Bernie Sanders to Israel: ban our lawmakers? Then don’t take our money

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has suggested Israel should now decline the billions of dollars it receives in U.S. aid in the wake of its ban on Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from entering the country.

“I wish I could tell you that I am shocked, I am not,” the Democratic presidential candidate said on Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “All In” about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to bar the lawmakers, which was encouraged and supported by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Muslim congresswomen, who are members of “the Squad” that Trump has feuded with in recent weeks, had planned to highlight the plight of Palestinians on their trip. They were barred over their support for the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“We have a president who tragically is a racist, is a xenophobe and who is a religious bigot,” said Sanders. “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 first-hand look at what’s going on, and I have been there many, many times, but if he doesn’t want members of visit maybe he can respectfully decline the billions of dollars that we give to Israel,” he added.

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Four Democratic Congresswomen of Color Call Themselves 'The Squad'
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Four Democratic Congresswomen of Color Call Themselves 'The Squad'
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks as, from left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. President Donald Trump on Monday intensified his incendiary comments about the four Democratic congresswomen of color, urging them to get out if they don't like things going on in America. They fired back at what they called his "xenophobic bigoted remarks" and said it was time for impeachment. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., left, joined at right by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., responds to base remarks by President Donald Trump after he called for four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their "broken" countries, as he exploited the nation's glaring racial divisions once again for political gain, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All four congresswomen are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. Omar is the first Somali-American in Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., respond to base remarks by President Donald Trump after he called for four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their "broken" countries, as he exploited the nation's glaring racial divisions once again for political gain, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All four congresswomen are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. Omar is the first Somali-American in Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., respond to base remarks by President Donald Trump after he called for four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their "broken" countries, as he exploited the nation's glaring racial divisions once again for political gain, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All four congresswomen are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. Omar is the first Somali-American in Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., center, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., right, attend a House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019, on White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's violation of the Hatch Act. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., flanked by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., left, and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., responds to remarks by President Donald Trump after he called for four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their "broken" countries, as he exploited the nation's glaring racial divisions once again for political gain, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All four congresswomen are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. Omar is the first Somali-American in Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks as, from left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. President Donald Trump on Monday intensified his incendiary comments about the four Democratic congresswomen of color, urging them to get out if they don't like things going on in America. They fired back at what they called his "xenophobic bigoted remarks" and said it was time for impeachment. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., center, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., right, attend a House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019, on White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's violation of the Hatch Act. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., speaks as, from left, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. President Donald Trump on Monday intensified his incendiary comments about the four Democratic congresswomen of color, urging them to get out if they don't like things going on in America. They fired back at what they called his "xenophobic bigoted remarks" and said it was time for impeachment. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., center, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., right, gather their things following the adjournment of a House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019, on White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's violation of the Hatch Act. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., center, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., right, attend a House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019, on White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's violation of the Hatch Act. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., responds to base remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their "broken" countries, as he exploited the nation's glaring racial divisions once again for political gain, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., center, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., right, attend a House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019, on White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's violation of the Hatch Act. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., respond to base remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their "broken" countries, as he exploited the nation's glaring racial divisions once again for political gain, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., responds to base remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their "broken" countries, as he exploited the nation's glaring racial divisions once again for political gain, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
From left, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Rep. llhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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Sanders also doubled down on his proposal to leverage financial aid the U.S. gives to Israel. “All that I am saying is that 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,” he explained.

“I think what the United States should be doing, especially with the enormous amounts 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,” Sanders added.

- The Associated Press reported on Friday that Israel's interior minister had received and granted a request by Tlaib to enter the Israeli-occupied West Bank to visit her 90-year-old grandmother after she agreed to respect any restrictions and "not promote boycotts" while there.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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