Bernie Sanders Splits With Squad Over Calls for Permanent Cease-Fire, Says Hamas Wants 'Permanent War'
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Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has broken with his progressive allies in “the Squad” over the Israel-Hamas War. Sort of. 

Acknowledging that Hamas is intent on “permanent war,” Sanders questioned how a permanent cease-fire would be possible when he spoke with Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. 

At the same time, Sanders voiced his support for the United Nations resolution, which the U.S. vetoed on Friday. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib have been clear in calling for a cease-fire.

You’ve taken some flak because you have not. The United States government is opposing a cease-fire as well, and they’re – they’re isolated at the U.N. on that point. Why is it you oppose a cease-fire?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, first of all, I strongly support and wish and hope that the United States will support the United Nations resolution that was vetoed, that we vetoed the other day.

That was a humanitarian pause, a humanitarian cease-fire, that would have, by the way, called for the release of all of the hostages held by Hamas, and would have allowed the U.N. and other agencies to begin to supply the enormous amount of humanitarian aid that the Palestinian people (AUDIO GAP)

But it was following this that he noted the virtual impossibility of a permanent cease-fire, adding: 

In terms of a permanent cease-fire, I don’t know how you could have a permanent cease-fire with Hamas, who have said before October 7 and after October 7 that they want to destroy Israel, they want a permanent war. I don’t know how you have a permanent cease-fire with an attitude like that.

Sanders made clear that he believes Israel has the right to defend itself and “to go after Hamas, not the Palestinian people.” On that note, Sanders remained dubious of sending additional funding to Israel and the aims of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: 

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.

Would you vote against a version of the supplemental bill that President Biden is asking Congress for if it lacked the conditions on Israel aid you are calling for? Because you know there’s other things that may be attached to it, like Ukraine aid.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: I voted against the motion to proceed on that bill.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: (AUDIO GAP) see a different bill.

I support, strongly support, aid for Ukraine to stand up to Putin’s aggression. But I think what the Congress has got to do is make it clear, though, to Netanyahu that we’re not going to simply give him a blank check to kill women and children in Palestine.

Sanders also voiced criticism of the rising antisemitism and calls for genocide, particularly on college campuses. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about hate in this country and concerns around it.

As you know, strong concern about antisemitism right now. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik had a really pointed question-and-answer with university presidents this week. One of those presidents has since resigned as a result of the fallout. I wonder your thoughts of – of how far free speech should be protected when it is calling for genocide?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I agree.

Look, we believe strongly in free speech, and academia is an area where you’re going to hear a lot of debate about issues that may make us uncomfortable. But, at the end of the day, when somebody is saying they believe in genocide for the Jewish people or racist attacks against black Americans, or et cetera, that is not acceptable, I think, on a college campus, where all of the students, black, Jewish, whatever, Islamic, have got to feel comfortable on campus.

While he appears to be walking a very fine line here, at a minimum, Sanders appears to recognize that a permanent cease-fire with Hamas isn’t realistic, as well as possessing the moral clarity on antisemitism and calls for genocide that was sorely lacking among the university presidents who testified before Congress last week. 

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