Read the speech Bernie Sanders planned to give to AIPAC

US Politics
on 53 Comments

Yesterday the Bernie Sanders campaign released the speech Sanders would have given to AIPAC had the presidential hopeful been allowed to show a pre-recorded message at the pro-Israel lobby’s annual policy conference:

Senator Bernard Sanders
Salt Lake City
Utah March 21, 2016

Let me begin that I have a deep personal connection to Israel – and I am fairly certain I am the only U.S. presidential candidate to have ever lived on a kibbutz for a while.
America and Israel are united by historical ties. We are united by culture. We are united by our values, including a deep commitment to democratic principles, civil rights, and the rule of law.

Israel is one of America’s closest allies, and we – as a nation – are committed not just to guaranteeing Israel’s survival, but alsoto its people’s right to live in peace and security.

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.

Our disagreements will come and go, and we must weather them constructively.

America and Israel have faced great challenges together. We have supported each other, and we will continue to do just that as we face one of the greatest challenges facing any country: resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I am here to tell you that, if elected president, I will work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to Israel. But to be successful, we have to be a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people, where in Gaza, they suffer from an unemployment rate of 44 percent – the highest in the world – and a poverty rate nearly equal to that. There is too much suffering in Gaza to be ignored.

The road towards peace will be difficult. We all know that. I cannot tell you exactly how it will look – I do not believe anyone can – but I believe firmly that the only prospect for peace is the successful negotiation of a two-state solution.

The first step in the road ahead is to set the stage for resuming the peace process through direct negotiations. This is no small task. It means building confidence on both sides, offering some signs of good faith, and then proceeding to talks when conditions permit them to be constructive.

This will require compromises on both sides, but I believe it can be done. I believe that Israel, the Palestinians, and the international community can, must, and will rise to do what needs to be done to achieve a lasting peace.

Peace will require the unconditional recognition by all of Israel’s right to exist. It will require an end to attacks of all kinds against Israel.

Peace will require that organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah renounce their efforts to undermine the security of Israel. It will require the entire world to recognize Israel.
Peace has to mean security for every Israeli from violence.

But peace also means security for every Palestinian. It means achieving self-determination, civil rights, and economic wellbeing for the Palestinian people.

Peace will mean ending what amounts to the occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed upon borders,and pulling back settlements in the West Bank, just as Israel did in Gaza – once considered an unthinkable move on Israel’s part.That’s why I join much of the international community, including the U.S. State Department and European Union, in voicing my concern that Israel’s recent expropriation of an additional 579 acres of land in the West Bank undermines the peace process and, ultimately, Israeli security as well.

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. It is also not acceptable that the Netanyahu government decided to withhold hundreds of millions of Shekels in tax revenue from the Palestinians, which it is supposed to collect on their behalf.

But, by the same token, it is unacceptable for President Abbas to call for the abrogation of the Oslo Agreement when the goal should be ending the violence.

Peace will also mean ending the economic blockade of Gaza. And it will mean a sustainable and equitable distribution of precious water resources so that Israel and Palestine can both thrive as neighbors. Right now, Israel controls 80 percent of the water reserves in the West Bank. Inadequate water supply has contributed to the degradation and desertification of Palestinian land. A lasting a peace will have to recognize Palestinians are entitled to control their own lives, and there is nothing human life needs more than water.

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.

We recently saw a dramatic example of just how important this idea is. In 2014, the decades-old conflict escalated once more as Israel launched a major military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli offensive came after weeks of indiscriminate rocket fire into its territory, and the kidnapping of Israel citizens.

Of course, I strongly object to Hamas’ long held position that Israel does not have the right to exist. Of course, I strongly condemned indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israeli territory, and Hamas’ use of civilian neighborhoods to launch those attacks. I condemn the fact that Hamas diverted funds and materials for much-needed construction projects designed to improve the quality of life of the Palestinian people, and instead used those funds to construct a network of tunnels for military purposes.

However, let me be very clear: I – along with many supporters of Israel – spoke out strongly against the Israeli counter attacks that killed nearly 1,500 civilians, and wounded far more. I condemned the bombing of hospitals, schools and refugee camps.

Today, Gaza is still largely in ruins. The international community must come together to help Gaza recover. That doesn’t mean rebuilding factories that produce bombs and missiles”, – but it does mean rebuilding schools, homes and hospitals that are vital to the future of the Palestinian people.

These are difficult subjects. They are hard to talk about both for many Americans, and for Israelis. I recognize that, but it is clear to me that the path to peace will require tapping into our shared humanity to make hard but just decisions.

I cannot tell you when peace will be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians. No one knows the exact order that compromises will have to be made to reach a viable two-state solution. But as we undertake that work together, America will continue its unwavering commitment to the safety of Israeli citizens and the country of Israel.

Of course, beyond the Palestinian question, Israel finds itself in the midst of a region in severe upheaval.

