Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) revealed on Saturday that she is open to withholding billions of dollars in military aid to Israel until the government ceases building settlements in the country’s West Bank.
While speaking to reporters at a campaign stop in Iowa, Warren was asked if she was open to making “American aid conditional on a freeze to settlement building.”
“Right now, [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu says that he is going to take Israel in a direction of increasing settlements, [but] that does not move us toward a two-state solution,” Warren responded. “It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, then everything is on the table.”
“Everything is on the table,” she interrupted as the reporter tried to inquire further.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: "It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, then everything is on the table." pic.twitter.com/GjumaLoZ9k
— The Hill (@thehill) October 20, 2019
While virtually all of the candidates in the Democratic presidential primary field have advocated for a two-state solution, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been the lone candidate to openly call for making Israeli military aid conditional.
“A two-state solution that achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel’s security needs remains the only viable way forward, and it will be our policy to support such a solution actively,” Buttigieg said. “And if Prime Minister Netanyahu makes good on his promise to annex West Bank settlements, he should know that a President Buttigieg would take steps to ensure that American taxpayers won’t help foot the bill.”
The Democratic presidential hopeful was subsequently slammed for being especially critical of the Jewish state, one of the United States’ strongest allies, while remaining silent on the terror emanating from Gaza and the West Bank, which are under control of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a fierce critic of Netanyahu, has been especially critical of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. In August, the socialist lawmaker threatened to withhold billions of dollars in military aid to Israel to combat what he called “racism” on behalf of the Jewish state.
While Sanders has recently referred to himself as a “proud Jewish person,” the Vermont lawmaker has largely distanced himself from Judaism. Not only does he refrain from observing Jewish customs, he is also not a member of any congregation and doesn’t attend a synagogue.
“I’m not actively involved with organized religion,” Sanders revealed to reporters in 2016.
Sanders, however, has spoken of his Jewish heritage during his second bid for the presidency, especially when discussing his stance on the U.S.-Israeli alliance and Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I spent a number of months in Israel. I worked on a kibbutz for a while. I have family in Israel. I am not anti-Israel,” Sanders said in April. “But the fact of the matter is that Netanyahu is a right-wing politician who I think is treating the Palestinian people extremely unfairly.”
“The United States gives billions of dollars in military aid to Israel,” he added. “What I believe is not radical. I just believe that the United States should deal with the Middle East on a level playing field basis. In other words, the goal must be to try to bring people together and not just support one country which is now run by a right-wing, dare I say, racist government.”