Sanders Slams Media for ‘Distorting’ Comments on Israel

The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Thursday pushed back against the harsh criticism and condemnation by Jewish Amercian groups for inflating the overall death toll of Palestinian civilians and combatants during the 2014 war in Gaza.

“As many people know, Sen. Sanders, as a young man, spent months in Israel and, in fact, has family living there now. There is no candidate for president who will be a stronger supporter of Israel’s right to exist in freedom, peace and security,” Sanders’ spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement.

Briggs was responding a request by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that Sanders corrects his misstatements on the 2014 war in Gaza.

In an interview with the editorial board of the New York Daily News last week, Sanders suggested Israel killed “over 10,000″ Palestinian civilians in Gaza. “Anybody help me out here, because I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right?” he said.

According to the Sanders campaign, the Vermont senator immediately corrected that his recollection was about the total number of casualties, not the death toll.

“The idea that Sen. Sanders stated definitely that 10,000 Palestinians were killed is just not accurate and a distortion of that discussion,” Briggs said. “Bringing peace between Israel and the Palestinians will not be easy. It would help if candidates’ positions on this issue are not distorted.”

The clarification came after a phone conversation between Sanders and ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

“The senator assured me that he did not mean his remarks to be a definitive statement and that he would make every effort to set the record straight,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “We appreciate his responsiveness on this issue, especially at a time when there are many false and incendiary reports blaming Israel for applying disproportionate force in its struggle for self-defense.”

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