First, the so-called Islamic State – ISIS – threatens the securityof the entire region and beyond, including our own country and our allies. Secretary of State Kerry was right to say that ISIS is committing genocide, and there is no doubt in my mind that the United States must continue to participate in an international coalition to destroy this barbaric organization.

So far, this effort has had some important successes, as airstrikes have degraded ISIS’s military capacity, and the group has lost more than 20 percent of its territory in the past year.

But we are entering a difficult period in the campaign against ISIS.

The government in Baghdad has yet to achieve a sustainablepolitical order that unites Iraq’s various ethnic and sectarian factions, which has limited its ability to sustain military victoriesagainst ISIS. More inclusive, stable governance in Iraq will be vital to inflict a lasting defeat against ISIS. Otherwise, ISIS could regain its influence or another, similar organization may spring up in its place.

In Syria, the challenges are even more difficult. The fractured natured of the civil war has often diluted the fight against ISIS there – exemplified by the Russian airstrikes that prioritized hitting anti-Assad fighters rather than ISIS. And, just like in Iraq, ISIS cannot be defeated until the groups that take territory from ISIS can responsibly govern the areas they take back. Ultimately, that will require a political framework for all of Syria.

The U.S. must also play a greater role disrupting the financing of ISIS and efforts on the Internet to turn disaffected youth into the next generation of terrorists.

While the U.S. has an important role to play in defeating ISIS, it must be led by the countries in the region, some of whom have for too long not only turned a blind eye to violent extremism, but have encouraged and funded it. I agree with Jordanian King Abdullah who said this is nothing less than a battle for the soul of Islam and that the Muslim nations themselves will have to win it on the ground.

Now, I am not suggesting that Saudi Arabia or other states in the region invade other countries, nor unilaterally intervene in conflicts driven in part by sectarian tensions.

What I am saying is that the major powers in the region – especially the Gulf States – have to take greater responsibility for the future of the Middle East.

What I am saying is that countries like Qatar – which intends to spend up to $200 billion to host the 2022 World Cup – can do more to contribute to the fight Against ISIS. They have $200 billion to host a soccer event, yet have done very little to fight ISIS.

What I am saying is that countries in the region – like Saudi Arabia, which has the world’s 4th largest defense budget – has to dedicate itself more fully to the destruction of ISIS, instead of other military adventures like the one it is pursuing right now in Yemen.

And keep in mind that while a dangerous enemy, ISIS has only 30,000 fighters. So when we ask the nations in the region to stand up to do more against ISIS, we know it is surely within their capability to do.

The United States has every right in the world to insist on these points. Remember it was the United States that reinstalled the royal family in Kuwait after Saddam Hussein’s invasion in 1990– at the cost of American lives. And it was the United States that defended the Gulf States from further aggression from Iraq by keeping Saddam Hussein contained for over a decade.

But wealthy and powerful nations in the region can no longer expect the United States to do their work for them. We are not the policeman of the world. As we continue a strongly coordinated effort against ISIS, the United States and other western nations should be supportive of efforts to fight ISIS andal-Qaeda – but it is the countries in the region that have to stand up against these violently extremist and brutal organizations.

I realize that will not be easy. I realize that there are disagreements between different countries in the region about how ISIS should be dealt with. I realize different countries have different priorities. But we can help set the agenda and mobilize stronger collective action to defeat ISIS in a lasting way.

The second major challenge in the region is the Syrian Civil War itself – one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent history.

After five years of brutal conflict, the only solution in Syria is a negotiated political settlement. Those who advocate for stronger military involvement by the U.S. to oust Assad from power have not paid close enough attention to history. That would simply prolong the war, and increase the chaos in Syria, not end it.

I applaud Secretary Kerry and the Obama administration for negotiating a partial ceasefire between the Assad regime and most opposition forces. The ceasefire shows the value of American-led diplomacy, rather than escalating violence.

It is easy to use a war to remove a tyrant from power – but it is much more difficult to prevent total chaos afterward.

Just look at the cost we have paid in Iraq – a war I was proud to oppose. Just look at the chaos in Libya. It is my firm belief that the test of a great nation, with the most powerful military on earth, is not how many wars we can engage in, but how we can use our strength to resolve international conflicts in a peaceful way. Yes, the military option should always be on the table, but it should be the last resort. And the use of military force should always – always – have to pass a basic test: will it make America and our allies more safe?

The third major challenge in the region is Iran, which routinely destabilizes the Middle East and threatens the security of Israel.

Now, we all agree that Iran must not get a nuclear weapon.

Where we may disagree is how to achieve that goal. I personally supported the nuclear deal with the U.S., France, China, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran because I believe it is the best hope to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

I believe we have an obligation to pursue diplomatic solutions before resorting to military intervention – and more often than not, diplomacy can achieve things that military intervention cannot. That is why I supported the sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table and allowed us to reach an agreement.

But let me tell you what I firmly believe. The bottom line is this: if successfully implemented – and I think it can be – the nuclear deal will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And preventing Iran from getting the bomb makes the world a safer place.

