Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said “the occupation must end” in a video message to Israel’s left-wing opposition Meretz Party.
The five-minute video was set to be screened at a conference Sunday marking the end of the Six-Day War in 1967 and “50 years of Occupation.”
In opening the video, Sanders, a Jewish Independent who sought the Democratic presidential nomination, called Meretz, which currently has 5 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset, “Israel’s most prominent political organization.” He added that the party stands “for many of the same values that progressives are fighting for here in the United States and throughout the world.”
“We are now in the 50th year of Israel’s occupation, an occupation which denies basic Palestinian rights while failing to deliver Israel real security,” said Sanders.
“I know so many of you agree with me when I say: this occupation must end. Peace, real peace, means security not only for every Israeli, but for every Palestinian. It means supporting self-determination, civil rights and economic well-being for both peoples.”
Sanders called for “a politics of solidarity and a common humanity” and added that “brave people uniting around a common set of values with clear goals, can change a country, they can change the world, they can even change the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
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“Just follow all the young people.” Those were the instructions I got when I asked for directions from the subway station to the main auditorium of the Free University of Berlin, where former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was launching the German edition of his book “Our Revolution.”
What were these young people expecting from a 75-year-old self-described socialist from one of the most obscure states in the US?
“I’m here because I thought the American election was really interesting, and Bernie Sanders was the only one who had radically interesting ideas,” one young German told me.
“It is the same in France,” a French woman on an exchange program said. “Bernie Sanders is very popular.”
“I’m from Russia, and it’s very interesting to hear an American who’s a socialist – that’s not so common,” another member of the audience said.
Most of the people I talked to said that, to use the words of one German woman, “He’s not part of the system.” The applause the Vermont senator received upon entering the hall rivaled that of any campaign event in the lead-up last year’s election. And if the audience was hoping for a scathing critique of Donald Trump, they got exactly what they wanted.
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