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Sanders Defends Omar: Can’t Equate Anti-Semitism with ‘Legitimate Criticism’ of Israel

By Tal Axelrod | 6 March 2019

THE HILL — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) defended Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Wednesday amid an avalanche of criticism she’s received over comments about Israel that some have slammed as anti-Semitic.

Sanders, who is running for president in 2020 and in 2016 became the first Jewish politician to win a state’s presidential primary, said he fears a House resolution intended to rebuke Omar over the comments could end up stifling legitimate debate over the Israeli government’s policies.

“Anti-Semitism is a hateful and dangerous ideology which must be vigorously opposed in the United States and around the world. We must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel. Rather, we must develop an even-handed Middle East policy which brings Israelis and Palestinians together for a lasting peace,” he said in a statement to The Hill.

“What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate,” he continued. “That’s wrong.” […]

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