Does the agreement achieve everything I would like? Of course not.

But to my mind, it is far better than the path we were on with Iran developing nuclear weapons and the potential for military intervention by the U.S. and Israel growing greater by the day.

I do not accept the idea that the “pro-Israel” position was to oppose the deal. Preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon will strengthen not only America’s security, but Israel’s securityas well. And I am not alone in that idea. While Prime Minister Netanyahu is vocally opposed to the accord, his is hardly a consensus opinion in Israel. Dozens of former security officials, including retired Army generals and chiefs of the Shin Bet and Mossad intelligence agencies support the agreement.

But let me be clear: if Iran does not live up to the agreement, we should re-impose sanctions and all options are back on the table.

Moreover, the deal does not mean we let Iran’s aggressive acts go unchecked. The world must stand united in condemningIran’s recent ballistic missile tests as well as its continued support for terrorism through groups like Hezbollah.

Going forward, I believe we need a longer-term vision for dealing with Iran that balances two important objectives.

First, we must counter the destabilizing behavior of Iran’s leaders. There is no question about that.

But, second, we must also leave the door open to more diplomacy to encourage Iranian moderates and the segments of the Iranian people – especially the younger generations – who want a better relationship with the West. While only a small step in the right direction, I was heartened by the results of the recent parliamentary elections in which Iranian voters elected moderates in what was, in part, a referendum on the nuclear deal.

I know that some say there is just no dealing with Iran – in any way at all – for the foreseeable future. After all, Iran is in a competition with Saudi Arabia and its allies for influence across the region. But a more balanced approach towards Iran that serves our national security interests should hardly be a radical idea. We have serious concerns about the nature of the Iranian government, but we have to honest enough to say that Saudi Arabia – a repressive regime in its own rite – is hardly an example of Jeffersonian democracy.

Balancing firmness with willingness to engage with diplomacy in dealing with Iran will not be easy. But it is the wisest course of action to help improve the long-term prospects of stability in the Middle East – and to keep us safe.

These are but some of the major issues where the interests of Israel intersect with those of the United States. I would address these issues and challenges as I would most issues – by having an honest discussion and by bringing people together.

There has a disturbing trend among some of the Republicans in this presidential election, and it takes the opposite approach: to divide us and pit us against each other. The Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, suggested limiting immigration according to religion and creating a national database based on religion. That not only goes against everything we stand for as a country, it would also hurt us significantly in our relations with other counties.

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53 Responses

  1. Kris
    March 22, 2016, 11:02 am

    Bernie Sanders gave this speech, which he would have given at AIPAC, in Utah yesterday; the video of Bernie’s full speech is provided in this article: http://commondreams.org/news/2016/03/22/what-sanders-would-have-told-aipac-which-he-talked-about-palestinian-rights .

  2. Emory Riddle
    March 22, 2016, 11:23 am

    “America and Israel are united by historical ties. We are united by culture. We are united by our values, including a deep commitment to democratic principles, civil rights, and the rule of law. ” Horse apples.

    “Israel is one of America’s closest allies…” The Big Lie.

    “and we – as a nation – are committed not just to guaranteeing Israel’s survival…” Why? Why us? What about the nations in the ME Israel is destroying? No commitments there?

    “Moreover, the deal does not mean we let Iran’s aggressive acts go unchecked. The world must stand united in condemning Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests as well as its continued support for terrorism through groups like Hezbollah.” Who wrote that for you, AIPAC? Vicious and dishonest.

    “First, we must counter the destabilizing behavior of Iran’s leaders. There is no question about that. ” You know what Bernie, go screw yourself, you racist warmongering de facto agent for Israel.

    How much longer do we have to listen to such crap?

    • echinococcus
      March 22, 2016, 11:51 am

      As long as our terminal patients need hopium for one election cycle after another. It’s hard to be harsh with them for skipping logic, really, after having been diddled for 40-50 years. Any proof that there is no hope will be disregarded.

    • hophmi
      March 22, 2016, 12:00 pm

      “What about the nations in the ME Israel is destroying? No commitments there?”

      Which nations in the ME is Israel destroying?

      “Vicious and dishonest”

      Iran isn’t supporting Hezbollah?

      “You know what Bernie, go screw yourself, you racist warmongering de facto agent for Israel.”

      Is Iran paying you?

      • Marnie
        March 22, 2016, 12:34 pm

        Is the shin bet paying you?

      • Emory Riddle
        March 22, 2016, 1:47 pm

        Which nations in the ME is Israel destroying?

        It has destroyed Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Lebanon and, via the installation of violent repressive leaders, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon.

        With Iran still in their sights

        All done, of course, by using the USA military and politicians to dirty their hands. Israel does none of the heavy lifting with the exception of the Palestinians, who have no military, and Lebanon in the summer of 2006

        hophmi — Do you really need me to tell you this? Oh. Wait. You are just doing to deny the established facts. So it’s really not ignorance, it is purposeful denial.

