Bernie Sanders’ Brother Is a BDS Supporter

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been very reluctant to expand on his foreign policy plans on the trail, especially with regards to Israel and the conflict with Palestinians.

On Tuesday night, at the first televised debate of the Democratic presidential primary, Sanders might be obliged to address foreign policy issues at greater length.

In general, the self-described socialist has said that he supports the two-state solution and an even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During a campaign event in NH two month ago, Sanders said that he does not have a “magical solution” to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which has gone on “for 50 years.” Nonetheless, he declared that the United States “should be evenhanded for Israel and the Palestinians.” Adding, “Palestinians are entitled to a state of their own, and the United States should do what it can to make sure that state has a strong economy. Israel is entitled to live in security, not be attacked. Those are the two guiding principles that I will work for.”

But as Sanders is growing in the polls, so is pressure being increased by progressives and pro-justice groups on the insurgent candidate to adopt a more left-wing approach to Israel and be more vocal about his policy views. He was recently compared to the newly elected UK Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who has openly supported the BDS movement and is known for his anti-Israel stance.

His brother Larry, who lives in England, revealed in a tweet a few months ago that he supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. “that Israel end occupation of West Bank, siege of Gaza, Palestinians in Israel equal rights. Netanyahu obstacle to peace. BDS yes,” Larry Sanders tweeted on April 20, 2015.


Larry has been very supportive of his older brother’s campaign, opening up the window for the media to peek in on Bernie’s upbringing and Jewish childhood in Brooklyn. In April, Bernie Sanders credited his brother as having a large influence on his politics. “I owe my brother an enormous amount. I grew up in a family that did not have a lot of money. My dad came to this country at the age of 17, dropped out of high school, never made any money. My mother graduated high school. We did not have a lot of books in the house, and it was my brother who actually introduced me to a lot of my ideas,” he said during a press conference.

In the past, Sanders suggested that he would support cutting off arms to Israel to regain clout on Middle Eastern foreign policy.

A spokesperson for the Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to a request for an inquiry about his views on the BDS movement.

Hillary Clinton addressed the matter a few months ago, in a letter sent to Hollywood mogul and major Democratic donor Haim Saban. Clinton expressed her “alarm” over the movement’s efforts attempting to “punish Israel and dictate how the Israelis and Palestinians should resolve the core issues of their conflict. “This is not the path to peace,” she wrote. “We need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people… We need to make countering BDS a priority.”

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