Bernie Sanders slams Netanyahu's government as 'racist'

Bernie Sanders slams Netanyahu's government as 'racist'
© Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKamala Harris receives new Iowa endorsements after debate performance Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel Overnight Health Care: Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills | CDC confirms 47 vaping-related deaths | Massachusetts passes flavored tobacco, vaping products ban MORE (I-Vt.) on Monday decried the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE as racist, saying Jerusalem treats Palestinians "extremely unfairly."

Sanders, speaking at a CNN town hall, called the prime minister's coalition a "right-wing, dare I say racist, government."

But Sanders, who is vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, also defended his stance on the country, saying that he is not "anti-Israel," but believes that the United States needs to level the playing field in its relations with Middle Eastern countries. 

"I am not anti-Israel. But the fact of the matter is Netanyahu is a right-wing politician who I think is treating the Palestinian people extremely unfairly," Sanders said during a town hall event hosted by CNN.

"What I believe is not radical. I just believe that the United States should deal with the Middle East on a level playing field basis."

The comments came less than two weeks after Netanyahu managed to hold onto power following a close election.

During his town hall appearance on Monday, Sanders said that he had become more involved in U.S. foreign policy issues since his 2016 presidential bid, when he faced criticism for his failure to address global affairs and America's role on the international stage.

"Probably a few years ago I wouldn’t have been as involved as I recently have been," Sanders said. "I think a little bit more about foreign policy issues than I previously did."