    • jaspeace2day
      March 22, 2016, 5:12 pm

      …until we overturn citizens united, take back the media, prosecute bush, cheney, rumsfeld, et al and so on. But took heart in the great interview today on democracynow.org with Amy, Yousef Munayyer and some cracker-jack box degree visiting professor to Johns Hopkins (BIG mistake by them). Anyways, Yousef hands him ass on a shekel platter…a must watch.
      http://www.democracynow.org/2016/3/22/yousef_munayyer_attacks_in_brussels_paris

      • RockyMissouri
        March 23, 2016, 9:03 am

        Yousef and Amy are treasures.

  3. QLineOrientalist
    March 22, 2016, 12:28 pm

    This is way more sensible than anything coming out of the American mainstream. It’s not perfect by a long shot. But if we look past the required pro-Israel palaver, the specific objectives are quite good.

    And consider the contribution he’s making to grappling with the far more explosive and dangerous crisis in Syria and Iraq. This is also quite good. The problem here is that there is, frankly, no solution to this disaster.

    Thanks, Phillip, for posting this. Sadly, if it wasn’t for you, I’d never have heard about this.

    A friend of mine sent me the sound file for those who are interested:
    https://soundcloud.com/debhenry/bernie-sanders-speech-rally-salt-lake-city-march-21-2016

    • JWalters
      March 23, 2016, 6:29 pm

      “This is way more sensible than anything coming out of the American mainstream.”

      I agree. It’s definitely moving the mainstream discussion forward. Israel’s media establishment in America will do everything they can to make sure most Americans never hear any of these points. Mentioning the Nakba, for example, is NEVER allowed; Nakba-denial is required.

  4. Froggy
    March 22, 2016, 12:33 pm

    However, let me be very clear: I – along with many supporters of Israel – spoke out strongly against the Israeli counter attacks that killed nearly 1,500 civilians, and wounded far more. I condemned the bombing of hospitals, schools and refugee camps.

    Today, Gaza is still largely in ruins. The international community must come together to help Gaza recover. That doesn’t mean rebuilding factories that produce bombs and missiles”, – but it does mean rebuilding schools, homes and hospitals that are vital to the future of the Palestinian people.

    Lessee now…

    – Sanders points out that Israel launched attacks that killed nearly 1,500 civilians, and wounded far more.

    – Sanders goes on to condemn the Israeli bombing of hospitals, schools, and refugee camps.

    – Yet Sanders is opposed to the Palestinians being able to defend themselves against the Israeli terrorist state, since that would require the ‘building of factories that produce bombs and missiles’.

    – Sanders goes on to urge the international community to come together to help Gaza recover, which would require the rebuilding of schools, homes and hospitals which he claims are vital to the future of the Palestinian people.

    Why should the EU build anything at all? So Israel can continue to use these schools, homes, hospitals, and other peaceful projects for target practice?

    Israel Seizes Palestinian Land — Thumbs Nose at Europe by Destroying Aid Structures
    http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/331156/israel-seizes-palestinian-land-thumbs-nose-at-europe-by-destroying-aid-stru/

    Israel causes $66 million worth of damage to EU-funded aid projects
    https://electronicintifada.net/content/israel-causes-66-million-worth-damage-eu-funded-aid-projects/11130

    Israel destroys EU-funded structures in West Bank
    https://euobserver.com/tickers/131947

    Israeli bulldozers destroy EU-funded shelters in East Jerusalem
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-bulldozers-destroy-eu-funded-shelters-east-jerusalem-184605262

    Compensation calls as Israel seizes EU-funded aid projects
    http://www.euractiv.com/section/development-policy/news/compensation-calls-as-israel-seizes-eu-funded-aid-projects/

    Palestinian families homeless as Israeli military demolishes West Bank houses
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/02/palestinian-families-homeless-as-israeli-military-demolishes-west-bank-houses

    Israel dismantles Dutch-funded West Bank farming project

    ‘The Israeli army dismantled a Dutch-funded project on the West Bank of the Jordan river. The project is an agricultural project in which the Netherlands put 10 million euros, Israel correspondent Jan Franke told BNR.

    The project involved teaching Palestinians how to use the land for growing their crops. The entire project, including tools and sheds, was dismantled. According to diplomats, the dismantling was done as revenge – Israel is upset that the EU wants to put special labels on products from Israeli settlements.

    Not much can be done against the Israeli’s decision to dismantle the project, Franke said to the broadcaster. “There are many EU aid projects on the West Bank.” he said. “And essentially all the projects and and initiatives exist at the mercy of the Israeli army. They have the control there. If they say: ‘We are going to dismantle, this is not allowed’, then you stand there empty handed.”’

    http://www.nltimes.nl/2016/02/29/israel-dismantles-dutch-funded-west-bank-farming-project/

    Yes, Gaza is largely in ruins. And whose fault is that?

    Sanders supports the terrorist state of Israel, which makes him a bigger hypocrite than either Trump and Clinton.

