On Monday, April 11, 2016, I went to Jerusalem’s Zion Square to ask Israelis for their thoughts on Bernie Sanders, the Jewish-American presidential candidate.
No anti-Zionist himself, Sanders said this week that he would take a “more balanced position” while guaranteeing Israel’s security. Last week, he called Israel’s use of force in the 2014 assault on Gaza “disproportionate” and said that “a lot of innocent people were killed who should not have been killed.”
Last week, Sanders confused the number of Palestinians injured with those killed in Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, saying, “I happen to believe … anybody help me out here, because I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right?”
Despite qualifying his estimate, which was quickly corrected by his interviewer, Sanders was attacked by prominent Israel supporters and Hillary Clinton. Israeli Member of Knesset and former American accused Sanders Michael Oren of advancing a “blood libel,” and by MK Yair Lapid said he is promoting Hamas “propaganda and deception.” The Anti-Defamation League demanded that Sanders correct his misstatement.
Nearly all of the Israelis I spoke to had strong dislike for Sanders, and many disparaged him, even disqualifying him as a Jew.
Interestingly, that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had less support than Sanders, despite her pandering to American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) where she pledged to take the US-Israel relationship to the “next level.” Still polls show that Israelis prefer Clinton to Sanders and that Clinton and Donald Trump are tied in the race for president.