Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to embarrass himself by making uninformed and false anti-Israel statements that seem to parrot radical left, BDS-style, Palestinian propaganda talking points. In many cases, Sanders’s objectionable comments expose his ignorance of foreign policy, especially regarding Israeli-Palestinian affairs.
Here are Sanders’s top 5 most ignorant statements about Israel, in no particular order.
1 – Israel killed “over 10,000 innocent people” during the 2014 Gaza War.
Sanders made the comments during an interview with the New York Daily News last week ahead of the New York primaries scheduled for April 19. They vastly inflate the number of Palestinians killed by Israel in during the 2014 Gaza War.
“I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza,” Sanders told the paper’s editorial board.
Here, Sanders actually outdoes Hamas’s own anti-Israel disinformation.
Israel and the Palestinians published different figures for the death toll of Operation Protective Edge, as Israel dubbed it, but both put the number of dead well below 2,500, including both civilians and militants. Israel says 1,408 of 2,203 Palestinians killed in the war were militants. Hamas claimed more than half were civilians.
When discussing civilian casualties, let’s remember that Palestinian militants use civilians as human shields and house their terrorist infrastructures in densely populated civilian areas.
Still, Israel goes beyond what many other countries do to protect civilians. The IDF regularly warns civilians of incoming attacks with phone calls and text messages. It further employs “roof knocking” – or firing warning shots before any aerial bombing. If civilians still don’t evacuate, the Israeli army often makes announcements on loudspeakers. The IDF has called off scores of military raids because civilians were in the way.
2 – Sanders accused Israel of a “disproportionate” response during the Gaza War.
“Was Israel’s response disproportionate? I think it was,” Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a pre-taped interview that aired Sunday on the network’s State of the Union program.
First, let’s not forget why the Gaza War was launched in the first place. Hamas repeatedly violated a truce by firing scores of rockets from Gaza into Israeli civilian population zones. In one day alone, July 8, Hamas launched 40 rockets into Israel, prompting Israeli retaliation and the start of the conflict.
What nation on earth would allow a terrorist army to amass a rocket infrastructure in a neighboring territory and use that land – which Israel evacuated in hope of peace – as a staging ground for constant terrorist rocket attacks?
And by calling Israel’s self-defense “disproportionate,” what exactly is Sanders advocating? That instead of acting to minimize the terrorist threat against its civilians, Israel should respond to every act of Palestinian terrorism with an equivalent act? So if Hamas fires a rocket into a Jewish city, Israel should therefore respond by indiscriminately launching a terror rocket into a Palestinian city with the intent of killing civilians? That the next time a Palestinian stabs an Israeli, the Jewish state should send one of its own into Ramallah to stab a Palestinian civilian?
Sanders’s statement is preposterous, nonsensical, and negates Israel’s ability to defend itself and degrade Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure.
In his CNN interview on Sunday, Sanders further exposed his own ignorance when he conceded that not only was he unware that Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., criticized him last week for his comments on the Gaza war; Sanders didn’t even know who Oren was.
CNN reported on the exchange:
Who is Mr. Oren?” Sanders asked, apparently unaware of Israel’s top diplomat to the U.S. during President Barack Obama’s first term.
“Michael Oren, the former ambassador of Israel to the United States. And now he’s a politician in Israel,” Tapper said.
“I see. And he’s attacking me for a statement I did not make,” Sanders said.
3 – Sanders claimed that Israel bombed “hospitals” during the Gaza war, implying that the Jewish state actually attacked civilian medical facilities.
During his Daily News interview, Sanders stated that Israel bombed “hospitals.”
“My understanding is that a whole lot of apartment houses were leveled. Hospitals, I think, were bombed. So yeah, I do believe and I don’t think I’m alone in believing that Israel’s force was more indiscriminate than it should have been,” Sanders said.
Sanders left out that the IDF bombed a wing of Gaza’s empty Al-Wafa Hospital, with the Israeli army saying the building was being used as a Hamas terrorist command center and a launching site for rockets. No casualties were reported in the bombing, and Israel first fired numerous warning shots and ensured that the building was entirely evacuated.