    • Emory Riddle
      March 22, 2016, 1:47 pm

      Nicely done Froggy

      • Froggy
        March 22, 2016, 2:37 pm

        Thank you. It isn’t as good as your message though (March 22, 2016, 11:23 am).

        Of course, Sanders could demand that both Israel and Palestine disarm, which would mean that neither country would need bombs, missiles, fighter planes, and guns. Do you think Israel would agree?

    • Misterioso
      March 23, 2016, 10:23 am

      Bingo!!!

  5. klm90046
    March 22, 2016, 2:04 pm

    Given the pathetic state of our politics, even half-truths should be looked on with satisfaction. While four “presidential” candidates were falling over one another and their mothers-in-law to shamelessly ingratiate themselves with this Israeli mafia, Bernie at least had the courage to stay away and to utter some half-truths.

    • echinococcus
      March 22, 2016, 3:38 pm

      Just so. You’re correct, it should be looked on with satisfaction.

      Not enough of a reason to call us to vote for a Zionist, though, or a Demolican, as BS is both. Give him a brownie point and proceed to do the right thing.

      • kalithea
        March 22, 2016, 7:56 pm

        Give him a brownie point and proceed to do the right thing.

        What is the right thing echino, do tell?

        I’m going to dog you on this one until you come clean.

      • echinococcus
        March 23, 2016, 1:11 am

        There’s no dogging at all, Kalithea: I keep saying it, don’t vote the single party is the priority. Vote third party if there is a decent program or just don’t vote. Who cares about numbers if the result is a predictable disaster,?
        Meanwhile continue to work to bring down that single party dictatorship, so strongly supported, nay revived by Mr. BS. Especially considering that this is is a Palestinian resistance solidarity site and he is a Zionist from the most dangerous faction.

      • Boo
        March 23, 2016, 9:51 am

        “Just don’t vote” is part of the problem, not the solution. Politics is wet work. A battleship can’t be turned 180 degrees in its own length. Any solution will be incremental, and to decline the privilege of voting because on one issue — albeit a major one — we don’t have any perfect candidates is to perpetuate the problem IMO.

      • rugal_b
        March 23, 2016, 10:11 am

        @Boo, what’s wrong with not voting if you believe the system itself is irreparably broken? Where you are not convinced that your vote will lead to anything concrete and measurable. Would a Palestinian given the opportunity, participate in voting within the Israeli democratic framework?

      • echinococcus
        March 23, 2016, 11:57 am

        You may want to soothe yourself with the illusion that you are turning a battleship around, inch by painful inch. Have a lot of fun with that thought.

        There is no battleship (of course there are a lot of them in the budget), there is no course on the water and there is no turn to be effected –it’s all a very ill-fitting metaphor for a situation that is in your mind, not in mine.

        You are perfectly free to assent with your own hands to getting screwed, or to pretend keeping a decent façade while encouraging imperialism in its “lite” form, or just pretend not to know that your lesser-evil voting only perpetuates what the religious people call evil. Just don’t tell me what I can do and not do, and don’t insult other people’s intelligence talking of “perfect / imperfect” about a goddam imperialist candidate!

        It’s not as if all of a sudden a decent, democratic US republic were suddenly becoming fascist, and all well-intentioned people were forming a popular front with the workers or some such thing out of a history book. We’re already in the muck –more won’t even make a difference.

        A very interesting observation today in counterpunch:
        http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/21/election2016theydontownyourvote/

        Wait, now I see it’s already disappeared (some other compulsory vote-pusher?)

        So I’ll copy most of it here –it’s short.
        ———————————————–
        Election 2016: They Don’t Own Your Vote

        Posted By Thomas Knapp On March 21, 2016 @ 1:30 am

        With large blocs of Republican and Democratic voters vowing to abandon their parties rather
        than vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in November — and in the GOP, even some
        party establishment figures mulling an alternative ticket if Trump takes the nomination — the
        “wasted vote” argument is peaking earlier than usual this year.

        We hear it every election cycle, all cycle long, but the heat wave of patronizing rhetoric
        usually crests in early October as the poll numbers of third party and independent candidates
        evaporate beneath its glow. It goes something like this:

        “A vote for anyone but the Republican is a vote for the Democrat!”

        “A vote for anyone but the Democrat is a vote for the Republican!”

        “A vote for any candidate but my candidate is a vote for the candidate who’s worse than my
        candidate!”

        “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!”

        “Don’t be a spoiler!”

        “Don’t waste your vote!”

        The subtext of this line of campaign propaganda is actually pretty ugly. The people telling
        you to vote for a candidate you don’t prefer rather than for the candidate you do prefer are
        telling you that your vote really belongs to the candidate THEY prefer. Third party and
        independent candidates “steal” their votes from the big dogs, with you, the voter, as their
        accomplice.

        Seems pretty arrogant when you look at it that way, doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t just seem
        that way. It IS that way.

        I suppose there’s a case to be made for strategic voting. If I think that Candidate A is just a
        wee little bit not as bad as Candidate B, I might decide to vote for Candidate A instead of
        Candidate C who “can’t win.”

