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Sanders Slams Israeli PM as ‘Reactionary Racist’

During Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, frontrunner Bernie Sanders said he would consider moving the US Embassy in Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv and described Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as a “reactionary racist.” While prefacing his comments by reiterating that in his youth he had briefly lived on a kibbutz, Sanders asserted, referring to the Israeli prime minister by his nickname: “What I happen to believe is that right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel, through Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country.” US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, and in May of the following year, he relocated the American embassy to the holy city. Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg weighed in, saying that reversing the embassy move would be unrealistic, whereas Elizabeth Warren punted. Sanders has come under fire for statements recently directed at the pro-Israel AIPAC lobbying group. Over the weekend, he said he would not attend the organization’s upcoming annual Washington policy conference due to “concern[s] about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.” In response, an AIPAC spokesperson issued a rare rebuke: “By engaging in such an odious attack on this mainstream, bipartisan [US] political event, Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel. Truly shameful.”