House Democrat slams Bernie Sanders’ call for barriers to Israel aid: ‘Let’s not play this game’

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Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., slammed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., over his call to make Israeli aid conditional on its actions in Gaza, as the tensions in the Middle East continue to push a wedge between Democrats in the U.S.

Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, released a statement over the weekend urging President Biden to force Israel into curbing its West Bank settlements and pledging no long-term blockade of Gaza before the U.S. releases aid dollars.

Moskowitz pledged that he would work to remove those conditions from the legislation if it was sent to the House of Representatives or force stricter measures on aid to Gaza. 

‘I am absolutely for humanitarian aid to Gaza. But if Bernie Sanders puts political requirements on the Aid to Israel, I will work in the House to remove those conditions or condition Aid to Gaza that requires the removal of Hamas,’ Moskowitz wrote on X over the weekend. Both Moskowitz and Sanders are Jewish.

‘Let’s not play this game. Send the aid to both,’ Moskowitz added.

Hamas militants infiltrated southern Israel on Oct. 7, brutally killing roughly 1,200 people – mainly civilians. 

Israel has responded with force, bombarding Gaza and waging an armed ground invasion. The Hamas-controlled Gazan government said over the weekend that the region’s death toll has reached 13,000 since Oct. 7.

The subject of Israel has exacerbated divisions within the Democratic Party, particularly between new progressives and the left-wing establishment.

More than 20 hardline-left Democratic lawmakers broke from their party to vote against a resolution condemning antisemitism and support for Hamas on school campuses earlier this month. A similar number of moderate Democrats later joined Republicans to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., the only Palestinian American in Congress, over her statements about the war. 

‘The Netanyahu government, or hopefully a new Israeli government, must understand that not one penny will be coming to Israel from the U.S. unless there is a fundamental change in their military and political positions,’ Sanders wrote on X over the weekend.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., backed up the call for conditional aid. ‘Conditioning aid to Israel, as we do with virtually all other US allies, is a responsible course of action,’ she wrote on the platform.

‘The United States has a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that public resources do not facilitate gross violations of human rights and international law,’ Ocasio-Cortez said.

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