Democratic Candidates Pressed On Cutting Israel Aid

The Associated Press
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the J Street National Conference on Monday in Washington. (photo: The Associated Press)
Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg make the strongest statements linking human rights concerns to military aid to Israel.

By Jodi Rudoren  | The Forward |  Oct 28, 2019

‘If you want military aid, you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship’ to Gaza…adding that some aid money ‘should go right now into humanitarian aid in Gaza.’
— Senator Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidates diverged on Monday over the question of whether to condition United States military aid on Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, which activists at the annual J Street conference here in Washington seem to be trying to make something of a wedge issue in the crowded primary field.

In separate appearances before the conclave, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg said the $3.8 billion a year should indeed come with some strings attached, while Secretary Julian Castro said using the aid as a pressure tactic “wouldn’t be my first move” and Sen. Michael Bennet said he would want to carefully weigh the impact on domestic politics both here and in Israel.

Sanders, who won the strongest ovations from the packed convention hall, also went the furthest regarding conditioning aid, saying he would do so right away based on Israel’s restrictions on travel and trade in the Gaza Strip, where poverty and unemployment is sky high.

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