Photo Credit: Courtesy Aaron Klein
Aaron Klein

Sen. Bernie Sanders: U.S. Partially Responsible For Israeli ‘Occupation’

In a rare foreign policy interview, Sen. Bernie Sanders claimed the United States is “complicit” in so-called Israeli occupation” and should rethink its military aid to the Jewish state.

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Sanders was asked the following question by The Intercept: “But does he accept that the United States is complicit in Israel’s occupation through its military aid and arms sales? And does he also accept, therefore, that the occupation of the Palestinian territories will never end until the U.S. stops arming and funding the Jewish state?”

He replied, “Certainly the United States is complicit, but it’s not to say … that Israel is the only party at fault.” He added that “in terms of Israeli-Palestinian relations, the United States has got to play a much more even-handed role. Clearly that is not the case right now.”

Asked whether he would, as the Intercept phrased the question, ever “consider voting to reduce U.S. aid to Israel — worth at least $3 billion per annum – or U.S. arms sales to the Israeli military,” Sanders gave a response that ended with, “So the answer is yes.”

He explained that he would rework U.S. military aid to ensure that Israel, one of the most energy efficient and environmentally-conscious countries in the world, would “work with other countries on environmental issues.” And he said that he would help rebuild Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas.

The socialist-leaning Sanders, who is Jewish, has a troubling record on Israel issues. Earlier this year, Sanders spoke at an event for the George Soros-funded, pro-Palestinian J Street organization, where he claimed that Israel was occupying “Palestinian territories,” and that doing so is “contrary to fundamental American values.”

As Breitbart Jerusalem has reported, Sanders admitted to seeking foreign policy advice from critics of the Jewish state, including J Street and pollster James Zogby. President of the Arab American Institute, James Zogby is notoriously anti-Israel. He refers to the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) movement as a “legitimate and moral response to Israeli policy.”

In the past, Zogby has attempted to rationalize Palestinian terrorism against Israelis, saying that he was trying to understand “why the perpetrators [of terrorist acts] acted as they did or why there are people whose anger and despair bring them to support this or that crime.” Zogby, who is of Lebanese descent, has described Hizbullah terrorists as “the Lebanese armed resistance.”

 

Intentional Sabotage?

Whenever President Donald Trump is about to embark on a major diplomatic initiative, CNN, the Washington Post, or the New York Times – like clockwork – drop a leak about the Trump-Russia conspiracy narrative seemingly designed to taint the presidency with the aura of treason.

With Trump’s major foreign policy speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week, it was only a matter of which of those three news media outlets would drop an anonymously-sourced story attempting to once again tie Trump to Russia despite the lack of any actual evidence.

It turns out it was CNN’s turn. Lo and behold, the cable network, which played a critical role in originally publicizing the existence of a largely discredited 35-page dossier on Trump, released a new story just before Trump’s UN speech trying to ratchet up the Russia conspiracy storyline.

CNN cited “three sources familiar with” the Russia investigation revealing that the government utilized a FISA court warrant to secretly snoop on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort before and after the 2016 presidential election, including during periods when Manafort was known to have communicated with Trump.

One has to read to the bottom of the story to discover that the original warrant had nothing to do with the Trump campaign, but was first reportedly obtained in 2014 as part of another government investigation into consulting work done by Manafort and others for Ukraine’s former ruling party, according to the sources.

The other firm working on the Ukraine project was none other than the Podesta Group, run by Tony Podesta, the Democratic mega-bundler and brother of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta. Like Podesta’s group, Manafort’s firm failed to register under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, and only did so retroactively earlier this year. One wonders whether Tony Podesta was similarly treated with a FISA court warrant to monitor his communications.

Two of the three CNN sources in the story admit there may be no evidence that Manafort attempted any coordination with Russia during the campaign. And the story presents no proof of any alleged Russia collusion. Regardless, the story achieved its likely intended purpose, producing a major spike in coverage about the Russia-Trump conspiracy.

The CNN hit marks the latest example of a leak or major news media claim about Trump and Russia dropping at a strategic time, often when Trump is departing for or returning from a significant diplomatic venture.

In July, immediately following the U.S. president’s successful diplomatic trip to Europe for the Group of 20 summit, The New York Times broke a questionable story about Donald Trump Jr. and his brief meeting with a Russian lawyer. The newspaper even proceeded to gloat about how the story tempered the “good feeling” inside the Trump administration following Trump’s Europe trip.

On Tuesday, May 16, six days before Trump was due in Israel as part of his first trip abroad as president and while the White House was coordinating travel plans with Israel, The New York Times quoted a “current and a former American official” saying it was Israel that provided classified intelligence purportedly disclosed by Trump during a White House meeting one week prior with Russian officials.

 

There was immediate talk that the report could potentially impact the U.S. relationship with Israel. Indeed, the second sentence of the Times article on the subject stated that it “adds a potential diplomatic complication to the episode.” The Times was elaborating on a Washington Post article one day earlier that first reported that Trump allegedly revealed “highly classified information” during a meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, according to “current and former U.S. officials.” The Post article acknowledged that as president “Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.”

Meanwhile, on May 19, the day Trump departed Washington, D.C. to Saudi Arabia for the first leg of his foreign tour, the Post reported that the Russia investigation “has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.”

The article dominated the news cycle and drew attention away from Trump’s international diplomatic adventure amid a flurry of speculation that Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner may be the White House official in question.

Then on May 26, one day before Trump returned from his first international trip, the Washington Post dropped another anonymously-sourced story claiming that Kushner discussed with Russia’s Washington envoy the possibility of establishing a “secret and secure communications channel” between his father-in-law’s transition team and the Kremlin.

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Aaron Klein is the Jerusalem bureau chief for Breitbart News. Visit the website daily at www.breitbart.com/jerusalem. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.