’s allegations about withholding weapons, saying they didn’t know what the prime minister was talking about.

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