Israeli foreign minister rails against Sanders over 'horrifying comment' during debate

Israeli foreign minister rails against Sanders over 'horrifying comment' during debate
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Israel's foreign minister, Israel Katz, on Wednesday denounced Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan Google: Chinese and Iranian hackers targeting Biden, Trump campaigns MORE (I-Vt.) over the 2020 White House hopeful's comments about Jerusalem during the latest Democratic debate, labeling them "horrifying."

Sanders said during the debate Tuesday night that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE was a "reactionary racist." 

The senator added that he would consider returning the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Tel Aviv if he became president. Trump in 2018 moved the embassy to Jerusalem and officially recognized the city as the capital of Israel in a move that sparked outrage from Palestinians and proponents of a two-state solution in the region.

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“That remark is shocking,” Katz said in an interview with Army Radio on Wednesday, according to reports

He added that “we don’t intervene in the internal process in the United States," but said that Sanders had a history of deriding Israel and issues that its citizens consider sacred. 

“The remark by Sanders, who is of Jewish background, is his second against the state of Israel on topics that are at the core of Jewish belief, Jewish history and Israel’s security,” he said. "Naturally, people who support Israel will not support someone who goes against these things."

Sanders, the front-runner in the Democratic presidential race, has been a prominent critic of Israel and its policies. Ahead of the latest Democratic debate, he said that he would not attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference. In announcing his decision, Sanders blasted the pro-Israel lobbying group for providing a platform to “leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”

Asked about his remarks about AIPAC and Israel in the debate Tuesday night, Sanders said that he believes that U.S. foreign policy should be about "absolutely protecting the independence and security of Israel."

"But you cannot ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people,” he said. “We have got to have a policy that reaches out to the Palestinians.”

The remarks echo comments he made while speaking at the J Street conference in October, when he said that Israelis and Palestinians "have a right to live in peace and security."