        Or maybe not.

        Maybe I’d rather vote for what I want instead of voting against what I fear.

        Maybe I’d rather not vote at all than choose from among a gang of grifters I wouldn’t leave
        alone in a room with my wallet or my daughter, let alone the codes used to arm nuclear
        missiles.

        The candidates don’t own your vote. The parties don’t own your vote. Until you cast your
        ballot and give that vote to the candidate or party of YOUR choice, it’s YOURS, not THEIRS.
        Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Not now, not in November, not ever. Vote your own
        conscience and let the chips fall where they may.

  6. Ossinev
    March 22, 2016, 2:15 pm

    Meanwhile back in the Land of Desecration by video link the real American Commander in Chief is laying down the line for the outgoing and incoming American Puppet President:
    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.710344

    He decided not to travel to the AIPAC Elders meet in person – a decision which raised eyebrows. Was it to avoid meeting Obama or increasingly likely to avoid meeting Donald T. ?Probably the latter as he would have done his usual I am the real boss in the USA peacock strut may have said something which upset Trumpy and had his lights punched out in words or indeed in action in return. What a delicious thought.

    Any road up the Yahoo has made it clear what his American minions must do so nothing much has changed in the Zionist scheme of things – the so called greatest power on earth being controlled and directed by a tiny little Fascist cult colony in the Middle East.

    Americans should feel so proud and honoured that Zionists have chosen them as their favoured Untermensch.

  7. bryan
    March 22, 2016, 3:10 pm

    The most honest, transparent and realistic assessment I have ever heard from a US politician, but still many here are dissatisfied. Perhaps not perfect but this moves the debate hugely forward, and give credit where credit is due for such an approach.

  8. Mdtrudeau
    March 22, 2016, 3:29 pm

    “However, let me be very clear: I – along with many supporters of Israel – spoke out strongly against the Israeli counter attacks that killed nearly 1,500 civilians, and wounded far more.” —Bernie Sanders

    Far from true. Bernie consented to Senate Resolution 498 at the very height of the Israeli attacks, a resolution giving Israel the OK to continue its crimes. To speak out strongly against Israel’s attacks would mean speaking out when and where it most matters—on the Senate floor against a resolution supporting Israel’s actions.

  9. David Doppler
    March 22, 2016, 3:38 pm

    Not much coverage for this speech, except Mother Jones. Bernie’s on a different page than MSM & AIPAC, the latter of which got what it wanted from both HRC & DJT. Will it matter?

    For MW to truly get its wish for a full debate, Bernie will need to overcome Hillary’s lead, and make this a point of key difference between them, and then with Trump, who seems to be working to get the establishment moving behind him.

    Trump’s pandering to the worst of the Republican bigoted right wing may evaporate now as he starts to focus on beating Hillary.

  10. jalp
    March 22, 2016, 4:17 pm

    Begging everyone’s pardon, but this is a speech to a friendly campaign audience in Utah, not a statement to AIPAC. I would still like to read the actual statement Sanders provided to AIPAC, to see if it differs from this (and, if it does, how).

    • Citizen
      March 22, 2016, 4:34 pm

      Yeah, the remarks he wrote to the head of AIPAC, promising to deliver it yesterday.

    • WH
      March 22, 2016, 6:01 pm

      It’s supposedly identical.

      • jalp
        March 23, 2016, 11:37 am

        Supposedly, yes — and maybe actually as well. And it shouldn’t be hard to compare the text of the Utah speech with the text of the written statement to AIPAC — once we can see them both.

    • Kris
      March 22, 2016, 8:15 pm

      You think that Sanders sent a different statement to AIPAC? This is how Bernie Sanders began the speech in Utah:

      I was invited along with other presidential candidates to be at the AIPAC conference in Washington, but obviously I could not make it because we are here.

      The issues that AIPAC is dealing with are very important issues and I wanted to give the same speech here as I would have given if we were at that conference.

      Let me begin by saying that I think I am probably the only candidate for president who has personal ties with Israel. I spent a number of months there when I was a young man on a kibbutz, so I know a little bit about Israel……… https://berniesanders.com/sanders-outlines-middle-east-policy/

      AIPAC refused to let Bernie Sanders give his speech to them via video; didn’t they at least distribute copies of Sanders’ speech at the conference?

      • Kris
        March 22, 2016, 8:40 pm

        The New York Times and Haaretz both say that this is the text of the speech Bernie Sanders would have given AIPAC, and Bernie Sanders on his website says the same thing.

        http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/art-of-the-anecdote-presidential-candidates-speeches-to-aipac/?_r=0

        http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.710219

        https://berniesanders.com/sanders-outlines-middle-east-policy/

      • jalp
        March 23, 2016, 11:34 am

        I’ve seen the text of the Utah speech posted on the Sanders campaign site, and I agree that the speech includes a statement that it’s what he would have said if he’d been allowed to speak by remote. And I don’t *know* that it’s any different — but, with respect, we also don’t *know* that it’s the same. If the written statement he provided to AIPAC were released, we would *know*.

