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  • 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders participates in the She the People Presidential Forum in Houston

    2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders participates in the She the People Presidential Forum in Houston

Published 1 May 2019

"We condemn statements like that made by Sanders, which was really strange," Tzachi Hanegbi, a minister in Netanyahu's outgoing cabinet and senior member of his conservative Likud party, told Israel's Reshet 13 TV.

An Israeli cabinet minister condemned U.S. Democratic Party presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Tuesday for describing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government as racist over its treatment of Palestinians.

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Sanders, who previously stated that he is "100 percent pro-Israel" attacked Netanyahu after he was reelected to the premiership. 

"The goal must be to try to bring people together and not just support one country, which is now run by a right-wing, dare I say, racist government,” Sanders said, adding that Netanyahu "is treating the Palestinian people extremely unfairly".

The Vermont Senator has received some backlash for his comments, especially from the Israeli government itself.

"We condemn statements like that made by Sanders, which was really strange," Tzachi Hanegbi, a minister in Netanyahu's outgoing cabinet and senior member of his conservative Likud party, told Israel's Reshet 13 TV. "The Israeli government is not a racist government, nor does it include a single racist minister."

"To be right wing is not illegitimate and it is odd that the Democratic Party allows one of its senior members to not respect the democratic choice of the State of Israel." Hanegbi cast his own remarks as specific to Sanders rather than any more generalized criticism of the Democratic Party.

Asked whether Israel risked being seen in the United States as a country championed by Republicans, he said: "We make every effort to avoid this danger because, indeed one of Israel's greatest advantages over all the years was the ability not to get caught up in the political dispute between the parties."

Historically, Israel has worked to maintain bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans, while often avoiding domestic issues between the two parties. 

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