Bernie Sanders on the stump. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Sanders Enrages Jewish Voters with Charge of ‘Racist Governments’ in Israel

US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) touched off a maelstrom of angry reaction among pro-Israel voters Wednesday night when he spoke at a Las Vegas debate about “racist governments” in Israel. Although known for his frequent outbursts against incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, some pundits are reading the use of “governments” in the plural as an indictment of Israeli leadership that is far broader than Netanyahu and his coalition. His comment came in response to a question about a possible Sanders administration, saying: “To be for the Israeli people and to be for peace in the Middle East does not mean that we have to support right-wing, racist governments that currently exist in Israel.” Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, immediately responded to the Sanders attack, asserting: “Sanders says he supports the Israeli people, just not their democratic government. As it happens, the policies that Sanders calls racist are supported by all the major contenders to be the next Israeli prime minister and by the vast majority of Israeli voters, because they defend the basic national security needs of the Jewish state.”

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