        As I’ve said in comments on other articles elsewhere on this topic, though I am a Green and will be voting Green in November, I welcome the comparatively reasonable (admittedly faint praise, given the mainstream “competition”) elements of Senator Sanders’s campaign speech to a friendly audience in Utah — while waiting to see what he said in his written statement directly to AIPAC. Did he say exactly the same things? Did he try to phrase them more diplomatically, or take a more tough-love approach? Did he say anything substantially different? I hope he will answer these questions soon, by releasing this statement. (I suppose they might also be answered if someone else released it — an AIPAC official, for example — but I hope the Sanders campaign will do it.)

      • jalp
        March 23, 2016, 12:05 pm

        The question at the end of your above comment, Kris, is a question I too would like answered. I remember that his letter to AIPAC asked them to do that. Has anyone seen anything on whether or not they did?

  11. Pauline
    March 22, 2016, 6:54 pm

    #BernieSanders was the only Democratic or Republican presidential candidate who had the guts to stiff AIPAC, though the speech he would have given falls far short of what he should have said; he should have called Israel an outlaw #apartheid regime engaged in #genocide in #Gaza. That being said, his call for an end to Israel’s illegal siege of Gaza makes him unique among big party presidential candidates & puts him light years ahead of #HillaryClinton, who has openly endorsed Israeli occupation, apartheid & genocide as she positions herself as the candidate of the Zionist killing machine. If the choice is between the mealy-mouthed moderate Bernie & the right-wing Zionist neocon Republican Hillary, I’ll take Mr. Milquetoast over Killary any day~!

  12. xanadou
    March 22, 2016, 9:36 pm

    Of all the speeches given by the candidates, sen. Sanders’ would have been the most classy and reflecting of his aspired-to position, i.e., that of the First Diplomat.

    Diplomacy, when exercised for the benefit of a public that comprises the full spectrum of political expectations, when one considers that some spoken words resonate far beyond the original venue, that speech has to be balanced to the point of near-blandness, yet substantial enough to merit attention. And that is what sen. Sanders’ accomplished, without stooping to pandering to the immediate audience and offending the intelligence of the greater numbers at-large.

    What sen. Sanders has conveyed, unlike the rest of the glorified whores (with no offence to sex workers intended) at the AIPAC podium, is his understanding of the desperate situation of the Palestinians and the mess that is the ME, in the most concise terms possible, considering the occasion. This is just a speech, not a legislative session with consequences.

    At the other end of the spectrum was Gideon Levy (at the conference on Israel’s influence) who is not bound by diplomatic rules, but those of a journalist:

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=15920

  13. TonyG
    March 22, 2016, 10:28 pm

    It is far from adequate, to be sure, but this speech goes further than any US major party presidential candidate has ever gone in criticizing Israel. Bernie deserves at least partial credit for that: http://tony-greco.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1141&action=edit.

  14. Kay24
    March 22, 2016, 11:09 pm

    Whether you agree with some things he said or not, Bernie Sanders seems to be the only politician who has referred to the suffering of the Palestinians, and that they are important to the entire dynamics of this situation. Who else has spoken like they matter, or mentioned their suffering? NONE of the other candidates have shown that the Palestinians matter, are long suffering people, nor have have the mentioned the word “occupation” or “land grabs”. It seems they live in a twilight zone, where the crimes of Israel never happened, nor does it warrant criticism. They all belong to the “Israel right or wrong” bandwagon.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 22, 2016, 11:25 pm

      i highly recommend the #IDCaucus hashtag right now, it’s amazing — and huge crowd, largest in US history and overwhelmingly for sanders: https://twitter.com/hashtag/idcaucus?f=tweets&vertical=default&src=hash

    • echinococcus
      March 23, 2016, 12:50 am

      That’s right, he belongs to a different Zionist bandwagon, that of the JStreet-Labor types who are for saving Zionism by pretending to establish Bantustans in order to keep their conquests. We know that already.
      Tell him to keep his goddam charity and empathy for the “suffering” while he continues the same old under a “human” mask. Palestinian resistance is calling for justice, not colonial charity.

      • xanadou
        March 23, 2016, 6:54 pm

        Perhaps you are right, but even a “goddam charity and empathy for the suffering” would be a first step in the right direction since the Naqba, by a POTUS, if sen. Sanders is elected. Amidst the cacophony of despicable words and deadly guns, this “colonial charity” could create a psychological precedent by offering the world a different perspective of the kind never to-date availed by the pols and mainstream media.

        The growing stream of widely dispersed negative pictures and comments coming out of the hell that is contemporary Israel have a fair chance to come together as a mighty roar according to the old adage “from small beginnings come great things”, no? But this would also require a stepped up effort by us, the Righteously Indignant, who have been championing the cause of the Palestinians for some time.

