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Fri Jul 25, 2014, 11:01 AM


Bernie Sanders did not support the Senate agreement on Israel

The resolution was passed by a unanimous consent agreement, meaning no senator opposed it. 79 senators signed on to support it. Sanders could have signed on in support, but he did not. He was one of only 21 who did not support it. He did not oppose it either.

He made this point clear on his website:

Israel-Palestine: The Senate last week passed a resolution without a formal roll call vote by unanimous consent supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas. Writing for Salon, David Palumbo-Liu noted that Sen. Sanders “voted” for the resolution which actually passed without a vote.

His website also includes this news item:

Potential War Crimes in Gaza Fight The United Nation’s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, said Wednesday that there was a “strong possibility” that Israel and Hamas have committed war crimes with their indiscriminate attacks on civilians, The New York Times reported.


He is reported to have written this in a letter during the Israel-Hamas conflict in 2009:

Thank you very much for contacting me about the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza that resulted in the loss of hundreds of Palestinian lives. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you on this important issue.

As you know, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been of the world’s most difficult disputes over the last half century. The hatred, violence and loss of life that define this conflict make living an ordinary life a constant struggle for both peoples. This crisis not only endangers the Middle East but also creates enormous instability throughout the region and ultimately, the world.

Recently, this decades-old conflict spilled over once more as Israel launched a major military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in order to counter Palestinian rocket fire into its cities and, more broadly, to significantly weaken Hamas rule in Gaza. Tragically, the operation resulted in more than 1,200 Palestinian deaths, the majority of whom were civilians. Thirteen Israelis also lost their lives in the battle before both sides declared temporary cease-fires.

While I fully support Israel’s right to defend itself from the constant barrage of rockets Hamas fires into its homes and urban centers, I have strongly condemned the use of violence by either side as a means for achieving its goals. Leaders on both sides must recognize that the only solution to this conflict is thorough a political process that recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination and the right of Jews to a safe and secure homeland in Israel.

Unfortunately, the approach of the Bush administration over the last eight years has been one of disengagement from the conflict and complacency with the status quo. This approach has been shown to be not just ineffective, but detrimental to achieving the long-term goals each side seeks. Worse yet, the United States’ inaction on this issue has consistently been out of sync with our allies and has weakened the international coalition’s efforts to resolve this conflict.

That is why I wholeheartedly support the new Obama administration is its commitment to expand our diplomatic presence in the region and to take a more active role in facilitating negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian leadership. To that end, President Obama recently appointed Senator George Mitchell as a Special Envoy to the Middle East. I believe Senator Mitchell is uniquely qualified for this role due to his ability to listen to both sides in conflicts, his non-confrontational manner and his years of experience in negotiating peace agreements.

Moving forward, the United States must again be a leader in helping bring both sides together to negotiate a final status agreement. We must work with those Israeli and Palestinian leaders who are truly committed to peace, security and statehood rather than empty rhetoric and violence. We must also enlist the help of the United Nations and the international community to lend support for a two-track process that provides the Palestinians with a state of their own while ensuring the security of the Israeli people.

A two-state solution must include compromises from both sides to achieve a fair and lasting peace in the region. The Palestinians must fulfill their responsibilities to arrest terrorists, confiscate terrorists’ weapons, dismantle terrorist organizations, halt all anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement, and recognize Israel’s right to exist. In return, the Israelis must end their policy of targeted killings, prevent further Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, and prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Further, instead of being used as a political football, the Palestinians should be given the financial support of wealthy Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as the rest of the international community. Frankly, I have little respect for the leaders of wealthy Arab countries who express great concern about the plight of the Palestinians, while they put billions in Swiss bank accounts. Economic assistance is desperately needed to help create jobs and improve the desperately low standard of living that afflicts so many Palestinians.

I have long believed that one of the best antidotes to war and international tension are citizen exchange programs. In many instances, when people of different backgrounds get to know each other on a personal and human level, differences of opinion can be worked out or, at least, a mutual understanding can be established.

To that end, I was proud to sign a letter last year calling for $20 million in funding for the Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Reconciliation and Democracy Fund, which helps support “through Palestinian and Israeli organizations, the promotion of democracy, human rights, freedom of the press, and non-violence among Palestinians, and peaceful coexistence and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.” Included is $10 million for the People-to-People Exchange Program, which among other things, trains hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian teachers in peace education.

While I was in the U.S. House of Representatives, I was also very pleased to introduce and pass legislation that established the Arab-Israeli Peace Partners Program in Vermont. This program allocated $1.5 million over a two-year period to enable Arabs and Israelis to come to the United States to work together in our local communities, and develop ways to expand democracy and the peace process.

With the help of the United Nations and the international community, we must intensify our diplomatic efforts to bring peace to this embattled region. Rest assured, I will continue to support the Palestinian right to national sovereignty while at the same time ensuring the security of Israel. In addition, it is essential that we work toward improving human rights in the region and provide economic support if we are to achieve our political goals.


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Reply Bernie Sanders did not support the Senate agreement on Israel (Original post)
morningfog Jul 2014 OP
Autumn Jul 2014 #1
bigtree Jul 2014 #2
Chathamization Jul 2014 #4
Guy Whitey Corngood Jul 2014 #3

Response to morningfog (Original post)

Fri Jul 25, 2014, 11:05 AM

1. What??? Are you and Bernie saying anyone who says he did is

lying? Tell me it ain't so.


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Response to morningfog (Original post)

Fri Jul 25, 2014, 11:10 AM

2. all of that boils down to the same defense of Israel that folks are complaining about

. . . it's fine and good to admonish both sides for their violence. It's a correct admonition.

The thing that's missing is any recognition of Palestinian's right to self-defense. It's not enough for Israel to claim that every strike into Gaza represents a defense of their security. The law says that their targets must be a proportional response to whatever threat they face and that the utmost care must be taken to protect civilian lives.

The resolution is correct in its support of Israel's right to self-defense, but it isn't a blanket approval for any and all assaults on Gaza; although I'm sure some will regard it as such.

What people need to hear from someone who is considering leading America - or any of our legislators, for that matter - is some recognition of the Palestinian lives that are caught in the way of this religious and politically-charged violence. That's what's missing from Bernie Sander's rhetoric, and he's not alone in that omission.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #2)

Fri Jul 25, 2014, 12:29 PM

4. That’s the heart of it. Either the territories are part of an apartheid Israel, or they need to be

recognized as sovereign states under foreign military occupation, blockades and colonization. The issues regarding proportionality and civilian casualties are ones that probably should be dealt with in a larger context at some time (but never will be). The warring factions in the Levant aren’t alone in their acceptance of civilian deaths – look at Fallujah and Grozny, Shock & Awe, the fight against the Tamil Tigers, or drone strikes for only a few examples.

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Response to morningfog (Original post)

Fri Jul 25, 2014, 12:16 PM

3. K&R. nt

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