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Bernie Sanders: The Old Lefty’s Wrong View of Israel

The Weekly Standard

Author: Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
April 7, 2016
Weekly Standard


Bernie Sanders’s recent interview with the New York Daily News editorial board revealed gaps in his knowledge of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that suggest, at a minimum, he isn't paying attention. Instead he is relying on old Socialist memories of the Israel he visited decades ago.

Sanders famously lived on a kibbutz for three months in the mid 1960s, and he appears to believe this gives him special expertise. He told the Daily News, "I lived in Israel," but think about that: that's fifty years ago. Would living in Mao's China back then make you much of an expert on today's China? Israel in those days had about 2.5 million people, not the 8.5 million of today; the gigantic Russian immigration had not yet occurred; Labor Party rule was unchallenged; the economy depended on agriculture and textiles; Gaza was ruled by Egypt and the West Bank by Jordan. Sanders's familiarity is with an Israel that is long gone, and he is not a frequent visitor who has updated his memories.

Sanders appears to have internalized several leftist myths about Israel, above all the myth that it used indiscriminate force in the 2014 Gaza war. Consider these exchanges with the newspaper...

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