The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) Tuesday slammed Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders after he threatened to use US foreign aid to Israel as leverage to pressure the Israeli government to do things differently. Sanders issued his warning about cutting aid to Israel during a recent interview, in which he also maintained that “our policy cannot just be pro-Israel, pro-Israel, pro-Israel,” and referred to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government as an “extreme right-wing government with many racist tendencies.”

Sanders’ threat to slash aid to Israel comes despite the fact that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in 2016, in which the US pledged to provide Israel with $3.8 billion in security assistance annually for a term of ten years. The aid is primarily spent in the US for military equipment, and the funds being spent are in the United States’ national security interest.

“In addition to openly bullying a stalwart ally of the United States in a shameless attempt to coerce Israel to accede to his political will, Senator Sanders is effectively threatening to rip up a written commitment that was made by President Obama to the people of Israel,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss. “Unlike the Palestinian Authority, which squanders its foreign aid on glorifying terrorism and inciting violence, Israel uses its foreign aid to sustain its qualitative military edge and defend itself against the existential threats that it faces on a daily basis.”

“By flippantly suggesting that he would cut US aid to Israel, Senator Sanders is completely disregarding the safety and security of every single Israeli citizen,” Weiss added. “Making political threats intended to score political points without taking the time to comprehend the potentially catastrophic effects of your actions is risky and reckless. We hope that Senator Sanders will reconsider his position and reaffirm the United States’ critical financial pledge to Israel.”

“Senator Sanders’ latest anti-Israel comments come in the wake of his troubling vote against a bill that opposed the anti-Semitic BDS movement and which was supported by a bipartisan majority of the Senate, as well as his abject failure as a Jewish Member of Congress to speak up and denounce the anti-Semitic statements of Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib,” Weiss noted. “Instead of embracing Members of Congress who use anti-Semitic tropes without inhibition, Senator Sanders should decry their bigotry and spotlight the grave danger posed by anti-Semitism.”

 

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