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Monday, March 21, 2016 

No wonder Bernie Sanders avoided a pro-Israel conference

He gave a foreign policy speech that features far more alienation than appreciation:
Sanders has not spoke often of his heritage, his time in Israel or his views on the country now. Indeed, his speech Monday night in Salt Lake City represented some of his most extensive comments to date on the issue and they didn't feature many applause lines for AIPAC activists, who take a harder line on Israel than that articulated in his address.

"To my mind, as friends, we are obligated to speak the truth as we see it. This is what real friendship demands, especially in difficult times," Sanders said Monday, before calling for a renewal of the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

But he then delivered a stern speech -- and one with rare details -- criticizing Israeli settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip.

"Peace will require strict adherence by both sides to the tenets of international humanitarian law. This includes Israeli ending disproportionate responses to being attacked, even though any attack on Israel is unacceptable," Sanders said according to his prepared remarks.

Elsewhere he said, "It is absurd for elements within the Netanyahu government to suggest that building more settlements in the West Bank is the appropriate response to the most recent violence."

Those aren't all positions pro-Israel advocates embrace, but some would have still have liked to have heard them from the candidate in person. And several Jewish leaders and members of the audience said they were chagrined that he didn't come.

"It's certainly disappointing, and I think if Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and John Kasich can all show up, it's not clear why Bernie sanders couldn't fit it into his schedule," said Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union's Advocacy Center.

"I think it's a statement. I think it's hurtful to the Israel-supporting community and the Jewish community. It's a very significant statement and hurtful," said Rabbi Philip Scheim, incoming president of the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Jewish denomination.

While Sanders has expressed his support for Israel, Scheim said, "You have to demonstrate it more than state it."
I'm afraid the Democrat presidential candidate didn't demonstrate it at all. And if that's what he thinks, then as far as I'm concerned, he's rejected his heritage altogether by pandering to the wrong crowd. Whatever faults Donald Trump has, they can't be as terrible as what this man is expressing.

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