        Decades ago rep. Paul Findley –
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Findley
        – numbered among the very few to see the light of truth in his time, but his efforts were not entirely futile. One of his books (sorry, forgot the title) was the first source that ripped the scales off my eyelids. We owe him and Chomsky and a number of others to see that their efforts are carried to an equitable fruition. N’est-ce pas?

        The greatest bonus for the world, if this were to come about, would be to calm the out of control and growing storm that is contemporary ME. The sooner the better, with or without Israeli participation, if the latter has plans for the future regarding its present location.

      • echinococcus
        March 23, 2016, 10:35 pm

        Xanadou,

        You may be right about being heard more widely. What BS presented, though, is the Zionist Bloc plan. Looking at all the elements of it, he is proposing to apply (only the Palestinian side of ) long-dead Oslo, go back to total immobility under the name of “negotiatin” about negotiations ad infinitum with a Zionist puppet admin, do some cosmetic improvement perhaps to water distribution, flatten all resistance pitilessly to continue domination with more of an iron grip, while ensuring the full collaboration of the West and calling off any tentative solidarity with Palestinians anywhere in the West (because it’s all hunky-dory now and “we are negotiating.”) Mind you, the periodic massacres will go on (because, as BS says, any resistance is inadmissible.)
        This is exactly what he outlined: the Herzog or Zionist Bloc plan. I see it as much deadlier than the current openly fascist regime, which at least creates reaction.

    • Mary T
      March 23, 2016, 6:23 pm

      Thank you, Kay24. Exactly what I think. While what Bernie said is woefully inadequate, I’m pathetically grateful for what he DID say.

  15. Roberto
    March 23, 2016, 9:20 am

    Disappointingly soft on Israel

  16. James Canning
    March 23, 2016, 12:58 pm

    Is Bernie Sanders saying that Israel for its own sake must end the occupation of the West Bank?

  17. inbound39
    March 23, 2016, 6:35 pm

    There is absolutely no point Bernie or any other politician looking for sympathy for Israel because it lives in a region experiencing much upheaval. Israel is directly responsible for causing much of that upheaval. It has a policy of causing division amongst its neignbours in order to weaken them. Like in Syria,Iraq,Lebanon,Sudan,and to a lesser extent in Egypt and Turkey. It does so by arming rebel groups and helps in setting them up and giving them intelligence information and giving medical aid to them. Peace can happen the minute Israel ceases operating nefariously outside its borders and remains within its declared borders. It was globally RECOGNISED on those borders. The Arab Peace Plan RECOGNISES Israels right to exist and live in Peace. It is Israel has chosen to reject ALL attempts at Peace. Hamas is a legitimate Resistance group fighting against the Israeli Occupation and constant war crimes Israel commits against Palestinians such as collective punishement,illegal settlement of Palestinian Territory and misapropriation of Palestinian Land and water resources. If Israel does not like rockets and being attacked then it needs to withdraw to within its legal borders. Until then it can shut up and put up with all the negative aspects of the crapola it created.

  18. Rashers2
    March 24, 2016, 12:17 am

    “If Israel does not like rockets and being attacked then it needs to withdraw to within its legal borders. Until then it can shut up and put up with all the negative aspects of the crapola it created.” As a conclusion to a valid comment about Israel’s regional machinations and the Genesis of the resistance it encounters, I couldn’t’ve expressed this better; so I shan’t try. Thank you.

  19. xanadou
    March 24, 2016, 12:28 am

    Echinococcus,

    For now, and in the absence of anyone else who is not an outright, uncritical panderer, I need to believe that the Palestinians’ nightmare may end before the savage hordes that comprise the israeli army and settler gangs, will escalate the deadly rampages into hekatombs. Sanders, and even the Jstreet zionists must understand that the bloodthirsty vampires are a danger not only to themselves and the world Jewry, but also the people of the Western world who are seen to be responsible for creating this monster.

    Between the snub by AIPAC and the massive support by the growing number of voters who want to see the senator win the elections and who respond so enthusiastically to his comments, inter alia, about Israeli actions and Palestinian suffering, by being able to say this without being castigated as a self-hating Jew. by repeating those sentiments during his many speeches, all this may have a psychological effect on his subconscious mind and allow him to become more bold. By his position, marriage to a non-Jew (anathema in Israel), and by spending so much time among real people, not the DC replicants, the senator may yet see the light. It will also depend on, if elected, on who will be invited to work with his administration.

    Perhaps I’m delusional, but the stories and images of the unconscionable savagery perpetrated daily in fascist Israel will haunt well into the distant future harming the generations who will not be born for long time to come.

  20. jalp
    March 24, 2016, 1:13 pm

    Re: echinococcus 11:57am 2016-03-23 . . . CounterPunch still has that article available; it’s here:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/21/election-2016-they-dont-own-your-vote/

    Maybe it just fell off the recent-articles list in the right-hand column?

    • echinococcus
      March 24, 2016, 3:32 pm

      Thanks, Jalp. It was completely gone and the saved link didn’t bring anything. Strange.

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