samedi 6 mai 2017

Bernie Sanders throws Palestinians under the bus

Bernie Sanders jette les Palestiniens aux lions



Senator Bernie Sanders, right, is embraced by Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez at a party rally in Mesa, Arizona, 21 April. (Gage Skidmore)

A majority of Democrats now backs economic sanctions or tougher action on Israel over its continued colonization of occupied Palestinian land, a University of Maryland poll revealed this week.

But progressive Democrats cannot count on a single member of the US Senate to stand firm for Palestinian rights: not Patrick Leahy, not Kamala Harris and not “progressive” firebrand Elizabeth Warren.

Even Bernie Sanders has caved in to pressure from AIPAC.

His signature appears with those of all 99 of his Senate colleagues on a 27 April letter reaffirming key talking points of the powerful Israel lobby group.

The diverse coalition Sanders brought together will be jeopardized if he thinks Palestinians can be thrown under the bus with no reaction.

The letter, addressed to the UN secretary-general, claims absurdly that Israel is being picked on and singled out by the world body – even though Israel has flouted international law and UN resolutions for decades without ever once being subjected to UN sanctions.

It also smears UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, whose overstretched resources mean the difference between subsistence and hunger for a million Palestinians in Gaza, which has been under a decade-long Israeli siege.

The attack on the refugee agency, which also provides education and medical care to millions, is part of a long-standing agenda by Israel and its surrogates to defund it in the apparent reckless hope of removing the rights of Palestinian refugees from the international agenda once and for all.
Betraying the base

Sanders galvanized progressives with his strong Democratic primary challenge to Hillary Clinton. He won many over by aggressively going after Clinton’s record of unconditional, hardline support for Israel.

“There comes a time when if we pursue justice and peace, we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time,“ Sanders told Clinton in a prime-time TV debate. “We cannot continue to be one-sided. There are two sides to this issue.”

It seemed like a decisive shift from Sanders’ shameful and blundering justifications of Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza that left 2,200 Palestinians, including more than 550 children, dead.

But by signing the letter, Sanders has signaled a retreat. He defended his decision this week in an interview with Dena Takruri of AJPlus:

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