Haaretz reported at the time:
Israel bombed Gaza’s Al-Wafa Hospital from the air on Wednesday, saying it was being used as a Hamas command center and rocket-launching site.
The hospital was empty, after its patients and medical staff had left on July 17. Contrary to reports, militants had not been in the hospital before its evacuation.
The Israel Defense Forces said the strike was aimed at “specific terror targets within the hospital compound.” It said Hamas operatives had fired at IDF forces in recent days from the compound, using light weapons and anti-tank fire “which increased in recent hours, endangering our troops.”
Instead of blasting Hamas for using a hospital to house it’s terrorist infrastructure and a launching pad for rockets fired at Israel, Sanders mindlessly defamed the IDF and continued to expose his own stupidity on Mideast affairs.
4 – Sanders compared the democratic, pro-human rights, terrorist-condemning Israeli government and society to the anti-democratic, human rights abusing, terrorist-supporting Palestinian leadership, as well as Palestinian society in general, which is also mostly supportive of terrorism.
This gem was made in the speech he would have delivered had he attended last month’s annual convention of the pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The Sanders campaign released the text of the speech.
Sanders, the sole Jewish candidate in this year’s presidential elections and the first Jewish politician to ever win a presidential primary, was also the only presidential candidate not to speak at AIPAC’s conference.
“The truth is there are good people on both sides who want peace. And the other truth is there are despots and liars on both sides who benefit from continued antagonism,” said Sanders.
Which “despots” exactly exist on the Israeli side? Is he really comparing some members of the democratically-elected, human rights-supporting Israeli government to actual despots on the Palestinian side?
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has bypassed elections since 2007, ruling instead by enacting annual “emergency” decrees. His Fatah party’s official “military wing” is the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terrorist group, which is responsible for scores of murderous terror attacks. And the fascist Hamas leadership, which calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel, rules over a notoriously bloody tyranny in the Gaza Strip.
5- Sanders claimed Israel enforces an “economic blockade” of Gaza.
“Peace will also mean ending the economic blockade of Gaza,” his undelivered AIPAC speech states.
As I previously noted, here Sanders is outright echoing Hamas propaganda. There is no economic blockade of Gaza. In response to repeated rocket fire by Gazan terrorists aimed at nearby Israeli civilian population zones, Israel in 2007 imposed a land, air, and sea military blockade of Gaza to ensure that Hamas cannot bring more weapons and rockets into the coastal enclave. This was after Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 in hopes that the Palestinians would use the territory for peaceful means. Instead, the Gazans elected Hamas to power and the Strip was used as a launching ground for thousands of attacks on Israel.
Contrary to popular belief, all kinds and quantities of consumer goods can be imported into the Gaza Strip through border crossings with Israel. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs states “border crossings have a capacity of 800 trucks a day, in order to meet all of Gaza’s import demands. Every single day, about 550 truckloads of goods, carrying everything from foodstuffs to vehicles, pass into Gaza from Israel.”
The only import restrictions, the Ministry explains, involve “weapons and a list of dual-use items which can be used in the production of weapons and terrorist infrastructure. Dual-use items can be imported into Gaza subject to a security screening.”
Indeed, Hamas has been caught using imported concrete to build its terror tunnels. A single tunnel utilizes 500 tons of concrete or more.
Also contrary to popular belief, Gaza in modern times has never had a port capable of handling cargo ships; it has relied almost entirely on the transport of goods across the borders with Israel or Egypt.
Besides transporting goods, the Ministry documents:
Israel also supplies the Gaza Strip with millions of cubic meters of water every year and more than half of its electricity. In the beginning of March 2015, Israel announced that it was implementing plans to double the water supplied to Gaza, from 5 million to 10 million cubic meters of water annually (2.6 billion US gallons). These plans had been delayed by the Palestinian refusal to participate in Joint Water Committee meetings.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook