Bernie Sanders: "Outrage" For Israel To Ban Members Of Congress When US Gives Them "Billions And Billions Of Dollars"

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders weighed in on the president pressuring Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to bar Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from the country in an interview Thursday night on MSNBC's "All In" with guest host Alin Velshi.

"The idea that a member of the United States Congress cannot visit a nation which by the way we support to the tune of billions and billions of dollars is clearly an outrage," Sanders said. "If Israel doesn't want members of the United States Congress to visit their country to get a firsthand look at what's going on... maybe he can respectfully decline the billions of dollars that we gift to Israel."





SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I wish I could tell you that I am shocked. I am not. We have a president who tragically is a racist, is a xenophobe, and who is a religious bigot.

But the idea that a member of the United States Congress cannot visit a nation which by the way we support to the tune of billions and billions of dollars is clearly an outrage. And if Israel doesn't want members of the United States Congress to visit their country to get a firsthand look at what's going on? And I've been there many, many times. But if he doesn't want members to visit, maybe he can respectfully decline the billions of dollars that we gift to Israel.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC: Over time, in excess of $140 billion. Last year alone, $3 billion and various types of aid. You've actually suggested that that might be used to leverage some of Israel's behavior that Representatives Omar and Tlaib are critical of, as you have been critical of.

SANDERS: Well, all that I am saying is we need a Middle East policy which is even handed, which protects the independence and the safety of Israel, but also shows respect to the Palestinian people, many of whom in Gaza and elsewhere are suffering incredibly -- unemployment rate off the charts. People cannot leave their community.

And I think what the United States should be doing, especially with the enormous amount of money we're spending there is to demand that Israel and the Palestinian leadership sit down and start working out their differences and create peace in that troubled region.

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